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Trying to find the balance in research and therapeutic practice

Kemp, D. (2013). Trying to find the balance in research and therapeutic practice. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


This portfolio presents my qualitative research, which used Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to explore mothers’ experiences of having an adult daughter in personal therapy through nine semi-structured interviews. Mothers were unanimously supportive of their daughter’s therapy and identified generally beneficial, if limited, outcomes. They reported increases in their daughters’ anger and criticism towards them and improvements in closeness and communication. Theorising and questioning activities about the cause of their daughters’ difficulties and her need for therapy were common sense-making processes, underpinned by feelings of guilt, anxiety and confusion. Forgetting, accepting, focusing on progress, negotiating intimacy with their daughters and regulating information-sharing with others are examples of how mothers managed the process. A dynamic cycle of discussion with their daughters and personal reflection sometimes led to re-evaluation and changes in mothers’ behaviour, attitude and self-awareness. From the findings I highlight the complexity and suggest ways that mothers and daughters can be better supported. Transferability issues that must be taken into consideration when applying the findings and areas for future research are also discussed. As a Trainee Counselling Psychologist, I have resonated with the challenges of self-acceptance, use of self and struggles with authenticity and finding a good enough balance. These themes tie the research together with a publishable paper and client study. The publishable paper is my attempt to synthesise the findings from my research for the audience of the Journal of Family Therapy. I address the ways in which mothers manage the process of having an adult daughter in personal therapy and how these findings could inform individual and systemic practice. The client study presents an integrative and relational therapeutic approach with Nathan, a client diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, who struggled with feelings of inadequacy. I explore the process issues of avoidance, parallel process and fluctuation in mood, and critically evaluate how I have developed professionally.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
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