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Title: An abstract configuration of the epistemology of potentiality paradigm therapy : a qualitative meta-synthesis of theoretical texts
Author: Gilmore, Ian
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2017
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The first step that I took in preparing myself to undertake what is in essence a piece of epistemological research was to divide the psychological therapies into two: the potentiality paradigm and the pathology paradigm. The former is based upon the potentiality model articulated by person-centred theorists like Dave Mearns and Brian Thorne, which is essentially a growth model, whilst the latter reflects a form of therapy that recognises people according to what may be considered 'wrong with' or 'deficient about' them, such as operates in the disciplines of medicine and clinical psychology. The main focus of this piece of research was to determine the epistemology that is at work with what actually goes on in the practice of potentiality paradigm therapy. In order to achieve this, I set about identifying, reading, analysing and eventually coding the most epistemologically rich writings that I could find from mainstream authors on potentiality paradigm therapy from the professional and the academic literature. It became clear from this analysis that the heart of what was actually going on in the practice of potentiality paradigm therapy as articulated in these theoretical writings could be coded into three main discourses: an experiential discourse, a relational discourse and a hermeneutic discourse, each of which I have considered to represent an epistemological discourse for the purposes of this piece of research. My next question was to ask myself how these discourses set about articulating the potentiality paradigm with respect to the practice of the psychological therapies, and the answer came back that they articulated the potentiality paradigm best when they worked concertedly rather than discretely. Indeed, it soon became apparent that the human brain integrates and synthesises the data that it receives by way of these three central discourses, and so it seemed only appropriate that I should work towards expressing these findings by creating a qualitative meta-synthesis of these three discourses: the experiential, the relational and the hermeneutic, which is exactly what I did. The epistemological mechanism by which these three discourses are integrated and synthesised needs to reflect the way in which the human brain integrates and synthesises the data that it receives, and the name given to this epistemological mechanism is dialectical constructivism. This is included along with the three epistemological discourses - the experiential, the relational and the hermeneutic - in the creative and interpretive synthesis in which this piece of research culminates, and is followed by an illustrative worked example showing how these discourses articulate the potentiality paradigm - concertedly - with respect to the practice of the psychological therapies. One of the advantages of applying this meta-model to the way in which we look at potentiality paradigm therapy is that it may be used to free us up to practice in the more dialogical ways which have been becoming increasingly favoured by practitioners in recent times. With our view of potentiality paradigm therapy mediated by this meta-model, we may find it easier to traverse across what many practitioners have tended to view as theoretical boundaries. It could also be viewed as a move towards a more functional and less structural form of governance or regulation, as expressed by Mearns and Thorne.
Supervisor: Hanley, Terry Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: potentiality paradigm ; epistemology ; dialectical constructivism ; hermeneutics