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A contribution to developing the counselling and psychotheraphy profession: a reflexive action research study

A contribution to developing the counselling and psychotheraphy profession: a reflexive action research study

Lees, John (2005) A contribution to developing the counselling and psychotheraphy profession: a reflexive action research study. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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This study has a manifest and a latent aspect. The manifest aspect tells a story about some key developments within the counselling and psychotherapy professions in recent years. 1 begin by looking at three phenomena which have been referred to as Schoolism, the research-practice gap and the hierarchy of evidence. I argue that it is important to address these phenomena as the profession moves towards statutory registration under the aegis of the Health Professions Council. I also argue that, in order to achieve this and develop a cohesive profession, traditional research methodologies which the profession promotes in, for example, such journals as Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, need to be supplemented by 'psychotherapeutic' research methodologies (or what, in academic terms, I have referred to as reflexive action research). In other words I posit that the adoption of both traditional and psychotherapeutic/reflexive action research methods will further the development of the profession, meet the aims of such organizations as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and address the issues of Schoolism, the gap and the hierarchy of evidence. I use psychotherapeutic/reflexive action research methodology as an integrating framework for examining professional experiential data with a view to bringing about change and transformation within the profession and as a way of incorporating a bricolage of methodologies - autobiographical and autoethnographic, heuristic, narrative, deconstructive, phenomenological, reflexive and action research.
The latent aspect of the study engages in a discursive examination of some key discourses and knowledge systems within the profession. In so doing, I argue for an approach to research which emancipates practitioners from the confining web of professional discourses and methodological systems so that they can get in touch with their lived embodied professional experience. I thus examine the powerful influence of professional discourses, including my own, and incorporate the principles of critical theory as a means of becoming aware of the influence of these discourses and encouraging practitioners to liberate themselves from them in order to promote change and transformation within the profession. I also take the view that our understanding and activities are influenced for better or worse by our beliefs. Consequently all aspects of the study are influenced by my core belief – a spiritual monistic belief system called Anthroposophy - and, towards the end of the investigation, I attempt to make the relevance of this belief to research transparent and also engage in some reflection on the role of belief in professional life and activity generally and some of the contradictions and tensions in the text.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:
Uncontrolled Keywords: counselling profession, psychotherapy profession, professional practice,
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Health & Social Care
School of Health & Social Care > Department of Psychology & Counselling
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:20

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