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Title: Integrating neuroscience into counselling psychology : exploring the views and experiences of UK based counselling psychologists
Author: Goss, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 6350 2921
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2016
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Background: The last few decades have seen neuroscience rapidly progress as a discipline. Development of research techniques such as neuroimaging have been utilised to increase an understanding of our species. Counselling psychologists are trained to combine the world of humanistic and phenomenological philosophies with an ability to understand and undertake psychological research, leading to interventions which are theoretically and subjectively informed. This work is undertaken through the reflexive and scientist-practitioner models which underpin the identity of the discipline. As such, counselling psychologists would seem ideally placed to integrate neuroscience into their work, utilising their reflective and scientist practitioner identities to both utilise and add to neuroscience research, helping to increase the understanding and efficacy of interventions for our species' mental health. However, it appears to be unknown as to whether this is something that counselling psychologists want, particularly in the UK. Aims and Method: The aim of this research was to explore UK based counselling psychologists' views and experiences of integrating neuroscience into their work. An interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) was undertaken. Six participants were recruited into three different groups of interest/understanding in integrating neuroscience into counselling psychology. One hour semi-structured interviews were carried out with each participant to explore their views and experiences relating to the paradigm. Findings and Discussion: Six master themes emerged from the analysis; 'The Dangers of neuroscience', 'Defining neuroscience', 'There are ways that neuroscience can help us', 'Methods of learning and the need for training', 'Integration: The opposition and the need - finding the balance', and 'My practitioner identity'. The themes presented various advantages, dangers and challenges to integration, some of which aligned with existing literature and some of which presented new thoughts and feelings on the paradigm. Conclusion: The six master themes highlighted that participants indicated an overall view that UK counselling psychologists are currently integrating neuroscience into their work, utilising neuroscience theory as a way to develop their understanding of clients, as well as to communicate with clients and multi-disciplinary colleagues. Participants provided a number of experiential advantages of integration and indicated that they want to integrate even more with neuroscience, incorporating neuroscience into doctorate and CPD training, though they acknowledged the importance of balanced integration.
Supervisor: Hanley, Terry Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Couns.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: interpretive phenomenological analysis ; integration ; counseling psychology ; counselling psychology ; neuroscience