A qualitative study exploring psychological therapists' experiences of working psychotherapeutically with individuals diagnosed with dementia

Blythe, Philippa M. (2011) A qualitative study exploring psychological therapists' experiences of working psychotherapeutically with individuals diagnosed with dementia. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

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Abstract / Description

In the past it was assumed that psychotherapy with the dementia population was not possible. There currently exists a growing evidence base for the use of a variety of psychotherapeutic models with individuals diagnosed with dementia. Less research, however, has focused on the actual subjective experiences of psychotherapy or the therapeutic process, including the therapeutic relationship. The current qualitative study therefore aimed to gain an in depth understanding of the subjective experiences of psychological therapists working psychotherapeutically with individuals diagnosed with dementia including experiences of the therapeutic process and relationship. Semistructured interviews were carried out with nine psychological therapists regarding their experiences of working psychotherapeutically with individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Verbatim transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis which resulted in the generation of three super-ordinate themes: Considering the Psychotherapeutic Work; Bridging between Two Worlds; and The Detrimental Effect of Dementia on the Therapist and the Therapeutic Work. These super-ordinate themes along with sub-themes are expanded into a narrative account of participants' experiences. Of particular interest, the concept of identity arose from the narratives. Dementia was conceived to act as a threat to participants' sense of identity preventing them from sustaining their usual roles or preserving their existence as therapists. This finding and additional results from the analysis were considered in light of existing theory. The implications of the findings for clinical practice, service provision and training were highlighted. Limitations of the current research study were outlined and recommendations were put forward for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: uk.bl.ethos.540611
Uncontrolled Keywords: psychotherapy; psychological therapists; dementia; Alzheimer's disease; subjective experiences; therapeutic process; therapeutic relationship; Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Subjects: 600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
Department: School of Social Sciences and Professions
School of Social Sciences (to June 2021)
Depositing User: Chiara Repetto
Date Deposited: 03 May 2022 10:30
Last Modified: 03 May 2022 10:30
URI: http://repository.londonmet.ac.uk/id/eprint/7547

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