A phenomenological study of female therapists’ experience of the intersubjective dimension within the therapeutic encounter

Tapie, Sandra (2019) A phenomenological study of female therapists’ experience of the intersubjective dimension within the therapeutic encounter. Other thesis, Middlesex University / New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling.

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Abstract

Aim:
The aim of this research is to study how female psychotherapists and counselling psychologists experience the embodied intersubjective aspect of the encounter with their clients and how the awareness of this intersubjective embodiment impacts on them and their therapeutic practice. This project is relevant to the field of psychotherapy and counselling psychology as this dimension is the ground on which therapy happens. A better understanding of this aspect of the encounter give us a better understanding of the therapeutic process.

Methodology / Design:
A hermeneutic phenomenological methodology was selected for this study. Finlay’s and Evans’ (2009) relational centred approach was chosen as a method. Unstructured interviews were conducted with seven female psychotherapists from different therapeutic modalities; they all had an experience of the phenomenon researched and an interest in the topic. Two methods of analysis were used: narrative and thematic.

Findings:
Therapists use themselves in the service of clients by allowing themselves to be affected by them and by bringing as much awareness as possible to their embodied responses. Through their continually changing experience therapists can get a sense of their client and of their dynamic relation with them. They access a form of knowledge that is direct and other-than cognitive. In order to trust and use their embodied experience as a compass to navigate the encounter, therapists need to know themselves, their personal ways of inhabiting their body and the world.

Research Limitations:
A homogenous and purposive sample was chosen for this research meaning that this project does not account for therapists not working with this dimension of encounters. With the method used, the embodied intersubjective relation between researcher and co-researchers is the main way to access the other’s experience. In such framework, the researcher’s bias and assumptions can become a limitation.

Conclusions / Implications:
This research shows how therapists use our fundamental embodied interconnectedness in the service of clients. It makes an under discussed way of practicing more visible within the psychotherapy field. Findings challenge current ideas on boundaries in the therapeutic relationship as well as on the therapist’ role and raise important questions that may ultimately influence the development of training and practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Research Areas: B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC)
A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 26857
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2019 08:04
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2019 08:53
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/26857

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