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Title: Therapists : from family to clients
Author: Begni, Isidora
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2005
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As a paradigm of a wounded healer, parentified therapists may be gifted with therapeutic talents, but also with related vulnerabilities that may have a significant influence on their therapeutic practice. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to explore the impact of parentification on therapeutic practice, especially on the therapeutic skills of empathy and boundary settings. For this purpose, a mixed method design was employed in which 38 trainee psychologists provided self-report data on the constructs of parentification measured by parentification questionnaire (Jurkovic, 1997), empathy, measured by Interpersonal Reactivity Index (Davis, 1980), and boundary settings, measured by Exploitation Index (Epstein, 1990) in a survey study, while 4 trainee psychologists were interviewed in a separate study. First, the quantitative data were analysed to assess the existence of possible relationships among the variables of parentification, empathy and boundary transgressions by a regression analysis. The results offered significant suggestions for the predictive power of parentification in regard to empathy and boundary transgressions. Following this, a qualitative study analysed the interviews with the 4 trainees using thematic analysis to explore the above relationships and provided a deeper insight, especially for their therapeutic utility. Combining the findings, the current study supported that parentification may first of all catalyse the choice of a psychologist's profession, well as the choice of the psychotherapeutic approach. In regard to the interpersonal skills, parentification may positively impact the development of enhanced levels of empathy, boundary flexibility, and creativity. On the other hand, parentification may also negatively impact on practitioners by making them more vulnerable to enmeshed therapeutic relationships. Especially in the case of destructive parentification, professional support may be needed to minimise the risk for enmeshed relationships, by increasing self-care and self-other differentiation. Clinical implications for parentified therapists were also discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Prof.Couns.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Parentification ; empathy ; professional boundaries ; wounded healer ; boundary crossing ; parentified therapists