What happens when we end: a psycho social exploration of therapists’ experience

Dale, Andrew Edward (2020) What happens when we end: a psycho social exploration of therapists’ experience. DCPsych thesis, Middlesex University / Metanoia Institute. [Thesis]

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The aim of this study is to explore therapists’ experience of endings. This takes as its cue the relative lack of existing research and theory concerning the therapist’s subjectivity in endings, and the challenges faced by the ‘therapist as a person’ in the potentially emotive time of ending. After reviewing the literature on endings in therapy, particularly on therapists’ experience, I interviewed several therapists about their experience of a significant therapeutic ending. I used a narrative, psychosocial research method to interpret possible latent meanings in the therapists’ accounts. The method employed the embodied counter transference or subjective affective imaginative responses of the researcher, using an interpretation group to triangulate subjective responses. Four case studies of therapists’ endings are presented. The interpretations emphasise the depth of therapists’ emotional investment in the endings; re enactments of therapists’ family relationships and/or personal relational patterns; and to varying degrees, the presence of therapists’ personal needs in the endings. Therapists’ anxiety about the ‘rules’ of therapy in ending is apparent. The findings show how therapists’ subjectivity in endings, based in templates of family relationships, needs to be understood as potentially powerful, complex and requiring careful work, especially in endings of therapeutic relationships which carry obvious significance, emotional investment or meaning for the therapist. Thus, the importance of awareness, integrity and the careful use of supervision is highlighted.

Item Type: Thesis (DCPsych)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > Metanoia Institute
Item ID: 33030
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2021 10:59
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2021 16:50
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/33030

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