City Research Online

The art of collaboration: creating bespoke therapy with the client

Miller, Erin (2011). The art of collaboration: creating bespoke therapy with the client. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)



Living with HIV has been described as a process of constant adjustment and re-adjustment as the person attempts to create both a good quantity and quality of life (Pierret, 2000). Most of the literature from the counselling psychology community has focused on the efficacy of cognitive behavioural therapy for this client group however; some of the theory behind this model has been questioned in relation to the needs of the HIV positive community. The current study explored the process between three HIV positive clients and twelve sessions of pluralistic therapy.


Twelve pluralistic therapy sessions with three HIV positive clients were audio recorded. The participants were recruited from the waiting list of a specialist HIV mental health service in London. Grounded theory strategies were used to analyse the transcriptions of the therapy sessions. Feedback sessions were also conducted with each of the clients in order to gain insight into their experience. The client work and analysis is presented in three pragmatic case studies.


Goals: These HIV positive clients had specific ‘relational goals’ for therapy. More specifically, the goal was to have the experience of being the ‘expert’ in the room. Tasks: A common theme was ‘self care’ and increasing quality of life. Methods: The therapeutic relationship was found to be a method within the pluralistic framework. A common element for all three clients was the absolute importance placed on ‘creating a shared understanding’ between the
client and the therapist.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: © 2011 Erin Miller
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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