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Title: Seeing new landscapes, or having new eyes? : how does the meaning we make from language impact on the therapeutic relationship in counselling and psychotherapy?
Author: Hansford, Suzanne Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 2098
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2019
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Seeing new landscapes or having new eyes? How does the meaning we make from language impact on the therapeutic relationship in counselling and psychotherapy? This study explores the unique meanings made from language and whether a mismatch in meaning making and understanding leads to a lack of attunement between client and counsellor in counselling and psychotherapy. It explores the ways in which a perceived shared language can have a diversity of meaning and interpretation, with specific impacts on the nature of the therapeutic relationship. A review of the literature indicates that the narrative methods of counselling research are under-represented in relation to the question being explored here. The narrative based study takes the form of a series of unstructured conversations with five counsellors. All are qualified therapists with varying degrees of experience, and all share the researcher's interest in meaning making through language. It is based in the methodological paradigm of practitioner research, during which the researcher's own experiences of language use in the therapeutic process, not only significantly influenced the data, but importantly, provided some of the data and are part of the narrative. Transcripts from the conversations were analysed for commonalities and differences in the experiences of the participants, using Sullivan's (2012) framework of 'key moments'. Emergent themes included aspects of power as experienced by the different players in the relationship, culture and religion, and the setting of the counselling, as all having influence on the therapeutic relationship. These themes illustrate how language is an integral part of the relationship and is a key component in establishing and maintaining an alliance that is accessible for both client and therapist through recognition, even if the understanding of the words might be different. The focus of the study is on psychotherapy and counselling, but it is anticipated that the findings will have significance across other allied healthcare professions, as these roles are likely to encounter the themes which emerged in the analysis.
Supervisor: Freshwater, Dawn ; Cahill, Jane Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available