What happens to psychological depth in brief-term therapy with trainee therapists? Clients' experiences of therapy and the therapeutic relationship using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA)

Thesis


Evans, M. 2014. What happens to psychological depth in brief-term therapy with trainee therapists? Clients' experiences of therapy and the therapeutic relationship using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Thesis Middlesex University / Metanoia Institute Psychology
TitleWhat happens to psychological depth in brief-term therapy with trainee therapists? Clients' experiences of therapy and the therapeutic relationship using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA)
AuthorsEvans, M.
Abstract

The purpose of this doctoral research project was to explore the conscious and subconscious thoughts and feelings clients had about their experience of brief-term therapy and the therapeutic relationship. The methodology chosen was IPA because it examines in systematic detail the complex understandings from individuals’ making sense of a phenomenon. Face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted individually with 10 clients who had recently ended their therapy with trainee integrative practitioners at one low-cost counselling agency. To reach psychological depth, an ‘object-tray’ of miniature objects was used in each interview to facilitate access to clients’ intrapsychic and intersubjective processes, and to trigger metaphorical thinking. Findings detail a wide range of clients’ multi-faceted fears and thoughts, and reveal how these relate to client negativity, defensiveness and resistance. They demonstrate how clients were active in overcoming their fears (or not!) and illustrate how clients reflected upon their therapeutic relationships. This study also offers clients’ perceptions of various helpful interventions found to be therapeutically successful for reducing fears, and for facilitating psychological recovery and personal growth. The impact of this study could influence assessment procedures, and therapeutic practice and trainings by helping assessors and therapists develop their skills in demystifying therapy for clients and addressing client fears; it could also potentially help to understand the reasons for drop-outs. Furthermore, this study emphasises the need for therapists to obtain client feedback both early on and continually throughout the course of therapy and for therapists to work collaboratively according to clients’ needs and wants. However it must be recognised that, as this was small scale research carried out in one particular location, it is possible that another group of ex-client participants would have different sense-making narratives and another researcher might have responded differently in the interview process, perhaps drawing out different data with correspondingly different considerations.

Department namePsychology
Institution nameMiddlesex University / Metanoia Institute
Publication dates
Print08 Dec 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited08 Dec 2014
CompletedAug 2014
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
LanguageEnglish
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