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Title: A psychotherapist's lived experience of care : a hermeneutic-phenomenological study
Author: Mandic´, Momc?ilo
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 3892
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Regent's University London
Date of Award: 2016
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This study seeks to illuminate a psychotherapist’s lived experience of care, using a phenomenological approach based on the work of Max van Manen, and under the influence of the philosophical writings of Martin Heidegger. The phenomenon of care is central to psychotherapy, but has tended to be omitted from any discourse that aspires to promote an understanding of its practices. The disciplines of nursing and, more generally, health care, have appropriated the language and meanings of care, to the extent that an investigation of the phenomenon in the context of psychotherapy now becomes an unfamiliar yet important endeavour. Insights, themes and illuminations were drawn from four unstructured interviews with one participant – a senior, experienced psychotherapist – over a period of some six months, with additional impromptu interviews and conversations arranged with philosophers, academics, psychotherapists, and psychologists, to promote a process of thinking and reflecting in the course of the study. The underlying hermeneutical engagement of deepening understanding and interpretation formed an upward spiral movement that was the basis of the research. The methodological approach taken in this enquiry was centrally based on the work of van Manen, but also oriented around Heidegger’s phenomenological mode of enquiry known as formal indication. An initial identification of over fifty possible themes drawn from the transcripts led to reflection on further study of the participant’s way of being, both in relation to his clients, as well as in our actual encounters in the interviews. In keeping with the identification of initial themes, which were taken as provisional, ontic, formal indications of the phenomenon under study, further phenomenological exploration led to their existential-ontological characterisation based on the four elements: caring-for, caring-with, caringtowards, and caring-about. The basis of the analysis was to re-interpret the ontic everyday characterisations of themes temporally, and, in one case, spatially, in order to arrive at an existential understanding of care as manifested by the psychotherapist. Since the nature of psychotherapeutic work involves a direct and ‘ungrounded’ encounter with the client or patient, psychotherapy is in a privileged position to identify the existential-ontological structure of caring as it is manifested between two human beings who meet at a profound level. This study therefore illuminates the fact that psychotherapy holds a unique place in the expression and understanding of care, without which its common, everyday conception becomes open to being materialized, reified, and reduced to yet another technical mode of relating. In conclusion, the reflexive iterative writing process itself has provided me with an outlet for my passion to evoke what resonated for me as my research participant, Jack, and I together brought the phenomenon of care into the light. Its demands were met in a more heartfelt, honest and naked way, as I felt exposed to the unwieldy first attempts at conveying a powerful experience into words.
Supervisor: Finlay, Linda ; Aho, Kevin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available