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Note-taking during counselling sessions: A mixed-methods research on the client’s perspective

Bernardi, Francesco (2015). Note-taking during counselling sessions: A mixed-methods research on the client’s perspective. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


The present study aimed to investigate the impact that note-taking has on the client’s experience of the counsellor, from a quantitative and qualitative perspective. To achieve this, a sequential explanatory strategy to mixed-methods (Creswell, 2013) was employed, with a chronological priority given to the quantitative phase of the study.

The quantitative research was specifically conducted to verify whether notetaking has an impact on the client. Participants watched a video of an initial counselling session where different levels of note-taking were observed: no, light, moderate and heavy note-taking. Subsequently, participants completed a questionnaire investigating their experience of the counsellor and the session. This study shows only a significant difference between the no note-taking and light notetaking conditions. Interpretations of the results, limitations of this phase, and suggestions for future research are discussed.

The qualitative phase of the study consisted of conducting semi-structured follow-up interviews with some of the participants from the quantitative study sample. The Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to collect and analyse the qualitative data. Six emergent themes were identified: intensity of note-taking; usefulness of note-taking; negative aspects of note-taking; providing a rationale for note-taking; drawing on past experience to make meaning; and stages of counselling. The themes were interpreted and linked with the extant literature. Limitations of this phase are discussed.

Finally, the qualitative and quantitative data were brought together with the final aim to complement each other. Final conclusions on the entire mixed-methods are made and suggestions on the use of note-taking in counselling are offered.

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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