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Title: How do counselling psychologists make sense of their clients' psychiatric diagnoses : an interpretative phenomenological analysis
Author: Weston, Holly
ISNI:       0000 0004 5989 8097
Awarding Body: London Metropolitan University
Current Institution: London Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2016
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Counselling psychology, with its humanistic value base and adherence to certain aspects of the medical model, is in a positional dilemma on issues such as diagnosis. There seems to be a current need to define counselling psychology’s epistemological position due to doubts about its independence as a profession. How counselling psychologists respond to diagnosis has been tentatively explored in the literature, but responses in terms of thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and their interpretation of these responses is absent. To address this gap, semi-structured interviews were carried out with six counselling psychologists and the interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Two themes were identified: ‘diagnosis is something to hang your hat on,’ and ‘the bigger picture.’ Like previous research, these themes highlight the different epistemological positions taken up by counselling psychologists on diagnosis. However, the current findings also describe the lived experience of holding these different positions; for example feelings of tension are expressed and the level of uncertainty that needs to be tolerated is explored. A suggestion is made in terms of defining this changeable position, as one of safe uncertainty (Mason, 1993), in order to facilitate clear communication regarding a position. Specific recommendations are made for research, training and practice, including: the need for tolerance of uncertainty to be made more explicit on counselling psychology training programmes; suggestions for further IPA and Grounded Theory Research; and the development of a special interest group has been suggested, where counselling psychologists and other professionals can share ways of managing the impact of diagnosis on their practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Prof.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: 610 Medicine & health