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Title: The Heart of Therapy : exploring how client and therapist dyads identify, experience and co-create therapeutic connection in clinical practice
Author: Rooney, Jamesina
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 039X
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2017
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Aim'. To explore and understand how client and therapist dyads in clinical practice identify, experience and co-create deep connection. Methods: A qualitative multiple case study approach with six dyads including clients and experienced therapists was carried out. The interpersonal process recall method incorporating session recordings and interviews was employed to investigate the three different parts of this study. Participants were invited to identify moments of connection. Following each identified moment participants’ inner-experience was explored. The interaction in identified moments was subsequently analysed post-interview. Data Analysis: The analysis of selected moments involved a broad discourse analysis of the interaction and thematic analysis of client and therapist inner-experiences. Findings: Within strong relationships clients and therapists identified: shared and unshared moments of deep connection and the fluctuating nature of connection. The inner-experience findings yielded five themes which inter-relate and identify deep connection as a relational and individual experience. Both parties were active agents and attended to their own internal process and to the other party moment to moment. Therapist nurturance and understanding were prominent relational qualities. Emotional and cognitive processes were significant outcomes for clients. A range of interaction features in client and therapist talk emerged including: mitigation/vagueness; metaphors; silence; therapist formulations; repetition. Interpersonally they each build bridges to the other’s world. Discussion'. The three aspects were synthesised into existing evidence and how they converge, diverge and extend current literature was considered in order to provide a more holistic portrayal of deep connection with dyads in clinical practice. Implications: Important implications have been deduced from the findings including: deep connection as an unshared experience indicates therapists may be unaware of client moments of deep connection; during deep connection moments corrective emotional experiences occurred, pointing to the healing elements of such moments; the intricate interpersonal ‘dance’ highlights the nuanced nature of communication and how specific features can be used to build relational bridges.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available