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Title: How the lived body speaks and how we learn to listen : exploring clients' experiences of focusing oriented therapy (FOT) using a descriptive phenomenological design
Author: Goldberg, Selina
ISNI:       0000 0004 7971 9447
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Regent's University London
Date of Award: 2018
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Focusing oriented therapy is based on humanistic and existential-phenomenological theory (Gendlin, 1996) and encourages clients to connect with their "felt sense" experiencing of the present moment by tuning into their bodies. In the literature review, I review relevant theories of embodiment and the theory and research behind focusing as a technique and as a therapy. I also illustrate how focusing relates to counselling psychology. While there is a substantial body of research highlighting the effectiveness of focusing as a therapeutic approach, clients' experiences of focusing oriented therapy have not been fully conceptualised. My research question was therefore "what are clients' experiences of focusing oriented therapy?" I interviewed six clients of focusing oriented therapy using an unstructured interview style, exploring their experiences of their therapy, aiming to identify the core essence of focusing oriented therapy from their perspectives. Colaizzi's (1978) descriptive phenomenological method was used to analyse the data and five main themes and several sub-themes were identified. The main themes were, 'a way to find true north,' 'voyage through murky waters,' 'the journey that begins with a single step,' 'temporal investigations,' and 'the self-driven revolution.' Throughout these themes, a number of new pieces of knowledge were identified. My co-researchers described focusing oriented therapy as being better and more beneficial than both mindfulness and CBT, leading to longer lasting and deeper changes than either other approach. Focusing allowed them to really tune in to their bodies which gave them access to imagery that helped them describe in great detail, and make sense of, what they were experiencing. Through this process, my co-researchers described how they learned how to support and be there for themselves, rather than needing to rely on others and each even incorporated focusing practice into their daily lives. Clinical implications of these and other findings are explored in relation to therapists' use of therapy and ways in which focusing could be incorporated into the practice of second and third wave CBT to enhance its practice. Areas of further research are identified, including exploring clients' experiences of their therapists being in therapy, embodiment and the link between focusing and CBT.
Supervisor: Lodge, Rosemary ; Henton, Isabel Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available