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Balancing closeness and distance through identity enactment: Psychological therapy assessments explored through the assessor-client dyad

Sweeney, A., Kelly, K., Kennedy, A., Clement, S., Ion, M., Kothari, G. and Gillard, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-9686-2232 (2020). Balancing closeness and distance through identity enactment: Psychological therapy assessments explored through the assessor-client dyad. Qualitative Research in Psychology, doi: 10.1080/14780887.2020.1808748

Abstract

Whilst encounters in psychology are typically experienced relationally, qualitative dyadic research in psychology is relatively rare. This study used qualitative dyadic research to understand psychological therapy assessments, exploring how experiences are actively created through situated, relational encounters. Seven dyads participated in qualitative semi-structured interviews, predominantly from services for trauma survivors. Thematic dyadic analysis explored a third space, distinct from the experiential knowledge of individuals. We found that clients and assessors balance closeness and distance through enacting aspects of their identities impacting on connection, safety, trust and disclosures. Whilst assessors and clients come together as strangers, human beings, experts, collaborators and, at times, survivors, the key determining factor shaping the encounter is how successfully assessors communicate their humanity. We conclude that dyadic qualitative inquiry is a feasible and rich method for understanding the relational in psychological healthcare encounters.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Qualitative Research in Psychology on 21 Sep 2020, available online: https://doi.org/10.1080/14780887.2020.1808748
Publisher Keywords: Dyadic research, identity, assessment, client, assessor
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Nursing
Date available in CRO: 03 Mar 2021 07:28
Date deposited: 3 March 2021
Date of first online publication: 21 September 2020
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/25738
[img] Text - Accepted Version
This document is not freely accessible until 21 September 2021 due to copyright restrictions.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

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