How do counselling psychologists make sense of their clients’ psychiatric diagnoses : an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Weston, Holly (2016) How do counselling psychologists make sense of their clients’ psychiatric diagnoses : an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

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Abstract / Description

Counselling psychology, with its humanistic value base and adherence to certain aspects of the medical model, is in a positional dilemma on issues such as diagnosis. There seems to be a current need to define counselling psychology’s epistemological position due to doubts about its independence as a profession. How counselling psychologists respond to diagnosis has been tentatively explored in the literature, but responses in terms of thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and their interpretation of these responses is absent. To address this gap, semi-structured interviews were carried out with six counselling psychologists and the interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Two themes were identified: ‘diagnosis is something to hang your hat on,’ and ‘the bigger picture.’ Like previous research, these themes highlight the different epistemological positions taken up by counselling psychologists on diagnosis. However, the current findings also describe the lived experience of holding these different positions; for example feelings of tension are expressed and the level of uncertainty that needs to be tolerated is explored. A suggestion is made in terms of defining this changeable position, as one of safe uncertainty (Mason, 1993), in order to facilitate clear communication regarding a position. Specific recommendations are made for research, training and practice, including: the need for tolerance of uncertainty to be made more explicit on counselling psychology training programmes; suggestions for further IPA and Grounded Theory Research; and the development of a special interest group has been suggested, where counselling psychologists and other professionals can share ways of managing the impact of diagnosis on their practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:
Uncontrolled Keywords: counselling psychology; counselling psychologists; Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA); psychiatric diagnoses; psychiatric diagnosis
Subjects: 600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
Department: School of Social Sciences (to June 2021)
School of Social Sciences and Professions
Depositing User: Mary Burslem
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2016 13:13
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2021 16:04


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