"It was quite helpful" : an interpretative phenomenological analysis of Indian fathers' experience of family therapy

Virdee, Sukhvinder (2014) "It was quite helpful" : an interpretative phenomenological analysis of Indian fathers' experience of family therapy. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


Family therapy is not well utilised outside Western culture. The lack of literature exploring fathers' experience of family therapy is an issue that crosses many Eastern cultures. Literature has illustrated the importance of fathers in family therapy, but does not address cultural difference. As an Indian therapist, in an Indian family, with an Indian father the researcher investigated this issue from an Indian perspective. Consequently providing insight into Indian fathers' experiences of family therapy and advancing existing literature, helping counselling psychologists working with this client group to better understand and engage them, therefore helping the process of family therapy and development of services.

Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to explore Indian fathers' subjective reports of meaning in relation to family therapy. Four Indian fathers, aged 38-64 years old, who had completed family therapy, were recruited from an organisation working with Indian families from a city in England.

Four super-ordinate themes emerged: "Indian fathers and their family", "east versus west", "the therapist" and "what is therapy?" Two findings emerged from the analysis; Indian fathers found family therapy to be a foreign notion, which proved to be a valuable experience and they found it useful to be matched to their therapist.

The study highlights the need for counselling psychology training to allocate more sessions on working cross culturally, which needs to be mirrored in CPD. Understanding Indian fathers' experience can help improve services and increase their engagement, and a community psychology approach is proposed to address this wider issue within the Indian community. The findings from this study help build the foundations for future qualitative research exploring Indian families and family therapy, such as investigating Indian fathers’ experience of family therapy with a non-Indian therapist, which would help provide insight on whether the therapists’ ethnicity has an impact on experience.

VirdeeSukhvinder_IndianFathersExperienceOfFamilyTherapy.pdf - Published Version

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