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How psychotherapy clients in recovery from harmful substance use experience the process of therapeutic change: A constructivist grounded theory analysis

Plessa, A. (2020). How psychotherapy clients in recovery from harmful substance use experience the process of therapeutic change: A constructivist grounded theory analysis. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)

Abstract

The purpose of the present study is to explore the process of therapeutic change from the perspective of individuals who have found psychotherapy helpful in assisting their recovery from substance misuse. Based upon the premise that substance misuse psychotherapy research has been criticised for lacking a qualitative focus that encompasses the client’s view and subjective perceptions of change in the process of recovery (Miller, 2016), this research utilised a constructivist version of Grounded Theory (Charmaz, 2014) to analyse data collected from individual, semi-structured interviews with 12 participants (six male, six female; age range: 30 to 65 years) who had recently completed a course of psychotherapy at a London-based drug and alcohol service. Detailed analysis of the interview transcripts resulted in the construction of a theoretical model which consisted of four main categories: ‘addressing the substance relationship’, ‘therapist-client engagement’, ‘becoming one’s own therapist’ and ‘ultimate therapeutic change outcome’. These categories and their properties (i.e., more focused subcategories) were identified as representing key psychosocial processes involved in participants’ experiences of therapeutic change and recovery from substance misuse over time. A core connecting category, termed ‘Broadening’, was also identified as applying to all therapeutic change dimensions that were extracted from participants’ accounts. These findings are discussed in light of relevant theoretical and research literature in order to provide explanatory support for the constructed grounded theory model as well as contribute new insights which may be useful to future research and practice in this field of inquiry. Last but not least, this study also aims to respond to recent calls to increase the presence of the profession of Counselling Psychology in the field of substance misuse through engagement in relevant areas of research and

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 Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
Date available in CRO: 12 Mar 2021 13:45
Date deposited: 12 March 2021
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/25795
[img] Text - Accepted Version
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