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My Child and Me: A Qualitative Exploration of the Experiences of Parents Who Have Had a Child or Children Receive Psychological Therapy

Clark, Julia (2016). My Child and Me: A Qualitative Exploration of the Experiences of Parents Who Have Had a Child or Children Receive Psychological Therapy. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Previous research has examined general attitudes towards mental health. These attitudes have tended to be stigmatised, which results in a negative impact upon the individuals who suffer from mental health difficulties. When parents have a child who suffers from a mental
health difficulty, they are also affected by these stigmatising views, and there appears to be a culture of blame placed upon parents, particularly mothers. When a child needs psychological therapy, the effects that parents can have upon their child's therapy have been
well researched, but the effects that children's mental health and the receipt of psychological therapy has upon the parents has been less researched, and there is a significant lack of research conducted around this area in the UK. This piece of research aimed to address this
gap and to explore parents' experiences of having had a child or children receive psychological therapy. Eight mothers were interviewed all of whom had a child or children under the age of sixteen years receive psychological therapy. A semi-structured interview
schedule was used, and the data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Four master themes emerged from the analysis which highlighted how the mothers made sense of having a child receive psychological therapy; the enhancement of relationships, exploring the meaning of having a child with mental health difficulties, the journey of therapy, and negotiating the role of parenthood. These themes are further discussed, and links are made to relevant previous research and literature. The challenges
of conducting this research are discussed, along with the strengths and limitations of the study and the implications for the field of Counselling Psychology and practice. Ideas for future research are also presented.

Keywords: parents, children, mental health, psychological therapy, IPA

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