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Title: Culture as a positive resource in therapy
Author: Macdonald, George
ISNI:       0000 0004 7656 112X
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2016
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While culture is a widely accepted issue in therapy, current approaches are criticised as unfit for purpose in a postmodern, postcolonial world characterised by large scale migration, cheap air travel and instantaneous electronic communication. This study attempts to move beyond crude ethno-cultural categories to view culture as a universal human phenomenon. It is a conception that admits characteristics of volatility, plasticity, contextuality and intersectionality; virtually unlimited hierarchical distinctions and dimensions that frequently come to stand in for each other. In addition, it attempts to view culture in positive terms, rather than as an unwanted obstacle to approaches to therapy that are historically rooted in dominant cultural groups. Four participants were selected using purposive sampling, and data was collected using semi-structured interviews, which were recorded and transcribed. The transcripts were then analysed narratively and using thematic analysis, and reported against a common subset of superordinate metacultural themes. While the study is a small scale exercise with admitted limitations, it provides support for a more universal view of culture; and the idea that it is a powerful personal resource that can be used both consciously and unconsciously. Personal factors caused participants to emphasise certain aspects of their cultural background and de-emphasise or avoid others. Participants attempted to seek out or access additional resources that helped to represent aspects of their personal story. The study provides support for three theoretical ideas: culture as a resource, cultural identity and personal culture; and it suggests ways in which culture can be used in therapy as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool. Further work includes additional case studies employing a more comprehensive methodology, the use of discourse analysis to provide a degree of triangulation and investigate the discursive processes at work, and extension of the approach to areas beyond therapy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Culture ; Counselling ; Psychotherapy