Accessing Clients' Perpectives of their Counselling using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
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Recent psychotherapeutic research has begun to highlight the importance of considering clients’ experiences of the process of counselling, in a meaningful and detailed way through the use of qualitative methodologies. The current study aimed to add to this body of literature, by using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (e.g. Smith & Osborn, 2003) to access the views of eight clients, who had all recently received or were currently receiving some form of counselling. Three underlying themes emerged from analysis of interviews with the participants: the importance of the complex relationship clients had with their counsellor; the focus in sessions on the client by both the client and the counsellor and the gains clients made in counselling, particular in relation to their sense of self. These findings are discussed in relation to existing research on the therapeutic relationship and the role of the clients’ self in counselling. Implications in relation to models of psychotherapy and research are also discussed.