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Exploring Buddhist clients’ experiences of psychological therapy

Bai, X (2020). Exploring Buddhist clients’ experiences of psychological therapy. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


From a broad perspective, clients’ experiences of psychological therapies have been widely investigated. This has often focused on the experience of types of therapies and specific client groups, based on factors such as religion, mental disorder, gender, ethnicity, profession, and culture. However, within the realm of religiosity and spirituality, there appears to be a lack of research on Buddhist clients’ therapeutic experiences, despite the vast amount of studies on the impact of implementing Buddhist principles into therapeutic modalities.

For this reason, the aim of the current study is to capture, explore, and understand how Buddhist clients experience psychological therapy. This includes explorations into therapeutic relationships, treatment interventions, clients’ relationships with Buddhism and its impacts on their experiences in therapy.

A purposive sampling method was used to recruit seven self identified Buddhists who took part in semi-structured interviews. Findings were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. This generated three master themes that provided insights into some of the factors that facilitated and inhibited the progress of therapy and the therapeutic relationship for Buddhist clients.

The findings from this study add to existing knowledge of therapeutic experiences amongst religious and/or spiritual groups and provides new insights into how therapy can be helpful to clients with strong religious and/or spiritual beliefs and values, which at times may be in conflict with treatment interventions. The implications and future recommendations of this study for the field of counselling psychology, including the discussion of the importance of utilising R/S-specific interventions for this client group, relate well to therapists’ training needs.

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