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Title: What do psychotherapists say about the importance, if any, of theory in their work with clients?
Author: Osborne, Seth
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 0416
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis describes a narrative analysis which explored what psychotherapists say about the importance, if any, of theory in their work with clients. This research question was chosen due to both being important to the researcher’s development as a psychotherapist, and also because of how it related to fundamental and important questions of what psychotherapy is, and how it is best understood. A review of relevant literature revealed how psychotherapy could be understood as being theory-driven, yet also encompassing arguably less-theorised features, with the philosophy of Wittgenstein recognised for having relevance to this debate. Literature pertaining to the question of when theory may become more important to psychotherapists was also reviewed, with theory-driven modes of activity by psychotherapists found to sometimes be due to their own anxiety. After consideration of various methodological issues, in terms of researching what psychotherapists say, and the difficulty of researching theory through using a method containing theoretical principles itself, narrative analysis was eventually chosen as an appropriate research method. Six UKCP psychotherapists were interviewed, and their narratives analysed individually, before being summarised as more general findings. Discussion of these findings suggested that whilst theory was generally important to psychotherapists, their relationships to theory were also found to be complex and changeable, with a particular contribution to knowledge of the research being the understanding that psychotherapists may construct and renegotiate their relationships to theory through conversations with others. Possible implications arising from this research were then explored, both in terms of what it might mean for psychotherapeutic practice, and also for future research. The research was then critiqued before being concluded.
Supervisor: Brooks, Onel ; Thomas, Rhiannon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychotherapy ; therapy ; Psychotherapists ; Narrative