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Research Conference 2003  


BACP's 9th Annual Research conference was entitled 'Research and Diversity' and took place on 16-17 May 2003. It was held at the Holiday Inn, Leicester in association with The Institute of Lifelong Learning, University of Leicester.

Click here for an evaluation of this year's conference

Abstracts



Tim Bond 

Professional Role: Reader in Counselling and Professional Ethics
Institution: Graduate School of Education University of Bristol
Contact details: Graduate School of Education University of Bristol, 8-10 Berkeley Square, Bristol, BS8 1HH
Email: tim.bond@bris.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Auto Ethnographic Research

Naked Narrative: Quality Criteria for the Use of Narrative As Research

This paper will report the responses to the presentation and publication of 'Naked narrative - Real research' at this conference last year and elsewhere (Counselling and Psychotherapy Research 2(2) (2002) 133-138). Although there were many positive responses, there were also critical responses. This presentation will consider three concerns that underpinned these criticisms.

The first critique concerns whether narrative is an acceptable mode of representation for investigating and reporting research.

The second concerns the implementation of this particular piece of research.

Reflections on the second lead to questioning what type of criteria are appropriate to determining the quality of this type of research - the third strand of this presentation.

Participants will be encouraged to offer their own views and engage in discussion.

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Jill Brennan

Professional Role: Counsellor
Institution: Department of Clinical Psychology, North Manchester General Hospital
Contact details: Department of Clinical Psychology, North Manchester General Hospital, Central Drive, Crumpsall, Manchester
Email: jill_brennan@hotmail.com

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Medical and Health

The Asylum Seeker, the NHS Counsellor and the Case Study

Growing numbers of asylum seekers and dependants are being referred to NHS psychological therapies. This study began when, as a counsellor in a clinical psychology setting, I was reflecting on working with clients displaced by war.

A preliminary literature search suggested some mismatch between psychological therapies provision based on widely held assumptions about asylum seekers' mental health needs and the reality of clinical presentation.

I proposed to explore further by writing up to six contextualized case histories of clients from my own caseload over a period of one year, with particular interest in factors which clients defined as relevant to current distress and the kinds of intervention which they experienced as helpful. The focus on clinical cases was deliberate, since I hoped that this might, with a minimum of additional disturbance of clients, help to clarify and begin to address my questions, leading ultimately to improved counselling practice.

A variety of problems then arose, relating to:

  • obtaining ethical permission for this type of research in an NHS setting;
  • issues of informed consent in a politically sensitive context;
  • ongoing practical difficulties in meeting with asylum seekers in a hospital setting;
  • lack of cross-culturally validated outcome measures; and,
  • my own growing conflicts about practitioner case study as a form of research

In the end, the project was put on hold. This paper, however, identifies some learnings and suggested future directions arising from the attempt.

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Khatidja Chantler

Professional Role: Independent Researcher, Counsellor and Supervisor
Contact details: 1, Egerton Road South, Stockport, SK4 4LS
Email: khatidja.chantler@lineone.net

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Research and Diversity

Racialised and Gendered Conditions of Worth

Introduction

Carl Rogers was one of the first people who referred to issues of power in counselling relationships. He stressed the importance of being transparent and real (Rogers 1959). This attempt to redress the balance between counsellor and client, to strive for equality, places person-centred counselling in a strong position to integrate issues of anti-discriminatory practice. Yet the evidence (e.g. Kearney, 1996: Lago, 1996) suggests that person-centred counselling has largely overlooked the significance of power based on difference. This research seeks to unpack some of the key elements of power that structure counselling relationships.

Methods

This research uses a case-study approach to examine the widely used videos, (particularly on training courses) 'Anger and Hurt' and 'The Right to be Desperate'. In these videos, Carl Rogers is counselling an African-American man and as such offers an important resource to interrogate difference around 'race' and gender. Four key analytical tools are used:

a) Person-centred theory and practice
b) Client's direct references to 'race' and Rogers responses to these
c) Racialised and gendered conditions of worth
d) Therapeutic movement, 'race' and gender

Summary of Results

I illustrate occasions where Rogers both missed important cues from his black client and also demonstrate that when Rogers recognised and articulated aspects of the client's racialised and gendered 'self', the latter is where therapeutic movement appears to take place.

Conclusions

The concept of racialised and gendered conditions of worth are introduced, and I argue for the centrality of these to be addressed in person-centred therapy as a key mechanism for linking the external with the internal world and for improving practice across 'difference'.

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Liz Coldridge

Professional Role: Senior Lecturer, Director of Counselling and Psychotherapy Programmes
Institution: University of Salford
Contact details: University of Salford, School of Community, Health Sciences and Social Care, 5th Floor, Allerton Building, Frederick Road Campus, Frederick Road, Salford M6 6PU
Email: L.Coldridge@salford.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Poster

What Influences Psychotherapy Assessment - The Interplay Between Client, Therapist, Setting and Model

This study forms part of my doctoral research into psychotherapy assessment. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with therapists who assess for psychotherapy in a range of settings. The therapists came from a number of professional backgrounds and represented a range of psychotherapy models. The focus of the study was the interrelationship of client, therapist, setting and model on the assessment process.

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Geralyn Collins

Professional Role: Counsellor in Primary Care
Institution: Oxfordshire Mental Healthcare Trust and Reading Primary Care Trust
Contact details: Reading, Berkshire
Email: geralyn.collins@virgin.net

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Research and Diversity

Object Relations in Twins: An Exploratory Study Introduction

Twins are rarely spotlighted in counselling trainings, but their experiences merit wider consideration. Psychodynamic interpretations of developmental issues, such as object relations theory, have been built around the relationship of a singleton baby to its primary care-giver, usually the mother. This research explores the subjective experiences of adults who also happen to be one of a set of twins. The study examines environmental (maternal) influences on the twinship, rather than genetic influences.

Methods

A qualitative, case-study approach was used, with semi-structured interviews of 24 adult volunteers, who had each grown up with their co-twin. The sample included people of different ages and gender, some having an identical twin and some having a non-identical twin. Interviews with both twins of a pair were not deliberately sought. The questions explored the subjective recollections of the volunteers about their lives from early childhood into adulthood. This research was undertaken as part of the author's MA studies in the Department of Health and Social Care at the University of Reading.

Results

People described early rivalry alongside evidence of its resolution in the form of companionship and identification with the co-twin. Evidence was found that twinning can affect an individual's sense of self, the experiences of separation and the formation of adult relationships. The results suggest a varying potential, within each twinship, for one twin to identify more with mother while the other twin identifies more with the co-twin, and less with mother.

Conclusions

The results are relevant to the work of counselling individual adults who are one of twins. Although twins experience their developmental stages in common, their environmental (maternal) experiences within the same family, as for other (non-twin) siblings, can be diverse.

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Alice Cook and Rhiannon England

Professional Roles: (A Cook) Therapist, (R England) GP
Institution: Family Welfare Association and Statham Grove Surgery
Contact details: Hackney Well Family Service, Woodberry Down School, Woodberry Grove, London N4 1SY
Email: alicecook.woodberrydown@virgin.net

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Medical and Health Issues

Pain in The Heart: Changing The Perspective On Primary Care Consultations With Frequently Attending Refugees

This presentation comments on the results of a qualitative study conducted in a GP practice in East London. The study had the dual aim of exploring new ways to approach frequently attending refugee patients with a diagnosis of somatization, and developing tools through co-working which would be accessible for other GPs and counsellors to use with similar patients.

A GP, counsellor and health advocate worked with 17 Turkish speaking refugee patients in a series of up to six 30 minute sessions in which the patients' family structure and support systems were explored. Attempts to 'unstick' the repetitive narrative of somatic complaints were made through the use of a 'reflective' partner present in the GP consultation to reflect, comment and intervene where necessary.

Results demonstrated a reduction in GP consultation rates and provided a means whereby workers felt less demoralised and more creative in approaching this group of patients.

In this presentation the authors will:

  • outline the study and its results
  • describe some cultural and theoretical issues relevant to counsellors working inter-culturally
  • discuss the relevance of the study to counsellors working in primary care settings
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Linda Cooper

Professional Role: Lecturer: Mental Health Nursing and Counselling
Institution: University of Wales College of Medicine
Contact details: School of Nursing Studies, University of Wales College of Medicine, Eastgate House, Cardiff
Email: cooperlh@cf.ac.uk

Abstract: Paper.

Strand: Auto Ethnographical Research

Re-Searching My Self: An Autoethnography of My Personal Experience of Work-Related Stress, Drawing on Personal, Professional and Research Narratives.

Three years ago, whilst working as a Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing and having just completed the first year of the MSc in Counselling (Supervision and Training), organisationally imposed changes occurred in my work life. This involved my moving from a well-established team to a new location, with a new manager, colleagues, responsibilities and workload. I did not agree with these changes and felt under-pressure, under-valued, unsupported and isolated. Within months I became overwhelmed with physical and mental symptoms. Stress and post-viral fatigue was diagnosed and I was unable to work for five months.

From the position of having completed my research two years ago I will:

  • Explore the process involved in creating an autoethnography of my personal experience of work-related stress and submitting it as an MSc. dissertation.
  • Explore its meaning in terms of it's contribution (or not) to the personal, professional and research worlds.

I shall do this by reading extracts from three narratives:

  • 'Personal narratives' from my personal journal: dreams, poems and thoughts written at the time I was in crisis,
  • 'Professional narratives,' in which I explore the relationship of my 'professional trainer self' to my private self through the exploration of a metaphor, and thirdly,
  • 'Research narratives' which combine a reflexive account of my research process with sceptical questioning such as: is this really research?
    Through these narratives I want to suggest that truth (and therefore research) is temporal and partial, multiple realities co-exist and that with each telling the story is modified.

In the spirit of autoethnographnic research methodology I shall be inviting you, the audience, to notice how this presentation resonates with your personal, professional, and research selves.

I wonder how this re-telling will impact on my evolving story.

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Mick Cooper

Second author: Mike Hough
Professional Role: Senior Lecturer in Counselling
Institution: University of Strathclyde
Contact details: 76 Southbrae Drive, Glasgow, G13 1PP
Email: mick.cooper@strath.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Children and Young People

Teachers' Attitudes Towards Counselling in Secondary Schools

This paper will present the initial findings of a small-scale study examining teachers' attitudes towards counselling in their schools. Seventy-six teachers across three schools completed a questionnaire in which they were asked a range of counselling-related questions, including the kinds of words they would associate with counselling and their views on the importance of having a counsellor at their school. Analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data suggests that teachers were generally positive towards the idea of having a school counsellor, but that this varied significantly amongst schools. No differences in attitudes towards counselling were found across age and gender. Teachers tended to associate the word 'counselling' with 'support' and 'listening', but a significant proportion also associated it with 'advice'. Further findings from this study will be discussed, and their implications for the development and promotion of schools' counselling services.

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Kamaldeep Dhillon

Professional Role: Researcher
Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Contact details: Department of Psychiatry, Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS
Email: K.Dhillon@qmul.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: open discussion 

Strand: Research and Diversity

Summing Up and Open Discussion on Culture, Diversity and Psychotherapy

Following on from the presentations on research into culture, diversity and therapy at the conference, this open meeting aims to explore with delegates their personal experiences of engaging with these areas, unpacking the limitations and possibilities that have been encountered and discuss how best to conduct culturally sophisticated investigations.

Keywords: culture, diversity, methodology, research

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Kim Etherington

Professional Role: Lecturer/Supervisor/Counsellor
Institution: University of Bristol
Contact details: Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol, 8-10 Berkeley Square, Bristol, BS8 1HH
Email: k.etherington@bristol.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Medical and Health Issues

Trauma, The Body and Transformation: A Narrative Inquiry

This paper is developed from a recent narrative inquiry that invited ten people to contribute their stories about ways they had found to transform bodily ill-health related to experiences of childhood trauma. Contributors were attracted through advertisement in CPJ and through therapeutic writing circles. As this is a collaborative project based on feminist principles of equality and transparency, the author's own stories are included.

Narrative research methodologies invite us to examine how stories are contextualised within cultures, eras, and how they might change over time. We are also invited to think with stories in terms of gender, race, religion and the socio-political assumptions upon which they may be built, and to examine how these assumptions impact on the meanings participants attach to their experiences. Counsellors working with those who are coping with the after-effects of childhood trauma such as the death of a parent, separation, loss, illness, accident, evacuation, emotional, physical, sexual abuse, neglect and abandonment, try to help clients make sense of these experiences and create coherent stories. This study exemplifies this work in its content and process.

The stories were analysed using narrative analysis and the work has recently been published by Jessica Kingsley: Trauma, the Body and Transformation: A Narrative Inquiry. The paper will be of interest to those who are interested in working with trauma, the concepts of mind-body-spirit connections and alternative healing practices, as well as those who are interested in the use of narrative research methods.

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Alison Faulkner

Professional Role: Independent Researcher, Consultant and Trainer
Institution: Independent
Email: AlisFl@aol.com

ABSTRACT: Plenum Presentation

Being Taken Seriously: User Involvement in Research

This presentation will look at the role and value of involving service users in the research process. It will examine what is meant by 'user involvement' in this context, and will consider some of the barriers to involving service users in research. The presentation will draw upon the presenter's experience as a mental health service user and researcher, looking at examples of different approaches towards involving service users in the research process. Finally, some of the dilemmas that arise from this complex endeavour will be explored, with reference to the psychotherapy field.

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Royston Flude

Professional Role: Chief Executive
Institution: Alexander Tobias & Associates
Contact details: 7 The Stables, Tabley House, Tabley, Cheshire WA16 0HA
Email: roystonAflude@aol.com

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Client and Counsellor Issues

High Intensity Short Duration Therapy: Challenging The Validity of The 50-Minute-Hour Session

Introduction: It has been a long held view that the 50-minute-hour session is the 'building block' for therapeutic intervention. Although there has been debate over the merits of limited sessions as opposed to long-term contracts, the benefits of the 50-minute-hour session have not been challenged. In 50-minute-hour sessions, up to ten minutes may be used at the opening and closing of a standard session leaving only 30 minutes for therapeutic movement. Depending on the nature of the issue, this may not be sufficient time to overcome the threshold necessary to achieve therapeutic change. In the worst cases the 50-minute-hour approach may be like rolling a ball up the side of a pit creating a perpetual motion machine for wasting time and money and facilitating a co-dependent relationship between the therapist and the client.

Method: A High Intensity Short Duration (HISD) methodology has been used within an Action Research framework that focuses on a 'six 3-hour session' contract that has particular relevance to low self-worth related disorders. The methodology engages physical, emotional, mental and spiritual intelligence dimensions as part of the Inner and Outer journeys of perception and behaviour to achieve rapid therapeutic movement

Results: This approach has been used with long-term unemployed youth, executive mentoring and eating disorder clients. More recently the CORE Inventory has been used to validate therapeutic movement. This is the pilot stage of what is hoped to be a much broader therapeutic effectiveness study.

Conclusions: High Intensity Short Duration programmes result in more rapid therapeutic movement. When combined with Low Intensity Long Duration mentoring within a therapeutic group environment, more efficient, effective and sustainable processes and outcomes may be achieved.

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Mary Glover

Professional Role: Counsellor / Supervisor
Institution: Birmingham Children's Hospital
Contact details: Department of Clinical Psychology, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Birmingham, B4 6NH
Email: mary.glover@bhamchildrens.wmids.nhs.co.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Children and Young People

A Hidden Agenda; Shame in Adolescent Process, An Issue for Therapy

In my clinical practice I noticed that young people presenting for therapy are often highly defended against shame, which led to this enquiry, in which I explore how far shame impinges on adolescent process, such that it causes behavioural difficulties for adolescents seeking help. [This current research is based within a wider PhD study, focussed on how far non-compliant behaviour is shame based]. Adolescence is a major life transition where previous phases influence the developmental need to form an identity and establish intimate relationships. Neurobiological change is set into a matrix of psycho-social factors with peer interaction being of paramount importance.

Method of enquiry

Adolescent Feelings of Shame Questionnaire (Lang----) was given to 20 young people in both a patient and non-patient group. Data was analysed quantitatively.

A focus group, with members drawn from the patient group, met three times, this was repeated with the same group. Data was analysed qualitatively by textual analysis, using NVIVO.

Five individual interviews were conducted and textual analysis applied.

Results

Shame is highly figural in adolescent processes, as a developmental issue and as a psycho-social factor, both shame based behaviour and behaviour as a defence against shame leads to difficulties for adolescents who also have health problems.

Conclusion

Despite the inherent weaknesses of this study (small number of participants and no comparison focus group or interview with non patient groups) there is evidence that shame based behaviour is highly figural in adolescent behaviour. Evidence from literature supports the effective use of group therapy for such young people. The story that needs to be told is often not amenable to verbalisation so multi media approaches are often most beneficial. Paucity of evidence from literature indicates the need for further research into how therapy can help young people who present with shame induced behavioural patterns.

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Peggy Gosling

Professional Role: Head of Behaviour Support
Institution: London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Support for Learning Service
Contact details: LBTH SEN Centre, 85 Harford Street, London E1 4PY
Email: peggy_gosling@yahoo.co.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper:

Strand: Auto-Ethnographical Research

Exploring Effective Practice in Behaviour Support: the Research Methodology

The findings of this doctoral research (Gosling 2001) presented at last year's BACP Research Conference, describe in detail the role and competence base of effective practitioners in the field of behaviour support, and reveal a system of values underpinning practice professional competence. These findings have greatly enhanced the researcher's understanding of her work as head of a large multi-agency team, and offer an original contribution to knowledge in a field previously lacking in research.

The focus of this presentation is the research methodology, a series of case studies of demonstrably effective support services, in which data were collected from a variety of sources, providing a "chain of evidence" regarding effective practice. This strategy was designed to exploit the researcher's professional experience, while overcoming the potential for researcher bias. This was achieved by being completely "open" in the collection and analysis of data.

The interview methodology, informed by "hierarchical focusing" (Tomlinson 1989), Rogers' (1951) "client-centred" approach, and "personal construct psychology" (Kelly (1955), enabled the researcher to explore the personalised professional knowledge of informants, discovering the ways in which knowledge was expressed and constructed. The PCP question, "Why is that important?" greatly enhanced the explanatory power of the research, revealing the underpinning value system.

The "grounded approach" to data analysis (Strauss & Corbin 1987) was based entirely in the language, themes, and associations emerging empirically from the data. This was achieved by immersion in the data from all sources, recreating the "felt experience" of the fieldwork in this "data soup," to explore commonality and diversity in the data. The case for the findings is argued inductively and represent the most general and consistent themes and associations to emerge irrespective of core variables. The generality of these findings provide evidence that, by grounding the analysis in the data, asking "What is this about?" and not "How does this fit my theory?" small scale research becomes capable of elaborating and building theory.

References

Gosling, P. 2001. Partnership for Change: Effective Practice in Behaviour Support. Unpublished PhD. London Institute of Education.

Kelly, G.A. (1955). The Psychology of Personal Constructs, Chicago: Norton.

Rogers, Carl. (1951). Client-centred Therapy. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.

Strauss, A.L., Corbin, J. (1987). Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory London. Sage. Tomlinson, E.R. (1989). 'Having it both ways: Hierarchical focusing as research method.' In British Educational Research Journal. vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 155-176.

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Miriam Isaac

Professional Role: Senior Lecturer
Institution: University College Worcester
Contact details: University College Worcester, Henwick Grove, Worcester
Email: m.isaac@worc.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Client and Counsellor Issues

A Grounded Theory of Client and Counsellor's Perceptions of Confidentiality in Counselling

This research was carried out as part of an MA in Counselling for Birmingham University.

The subject choice arose from an awareness that interpretations and practices of confidentiality amongst colleagues and author/practioners in the field, varied considerably not only between counselling orientations and contexts but also within the same contexts and orientations.

The original aims of the study were twofold: To explore the importance of confidentiality to the therapeutic relationship and the differences in perceptions of confidentiality between client and counsellor.

The choice of grounded theory was based on the premise of research as a process of discovery. In addition the methods flexiblity in application, its ability to look for the influence of the macro structural features on interactions, and its allowance of themes to emerge from the data appeared appropriate. The study was contextualised via a literature review.

A number of organisations were approached to participate in the research. Through a proces of refinement, the final analysis was based on 11 counsellors and 16 clients from the NHS, a statutory service. The numbers involved and choice of a single context, though faithful to the method, may for some pose a problem but paradoxically became a strength of the research in that the singular choice of profession allowed the effect of context on clients perceptions of confidentiality, to emerge from the data.

The application of grounded theory produced three central categories: clients' perceptions of confidentiality, counsellors' perceptions of confidentiality and counsellors' practice of confidentiality, with four linked sub-categories.

Results:

  • Counsellors conceptualisation and practice of confidentiality ranges from an absolutist model to an inclusive team based model.
  • A distinct lack of appreciation of the law was evident.
  • Though consensus exists concerning contracting confidentiality, there was no agreement amongst counsellors as to the limits and boundaries of confidentiality.
  • Clients in this study, all working within the NHS share a perception that risk of harm to others is prioritised over any injunction to confidentiality including absolute confidentiality.
  • The clients' working context influenced his or her perception of confidentiality. In the absence of clear contracting the client understood confidentiality on this basis.

Implications:

  • The therapeutic alliance may be at risk through a disjunction between perceptions of confidentiality
  • Further consideration of counsellor training
  • Statutory regulation of counselling
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David Jackson

Professional Role: Counsellor
Institution: Student/School Counsellor
Contact details: 86 North Road, Saltash, Cornwall, PL12 6BQ
Email: djackson.counselling@btinternet.com

ABSTRACT: Workshop.

Strand: Terrorism and War

An Auto-Ethnobiographical Exploration of War and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

This is a presentation of my MA dissertation called Unshedding the mask. Has my journey from Royal Marine to counsellor enabled me to embrace my experience of war and ultimately accept it?

Through this presentation I would like to give an insight into the experience of PTSD from a war veteran now a counsellor perspective. My research itself was an opportunity for me to unshed my masks of masculinity and my mask of ex Royal Marine war veteran. It asked many questions whilst not necessarily finding any answers.

Method: The research project used a grounded theory approach analysing three sets of data: local newspaper reports, my psychiatrists reports and two transcripts of counselling sessions where I specifically looked at my war experience. Lastly I looked at the metaphors for my experience in a research diary and a process diary kept throughout the duration of my MA.

Summary of the results:

The following themes arose

  • A development of emotional competence
  • Reinvention of self and masculinity
  • An attempt to untangle an area which was deeply embedded within my false self
  • The loss of innocence and hero status as concepts
  • The power of metaphor and the projection of emotions onto these metaphors

Conclusion

Current evidence suggests the plight of ex veterans is not good. Hence I would like to widen the research to give a broader understanding to the society that waves these young men away to war and to the counselling society that attempts to unpick the complexity of this issue.

Outline for conference

I would like to present key parts of my dissertation with a discussion group or workshop. The workshop will consist of an exploration of the themes but the use of experiential learning to illustrate the power of the metaphor and the meaning embedded within these metaphors. I would hope to raise awareness around my hidden wounds of war which in turn will give the attendees an opportunity to reflect on their practise with such clients. It is hoped that some insight into my world would then support practitioners within their practise and also encourage them to look at themselves in relation to the subject of war trauma.

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Adele Jones

Second authors: Ms M Sogren and Dr Jacqueline Sharpe

Professional Role: Lecturer in Social Work
Institution: The University of the West Indies
Contact details: The University of The West Indies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Behavioural Sciences, St Augustine Campus, Trinidad
Email: ajones@fss.uwi.tt

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Cultural and gender issues/ Children and Young People

Children of Migration: A Study of the Psycho-Social Status of Children in Trinidad Whose Parents Have Migrated

Introduction: The study arose out of a growing recognition that the children of parents who have migrated represent a disproportionate number of the referrals to the Child Guidance Clinic, Department of Psychiatry.

Method: Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used. A research instrument, the 'Children's Depression Inventory' (tested for cultural relevance and reliability within a Caribbean population) was administered across a population of 400 children aged 13-16 years, to measure depression indicators (negative mood, interpersonal problems, ineffectiveness, anhedonia and negative self-esteem). The data were analyzed to obtain information on prevalence, degree, age, gender and ethnicity. Purposive sampling resulted in 25 children and their caregivers taking part in in-depth structured interviews.

Results: Children separated from parents because of migration were twice as likely as other children to have emotional problems although their economic status was improved. One third had serious levels of depression or interpersonal difficulties affecting schooling and leading in some cases to suicidal ideation. Differences were found in relation to gender and ethnicity. In addition to separation through migration, several children had experienced serial losses e.g. bereavement, parental divorce, parental imprisonment, or change of caregiver. Resiliency factors included school performance and belief in family reunification. Parents went abroad to improve the economic conditions of the family. Surrogate care arrangements (usually with relatives) provided for children's material needs but did not address children's emotional problems. Increases in immigration restrictions in countries such as the US and the UK reduced possibilities for contact and family reunification despite these countries actively recruiting labour from the Caribbean.

Conclusions: The research has practice and policy implications. It raises questions about the limitations of attachment theory (Bowlby, 1972) in understanding the effects of separation and loss through migration on adolescents. Furthermore it identifies a need for child-centred immigration policy and highlights changes in family structure arising out of migration patterns.

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Gill Jones and Kate Anthony

Professional Role (GJ): Course Director
Institution: Counselling Online Limited
Email: gilljones@campusonline.org.uk

Professional Role (KA): Consultant
Institution: www.onlinecounsellors.co.uk
Contact details: 82 Tormount Road, Plumstead, SE18 1QB
Email: kate@onlinecounsellors.co.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Technology and Therapy - presentation three

A Study of the Effectiveness of Offering Specialized Counselling and Psychotherapy Skills Training Online

Introduction:

This demographic/qualitative survey was conducted with trainees on two online counselling skills courses that specialise in teaching counsellors and psychotherapists to work therapeutically over the Internet. The aim of the survey was to assess whether training conducted over the Internet via website, discussion boards, Internet Relay Chat and email can be considered an appropriate and effective way of offering specialist continuing professional development in this area.

Method:

A questionnaire was sent via email attachment to c.50 trainees over two months during early 2003, with a covering email explaining the purpose and aims of the study. The questionnaire was structured in two parts, the first confidential demographic data and the second qualitative open-ended questions around their experience of online learning and its effectiveness in comparison to face-to-face training, particularly with respect to levels of facilitator and peer support in a distance learning environment, and use of experiential client material via three methods. Analysis was conducted quantitatively for the demographic section in database format to give an indication of the type of counsellor and/or psychotherapist seeking such courses, and qualitatively by an open-coding system to group themes in relation to the research questions.

Results:

As a work-in-progress, early indications show that online learning is an effective method of teaching within the field of online therapy, but there are essential considerations to be made when offering trainees interactive role-play client material, interactive actual client material, and non-interactive observational client material, in order to protect the trainee from feeling overwhelmed by unboundaried disinhibition that Internet therapy affords.

Conclusions:

Initial conclusions include the extra precautions that course facilitators find necessary to ensure counsellor protection occurs while working in an isolated environment with sensitive client material.

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Sue Law

Professional Role: Counsellor
Institution: University of Bristol
Contact details: 25 Stirling Crescent, Totton, Southampton, Hampshire, SO40 3BN
Email: susanjlawuk@aol.com

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Auto-Ethnographical Research

Self Portrait; an Autoethnographical Canvas

The research dissertation for my MSc in Counselling is entitled "Hope, Hell and Highwater; an Autoethnographical Journey from Addition to Recovery" and is my own personal story of breakdown, return to sanity and on to the road of becoming a therapist. Within it I have used standard text, prose and it is illustrated with photographs of my paintings. I have examined hope and spirituality, shame, stigma and attitudes and forgiveness which was a latecomer in the reflexive, heuristic organic process of writing.

The autoethnographical writer Caroline Ellis was inspired by Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilych" making her think about how she was 'living her life and working her work' (Ellis 1997 Evocative Autoethnography; Writing Emotionally about our Lives) and subsequently I have been inspired by Ellis and her evocative writing which looks inward upon the self and outwards to self in the world and a cultural context. As a therapist I believe this rigorous investigation is essential in maintaining professional competence and is worthy of research and publication. Personal story told as research can evoke 'powerful transformation among the audience' (Smith 2000 "Sensitive Issues in Life Story Research"). Autoethnography has been criticised for being exhibitionistic, self-indulgent and self-absorbed.

I shall share with the audience at the conference my experience of writing and some of my findings. My intention in sharing my work will be to invite people to move back and forth between my story and their own comparing and contrasting yet sensing 'the unity of human experience' (Lopate 1995 "The Art of the Personal Essay"). I shall invite people to share their reflections which in turn will add to my on-going story and personal and professional development.

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Peter Martin

Professional Role: Counselling Psychologist, Senior Practitioner, part time Research Student
Institution: Bristol University
Contact details: 52 Ethelburt Avenue, Bassett Green, Southampton, SO16 3DD
Email: contact@peteramartin.co.uk

ABSTRACT: Workshop.

Strand: Heuristic Research

The Risky Business of Doing Heuristic Research in a Counselling Context: Its Pleasures and its Perils

Introduction: Heuristic research contains many promises of reward for the researcher. However, once into this rich process many problems occur especially if you seek to co-construct at any level, or if you seek in any way to re-present your material to the co-researcher for agreement or modification as suggested by Moustakas (1990). The riches consist of unexpected angles, insights and diversions in addition to often-experienced therapeutic effects both for the co-researcher and for the main researcher. Some of the perils result from differing levels of insight on the part of the co-researchers, the time lapse between first and second meetings, cultural variations and the sheer effect of seeing what you have said in cold print before you. As a researcher I have experienced whole trajectories of subjective experiences in relation to the co-researcher's material which has substantially altered my perception of myself. I will also talk about the effect of using my own and a client's story in ethical and personal-change terms.

Workshop format:

  • Outline of the riches of heuristic research
  • Outline of some major dilemmas
  • Paired activity relating to these dilemmas
  • Group discussion relating to the work 'risky' in the title

Reference: Clark Moustakas (1990) 'Heuristic Research; Design Methodology And Applications' London, Sage.

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Ruhani Mat-Amin

Professional Role: PhD Student
Institution: College of York St John
Contact details: 4 Hovingham Grove, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 3QU
Email: ruhanim@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Training

Counsellor Trainees' Life Experience During their Counselling Practicum

Introduction

Counselling practicum is one of the requirements of the three year school counselling training programme in Malaysia. This is a twelve week full-time practical placement. The trainees are expected to conduct counselling sessions, become involved in classroom guidance, coordinate developmental activities and help with administrative work during the counselling practicum. In addition, this is the first opportunity for the trainees to perform in the actual working world as well as deal with real clients. Therefore, what kind of experience do the trainees have during their counselling practicum?

Method

This is a qualitative study using a phenomenological approach. Data was gathered through three semi-structured interviews over a period of three months. Ten participants were involved in this study. However, this presentation will be based upon three participants' experience.

Result

The counselling practicum is a learning opportunity for trainees, allowing them to experience the reality of the role of school counsellor. As stated by one of the participants, Zana, 'I got to know about lots of things during this practicum, and also about the roles in which a counsellor should engage'. Another participant, Sheila, has a different learning experience. Sheila mentioned, 'I have learned many things here, especially how to conduct developmental activities, and which kind of activities are suitable for the pupils. We did not learn this during our training'. However, the trainee is not the only contributor to this learning experience. Other people such as the Head Teacher, the school counsellor, the teachers, the pupils, the university supervisor and fellow trainees play a significant role in creating the learning experience during the counselling practicum.

Conclusion

Support from others has a significant impact on the trainee during the counselling practicum. As a practitioner or trainer, how we can help the trainee during their process of becoming a school counsellor?

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Isha McKenzie-Mavinga

Professional Role: Psychotherapist/Trainer/Writer
Institution: London Metropolitan University, Goldsmiths College, Metanoia Institute
Contact details: Dept of Psychotherapeutic Studies, PACE Goldsmiths College, New Cross, SE14 6NW
Email: i.mckenziemavinga@londonmet.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Workshop.

Strand: Research and Diversity

Researching Links Between History and the Process of Black Issues

Background for research project: Sensitivity about addressing black issues pervades therapeutic relationships, training and supervision. Training programmes are still lacking in direction and theory on how to process these issues.

'It is also necessary to be aware of our own roles in the history, institutions and social processes of the inequality, which frequently confront us in cross-cultural work. Beyond this for our part we must avoid essentialising and totalising our clients as 'black subjects' (Hall 1992) and search for ways in which we may help them discover a range of representations of themselves and in this way encourage a critical dialogue around personal politics.'(Krause.1998 P161)

Summary of Methods: Action Research. Pluralistic, Heuristic.

Transcultural. Workshops with practitioners, and trainee counsellors.

Questions for analysis: To find the most common questions.

Using art and writing: To examine how shared history can influence these questions.

Knowledge: African and Asian communities have always used creative mediums as a means of healing and transformation.

Some findings: Most practitioners have shared concerns.

Participants' questions are not dissimilar to questions that I am asking myself as I carry out this project.

Focusing on black issues raises concerns about racism which can lead to essentialising black people, rather than a holistic approach relating to culture, personal development & relationships, raised by all peoples.

Further questions: How do I enquire into culturally diverse and racially specific paradigms using the tools of the Eurocentric trade? How can I bring together the experiences of black peoples with the experiences of both black and white practitioners and clients?

Participation: This will be achieved by sharing elements of history expressed through art and, considering ethical concerns as a black tutor, engaging students and staff as participants.

References

Hall S. (1992) New Ethnicities. In J Donald & A. Rattansi (eds) Race culture and Difference. London Sage Publications. From Inga-Britt (1998) Krause Therapy Across Culture - Sage

Reading. Mckenzie-Mavinga.I. Creative Writing As Healing in Black Women's Groups. In Dupont Joshua A.Ed. (2003) Working Inter-Culturally in Counselling Settings. Sage

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John McLeod

Professional Role: Professor of Counselling
Institution: University of Abertay Dundee, Dudhope Castle, Dundee, DD3 6HF
Contact details: Tayside Institute for Health Studies, University of Abertay Dundee, Dudhope Castle, Dundee, DD3 6HF
Email: j.mcleod@tay.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Workshop.

Strand: Evidence and Practice

Getting Into Print: Writing a Research Paper for Publication

This workshop is intended for anyone who is involved in doing research, and is interested in getting their work published as a journal article. The session will focus mainly on the process of preparing and submitting a paper for the BACP research journal, Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, but will also make reference to the requirements and procedures of other potential publication outlets.

The workshop will consider such issues as:

  • the role of and purpose of publication
  • deciding on the best outlet for your work
  • submitting a paper
  • understanding the review and production process
  • the structure and language of research articles
  • writing personally - making use of your own experience how to get help and support.

The workshop facilitator, John McLeod, is Professor of Counselling at University of Abertay Dundee, and editor of Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. He believes passionately in the value of research as a means of enhancing practice, and is eager to develop a genre of research writing consistent with the values of counselling and psychotherapy in Britain.

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Bonnie Meekums

Professional Role: Lecturer in Counselling
Institution: University of Leeds
Contact details: University of Leeds, Wakefield Campus, Barnsley Road, Wakefield, WF1 5NS
Email: b.meekums@leeds.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Technology and Therapy

Sisterly Support: Creative Interpersonal Learning Through E-mail Narrative

Introduction:

This study arose from e-mail communications between two adult sisters who live 70 miles apart. They became curious about the nature and function of these communications, and the apparently mirrored process in 19th century letters between sisters separated by marriage. One of the sisters (the presenter) is a counsellor and psychotherapist; the other is an English teacher with an interest in linguistics.

Methods:
E-mails were stored, initially for an unspecified period. The decision to stop collecting the data came two months after the start, when the counsellor noticed a series of events for both sisters, which indicated 'closure'. Data was coded through a process of 'indwelling' (Moustakas 1990), out of which a process model emerged.

Results:
The model mirrored the creative process in therapy identified in other contexts (Meekums 2000, 2002). This process, both within e-mails and across time, involved a move from internal struggle, to immersion in the story, followed by insight and re-evaluation. The process was facilitated by the safety offered through asynchronous communication, and by self- and other-witnessing. Each e-mail followed a narrative structure, introducing and telling one or more stories with a coda at the end which functioned as 'grounding' and offered some emotional protection to the other sister, often through humour.

Conclusions:
This study contributes to the growing body of research in asynchronous communication and narrative approaches in counselling contexts (Wright 2002). Its uniqueness lies in the focus on ordinary sibling relationships and the use of informal self-help. The personal re-evaluation of family relationships identified indicates a potential for research in the use of e-mail within family therapy, especially where families cannot be convened for sessions due to geographical constraints. The creative process identified warrants further research in a variety of counselling contexts, and may have implications for the training of counsellors.

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John Mellor-Clark

Professional Role: Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Director
Institution: PTRC, University of Leeds and CORE IMS Ltd
Contact details: CORE IMS Limited, 47 Windsor Street, Rugby, CV21 3NZ
Email: john@coreims.co.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Evidence and Practice

Benchmarking for Improved Client Care?

For the vast majority of clients who receive psychological therapy within the NHS, the experience will be characterised as the growth of a trusting and confidential relationship that is formed and developed behind the privacy of 'closed doors'. For at least fifty years few have questioned the appropriateness of nurturing such relationships under these private and confidential conditions - indeed many have argued it to be one of the prerequisites for the critical alliance formation. Yet in today's new culture of increased transparency and accountability there seems to be growing demands for therapy services to find ways to systematically monitor and profile what goes on behind these closed therapy room doors. So how do our current methods of audit, evaluation and outcome measurement practice meet these demands for practice-based evidence and individual performance assessment?

For the past eighteen-months a group of experienced therapy service managers have been exploring the potential of both shifting the evaluation (methodology) paradigm and benchmarking amongst themselves to identify and inform 'best practice'. This has meant that instead of collating data retrospectively and applying traditional statistical technique to inform annual reports, they've been using standardised, tailor-made software to collate, filter, drill-down and report on evaluation data in real-time (i.e. as and when it is collected) both quantitatively (i.e. clinical and reliable change analysis) and qualitatively (n=1 case review and reflection). Additionally, they've submitted their anonymous data to a central National Database to help resource the creation of a set of performance indicators and service descriptors that have been subsequently organised as a set of quartiles profiling national service provision.

Examples of some of the participants' experiences in this highly innovative and pioneering initiative will be presented as an empirical paper profiling action research that is attempting to rise to the challenge of clinical governance and performance assessment in an imaginative and constructive way for the development of UK psychological therapy provision and practice.

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Christine Miller

Professional Role: Counsellor and Trainer
Contact details: 59 The Avenue, Ealing, London W13 8JR
Email: mc.miller@btopenworld.com

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Children and Young People

The Significance of a Resourceful State in Counselling Children

Abstract: Undertaken for a Master's dissertation in Counselling Practice, this research was prompted by the author's counselling and mentoring work with young people, combined with recent statistics indicating that up to 25% of children might be suffering from emotional/behavioural difficulties, and government reports (DfES 2001) urging that greater attention be paid to children's mental health.

An intensive case study, taking an individual client from practice, it explores in depth the significance of Resourceful State in counselling children. Resourceful State is described as calm awareness, giving ability to reflect before acting, an increase of choices in response to any situation in life.

The research consists of a precise socio-cultural contextualisation, prefaced by an overview of the historical, cultural, sociological and educational aspects of counselling with children. There is then an account of the pre-counselling assessments and counselling process. Guidelines offered by case study researchers such as Yin (1989) and Stake (1995) were adhered to closely, and the case study is presented in the form of a narrative strongly supported by verbatim accounts from multiple voices (client, mother, teacher, counsellor). It was designed to enable the practitioner to explore and discover retrospectively events, thoughts, feelings and outcomes, which unfolded during the counselling process, taking place over a six-month period, between 2000 - 2001.

Conclusions include that the Resourceful State may possibly foster the therapeutic alliance, enhance self-reflection, facilitate authentic emotions and lead to congruent growth along the path of becoming a fully-functioning human being, and I wonder if its application in the context of counselling children could be widely beneficial to other children and their counsellors.

Further research is recommended on a wider scale within alternative settings e.g. schools, with different populations from backgrounds where risk factors for mental ill health - including poverty, family instability, and abuse, - are prevalent.

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Roy Moodley

Second author: Olga Stojanovic-Tinto

Professional Role:Assistant Professor
Institution: University of Toronto
Contact details: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology, 252 Floor Street West, 7th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1V6
Email: roymoodley@oise.utoronto.ca

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Research and Diversity

Representation of 'Psychological Distress' in Culturally Diverse Clients: Constructing an Illness Representation Model

There has been lack of research about how culturally diverse clients represent and present 'psychological distress' in counselling and psychotherapy, and there appears to be a similar paucity of research in terms of counsellors and psychotherapists interpretations of clients' illness perceptions (Moodley, 2000). It has been argued that clients' beliefs, perceptions and concepts about distress and illness may affect coping behaviour, and forms of help seeking, and ultimately positive outcomes in healing (Leventhal, Meyer & Nerenz, 1980).

This study (work in progress) attempted to construct an illness representation model (clients' schema, illness concepts and illness perceptions) that culturally diverse clients' use in therapy, and see how this model is related to social ideas, religious beliefs and cultural practices (viz., its intersection with issues of 'race', ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation and religion). The research also attempted to ascertain clients' 'cure' seeking or controllability perceptions (lay beliefs, psychopharmacological, therapeutic intervention). Semi-structured interviews were used with clients from a range of cultural and ethnic groups living in multicultural Toronto to produce a range of qualitative data to inform the development of illness representation model. This model is compared with Leventhal's self-regulation model (Leventhal et al., 1980) and Alladin's ethnomedical model (Alladin, 1999).

References:

Alladin, W.J. (1999) Models of Counselling and Psyhcotherapy for a multiethnic society. In S. Palmer and P. Laungani (eds.) Counselling in a Multicultural Society.London: Sage.

Leventhal, H., Meyer, D. and Nerenz, D. (1980) The common sense representation of illness danger. In Stanley Rachman (ed.) Contributions to Medical Psychology. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Moodley, R. (2000) Representation of subjective distress in black and ethnic minority patients: constructing a research agenda. In Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 13(2), 159-174.

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David Murphy

Professional Role: Counsellor
Institution: First Assist
Contact details: Please contact BACP

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Training

A Qualitative Study into the Experiences of Trainee and Experienced Counsellors During a Mandatory 40hrs Personal Therapy for a Masters Degree

A qualitative exploration was carried out into the experiences of trainee and qualified counsellors on an MA in counselling. The focus of the inquiry was to develop a greater understanding of 'how' mandatory personal therapy for trainees affects their work as counsellors in the field. An unstructured, in depth group interview was carried out with 5 members of the course who volunteered to take part. Following transcription the data was analysed using a form of grounded theory called the constant comparative method. It is suggested that this aspect of training has largely positive effects that emerge as follows. Trainees sometimes experience the counsellor as being a role model or, 'mentor' as they are socialised into the counselling world. Also, that the experience acts as some kind of confirmation of the process of counselling as being an effective intervention for psychological concerns or issues. Trainees are often exposed to particular styles or, interventions that they may see as being either helpful or unhelpful. This process seems to be one by which empathy is developed at a deep level, both for an understanding of particular issues but moreover to gain the understanding of what it is like to be the client. This then facilitates the development of self-awareness, which is then used as the tool for counselling. The suggestion made here is that empathy seems to be emerging as a precursor to effective counselling. The data has also suggested that 40 hrs is seen as being a somewhat token gesture and that far more would be better, if it could be obtained at a reasonable cost. A major recommendation that has emerged at this early stage of analysis is that training institutes could assist the trainees by developing more accessible personal therapy by developing their own counselling services for trainees to use. This could also help to alleviate some of the difficulties for trainees finding placements, as it could potentially be seen as being a place for trainees to gain experience.

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Mopelola Ayoka Olusakin

Professional Role: Senior Lecturer
Institution: University of Lagos
Contact details: Department of Educational Foundations, University of Lagos, Akoka-Lagos, Nigeria
Email: mopeolusakin@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Cultural and Gender Issues

Gender Differences in the Psycho-Social Adjustment of Nigerian Single Parents

Being married, living together as husband and wife and having children who are looked after by both parents, is the dream, pride and joy of a typical Nigerian. In fact single parent family setting in the strict sense of the term, was formally a taboo among Nigerians. However, the increasing rate of divorce, separation and teenage motherhood has brought about this pattern of family. Headed by a man or a woman, single family system is still frowned at among Nigerians.

This Study was carried out therefore to find out the differences in the psychological as well as the social adjustment problems that the single mothers encounter when compared to those of single fathers. Eighty-one single parents (forty-one single mothers and forty single fathers) formed the subject of the study. The mean age of the single mothers was 34.5 years while that of the single fathers was 38 years. The two research hypotheses that there would be significant differences in (1) the psychological adjustment and (2) the social adjustment of single mothers when compared to those of single fathers, were accepted. The results showed that single mothers suffer more intense psychological as well as social adjustment problems than the single fathers. The family counselling implications were discussed.

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Glenys Parry

Professional Role: Professor of Applied Psychological Therapies
Institution: School of Health and Related Research, The University of Sheffield
Contact details: School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), Mental Health Section, The University of Sheffield, Regent Court, 30 Regent Street, Sheffield S1 4DA

ABSTRACT: Plenum Presentation.

All the Help We Can Get: the Case for Pluralism in Research

Research in counselling and psychotherapy is very broadly based, drawing on contrasting paradigms, from the radically constructivist, hermeneutic traditions to a focus on positivist, hypothesis-testing research using statistical methods. This sometimes creates tensions between fierce advocates of one position attaching and sometimes misrepresenting the other. Although different research methods are drawn from competing world views, as practitioners we are faced with an absolute requirement to generate knowledge which improves our practice. I shall argue that in this endeavour we need all the help we can get, and that far from competing, different research methods and paradigms complement each other in creating knowledge-in-use.

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Bobbie Petford

Professional Role: Older People's Bereavement Counsellor
Institution: Wolverhampton City NHS Primary Care Trust
Contact details: Midlands Institute for Integrative Psychotherapy and Counselling, University of Central England, 032 Bevan House, Westbourne Road, Edgebaston, Birmingham, B15 3TN
Email: bobbiesthere@blueyonder.co.uk

ABSTRACT: Poster.

Strand: Research and Diversity

Therapy from the Fence

Bisexuality is virtually invisible in therapy literature. Little has been written on what factors influence choice of therapeutic approach. The perceptions of therapists who self-identify as bisexual, and their approach to therapy, are explored in a reflexive phenomenological study informed by queer and feminist methods. The design was non-dichotomous in an effort to explore data that disappears in comparative enquiry. Nine co-researchers participated in telephone interviews, contributed to both structure and content, and reviewed analysis. The findings provide an authentic description of their experience across six experiential levels: still centre; intra personal; inter personal; community; culture; world-view. They reveal dynamic inter-relationships between 'Bisexual Identity and Experience', 'Therapy and Mental Health', and 'Being and Becoming a Therapist'. Transferability is evident in the resonance findings have for their readership. The findings concur with sparse literature on integrative and queer approaches to mental health inequalities and therapy, bisexual identities, and multi-dimensional models of mutable sexuality. They have implications for the absence of sexuality and queer identities in therapy training, and for sensitivity to cultural diversity in therapy practice.

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Andrew Reeves

Other Authors: Professor Sue Wheeler and Mr Ric Bowl
Professional Role: University Counsellor / PhD Student
Institution: University of Liverpool / University of Birmingham
Contact details: The Counselling Service, The University of Liverpool, 14 Oxford Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L69 7WX
Email: areeves@liverpool.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper:

Strand: Medical and Health Issues

"The Hardest Words: Ways in Which Suicidal Ideation is Constructed and Explored in the Counselling Dialogue - a Discourse Analysis"

The increasing rates of suicide amongst various groups have led to the publication of suicide reduction targets and guidelines applicable to all mental health professionals, including counsellors. The importance of mental health workers possessing skills and knowledge in the assessment of suicide risk is now widely expected. This research study utilised a discourse analysis approach to review eighteen counselling transcripts generated from assessment interviews with suicidal 'client-actors'. Suicidal thoughts were found to be generally described by clients in metaphor only. Counsellors' responses to suicidal clients were found to be primarily reflective rather than exploring any level of risk. There was little evidence of a suicide risk assessment being undertaken in the counselling discourse. The implications for suicidal clients, their counsellors and the counselling profession are discussed. The transferability of suicide risk assessment skills into the counselling discourse is additionally considered and areas for further research and practice development identified.

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Gella Richards

Second author: Dr Charles Legg
Professional Role: Chartered Psychologist
Institution: University of Surrey Roehampton
Contact details: University of Roehampton, School of Psychology and Therapeutic Studies, Whitelands College, West Hill, London SW15 3SN
Email: G.Richards@roehampton.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Cultural and Gender Issues

Diverse Cultures in Interaction in the Therapy Room: Western-Culture Counsellors' Ability to Engage and Retain Ethnic Minority Clients

This paper evaluates the ability of Western-culture counsellors to engage and retain ethnic minority therapeutic clients of different cultures. The method used was archival data of attendance rates, attrition rates and length of therapy between Black, Asian and White clients. The results did not reveal a significant difference between the samples in term of premature termination of counselling or with regards to length of treatment. Similarly, no significant difference was found in terms of drop-out rates between those Black clients who were ethnically matched with a Black counsellor and those who were not. This challenges psychological and therapeutic literature that argues that ethnic minority clients will not engage with Western style therapeutic services, especially White counsellors who in Britain see the majority of all clients and reflects the reality that there are very few ethnic minority counsellors. The difference in findings in the current study compared to previous research and theoretical material is understood within the context that the therapeutic services available for clients in the current study catered for ethnic minority clients by employing White counsellors who are committed to working with diversity and skilled in cultural responsiveness. It is recommended that further research tries to identify competencies that such counsellors of Western culture have and how they use them to adapt their skills and services to provide appropriate services for ethnic minority clients.

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Maggie Robson

Professional Role: Director of the Centre for Studies in Counselling (CESCO)
Institution: University of Durham
Contact details: CESCO, University of Durham, School of Education, Leazes Road, Durham, DH1 1TA
Email: Maggie.Robson@durham.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Training

'I am Beautiful!' The Power of the Personal Development Group

Introduction

In this paper I will be exploring the purpose of the Personal Development (PD) group within counsellor training and its impact on personal development both within the UK and the Kenyan context. I am a counsellor trainer and educator in the North of England where Personal Development groups form a fundamental part of our training programme. We also teach an MA in Counselling Studies in Kenya and have incorporated Personal Development groups as part of this programme too. I was motivated to explore this topic by witnessing a most moving experience of a fellow member of a PD group who, after nearly two years in a PD group was able to stand up and say 'I am beautiful!'.

Summary of Methods

The paper will examine the history of the place of Personal Development groups on the counsellor training programmes and present examples of learning that is perceived to have occurred. An anonymous questionnaire consisting of 10 open questions was given to two groups of students in order to collect their subjective experiences of being members of a PD group.

Summary of results

The research is in progress but by the time of the conference I will have compared the answers to the ten questions and have drawn conclusions. Initial results indicate that membership of a PD group is a powerful tool in counsellor training for some students. Others seem not to be as effected. I am wondering, tentatively as to whether the stage of the group has an effect upon the value in which it is held.

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Cynthia Rogers

Authors: Ben Davidson, Richard Lakeman and the Online-Supervision.net Research Group

Professional Role: Practitioner and Supervisor
Institution: The Group Analytic Practice
Website: www.online-supervision.net
Email: info@online-supervision.net

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Technology and Therapy - presentation four

Internet Communication and Research in Computer Mediated Clinical Supervision - a Methodology

Introduction:

This research project examines communication processes between clinical supervisors and supervisees who engage in an online supervisory relationship via the Internet. An international team of nine researchers, comprising professionals and academics from a wide range of disciplines, collaborated in developing a long term research study to: explore the experience of computer mediated clinical supervision; establish the extent to which online clinical supervision matches the expectations of supervisees and meet professional standards; describe differences between computer mediated clinical supervision and face-to-face clinical supervision; and evaluate how communication practices are adapted using different computer applications in the process of online clinical supervision.

Method:

This presentation will illustrate: the development of the diverse research team; development of an ethical research proposal via collaboration through listserv communication; development of the project website (www.online-supervision.net); promotion of the research website; participants registering and indicating their suitability for inclusion or exclusion through website submission form (and quality control/training of participants); development of disclaimers and informed consent content; and technological design for matching supervisees within peer groups or and/or matching supervisees with supervisors.

Results:

It is anticipated that from the 80+ mental health professionals who have registered an interest in participating as of January 2003, a significant number will go onto become research subjects, along with other recruits, to form small supervision groups and dyads. A five-phase design encompasses an initial phase of data collection to enable the team to match participants, followed by four follow-up phases at three-month intervals of web based questionnaire completion about their experience of online supervision for analysis. Results of phase one of the research project and subsequent matching of participants and their expectations about the online supervisory relationship are presented as the result of the methodological techniques demonstrated.

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Elizabeth Royle

Professional Role: Senior Welfare Officer
Institution: Greater Manchester Police
Contact details: Greater Manchester Police, Occupational Health and Welfare Unit Training School, Prestwich, Manchester, M25 8JT
Email: ROYLELIZ@aol.com

ABSTRACT: Poster

An Exploration of the Perceptions of Police Firearms Officers to Traumatic Work-Related Incidents and the Relevance, in their Opinion, of Different Support Interventions Offered

Introduction: This phenomenological research grew following media debate over the pressures that UK police firearms officers come under - political, social, cultural and organisational. As Senior Welfare Officer for Greater Manchester Police (GMP), my aim was to consider the most appropriate support for these officers.

Methods: Questionnaires were issued to 115 GMP firearms officers to explore experiences of traumatic events and their use of support services. Six officers participated in semi-structured interviews and results were analysed using grounded theory. The study took place between November 2001 and April 2002. European Community police services were asked about their trauma support systems.

Results: There was a good mix in respondents of rank and length of service, although the response rate (33%) was disappointing. Post-traumatic stress was potentially a great problem for officers, increasingly so with length of service. The research found a discrepancy between the support favoured by police services and those used by the individual. Although officers preferred support to be informal, close at hand and accessible, peer support was an under-used resource. Many officers were unwilling / unable to use peer support. Professional counselling was felt to need a better consideration of the context and cultural processes.

Conclusions: Future research needs to consider how to increase the accessibility of peer support and the impact of cumulative stress in a police context. Having taken into account the findings of this study, GMP is now training operational officers in peer support, trauma awareness and management skills. An educative programme for all officers and a more comprehensive trauma support policy is being developed. This will be carefully monitored and evaluated.

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Kath Sharman and Haleh Moravej

Professional Role: Lead Researchers and (KS) Head of Counselling Services (HM) Director of Trinity4 Health Ltd.
Institution: SE PECT / Trinity4Health Ltd
Contact details KS: The Manor Clinic, 18 Ridgeway Road, Sheffield
Email: kath.sharman@sheffieldse-pct.nhs.uk Contact HM: HalehMoravej@aol.com

ABSTRACT: Workshop.

Strand: Counselling and Obesity

Patient Empowerment: Obesity Management in Primary Care

Obesity is one of the largest and fastest growing public health problems across the world. In the UK, 17% of men and 20% of women are currently obese and over half the adult population are overweight. If this trend continues, more than one quarter of British adults will be overweight by the year 2010. This has serious financial consequences on the health service, with obesity treatment estimated to account for 6-8% of the nation's direct health care costs, possibly in excess of £3.5 billion to the wider economy (National Audit Office Report, 2001). However, it is now well recognised that traditional approaches to weight loss, such as, dieting clubs and medication do not work and there are now suggested psychological links between 'mood and food', with an increase in depression in obese patients.

Method
Research suggests that combined interventions of counselling, nutritional guidance, psycho-education, and strategies to increase physical activity provides the most successful therapy for weight loss and weight maintenance. On this premise, we developed a 26 week programme and recruited 90 patients with a BMI range of 30 - 61. Patients were randomly allocated to 3 intervention groups, which rotated every 8 weeks. Outcomes were measured at the end of each intervention and compared. Focus groups were also facilitated and audio taped after each intervention. Themes emerged using grounded theory.

Project goals of weight loss and weight management

The general goals of the weight management programme in the combined therapy model are:

  • at a minimum, to prevent further weight gain;
  • to reduce body weight by 10% from baseline assessment;
  • to maintain a lower body weight over the long term:
  • to promote healthier lifestyles, including exercise and physical activities;
  • to increase psychological and social well being

Quantitative and Qualitative Methods

Physical measures - Weight, BMI, Peak Flow, Cholesterol, Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI2)

Psychological measures - Clinical Outcome Routine Evaluation (CORE), Hospital and Anxiety Depression Score (HAD), Self Esteem Score (SES)

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Caryl Sibbett

Professional Role: Lecturer
Institution: Graduate School of Education, Queen's University Belfast
Contact details: School of Education, Queen's University Belfast, 69-71 University Street, Belfast BT7 1HL
Email: C.Sibbett@qub.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Client and Counsellor Issues

Transitional Experience: the Interplay Between Art Therapist and Cancer Patient

Introduction: My motivation for this research in progress arose from both my art therapy practice with cancer patients and from my personal experience as a cancer patient engaging in art-making. A key aim is to investigate the individual, social and cultural meanings of clients' experiences of one-to-one and group art therapy in cancer care in diverse therapy settings over a prolonged period of time.

Methods: The research approach taken is ethnographic which embraces auto-ethnography as it features an interplay between the experience of participants and my personal experience. To date, the sample has included 18 participants (15 patients, two cancer counsellors and myself). The participating patients were selected from art therapy clients who I had worked with in multiple sites between 1997 and the present. Multi-modal data collection sources and methods are used, including participant-observation, depth interviews and artwork reviews. In taking the role of researcher/therapist a potential weakness is researcher bias, however steps have been taken to reduce the potential for this.

Results: The anthropological metaphor of 'rites of passage', particularly the transitional or threshold (liminal) phase, seems a useful metaphor for both art therapy and the cancer experience. Liminal aspects feature in both art therapy and cancer, such as: limbo, multivocal symbols, play, the group experience, and temporal and spatial experience. Liminal characteristics of bodily experience in cancer and art therapy are especially important, such as: gender identity, body image, multi-sensory art-making, the corporeality of art and embodied images.

Conclusions: Future issues to be addressed also include the importance of: the bodily dimension in chronic illness experience and in therapy; ethical issues arising in practice and research; the relevance of countertransference and facing one's own death when working with dying patients.

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Liesl Silverstone

Professional Role: Fellow BACP, Trainer/Supervisor
Institution: Person-Centred Art Therapy Centre
Contact details: 17 Cranbourne Gardens, London NW11 OHS
Website: www.person-centred-art-therapy.com

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Evidence and Practice

Art Therapy and the Person-Centred Way: Bringing the Person-Centred Approach to the Therapeutic Use of Art

Introduction: Art therapy is a creative mode to keep us away from cerebral, verbal, judgmental processes and into the here-and-now world of imagination, intuition and inspiration. The paradox applies that by thinking less it is possible to know more. By making visible our images, we can tap into material from the subconscious which is denied to the forefront of our awareness, and gain valuable insights.

The person-centred non-directive approach, based on the belief that the individual is responsible and capable of self-determination, enables the client to discover the message of the image for her/himself, thus gaining self-awareness as well as moving towards a more autonomous way of being. By bringing the person-centred facilitative approach to images expressed in art-form, integration, growth and healing can occur at every level of development.

Liesl Silverstone is the originator of person-centred art therapy and wrote the first book on this approach, Art Therapy the Person-Centred Way. She has many years experience as a tutor, counsellor and art therapist.

Method: The paper is not academic in the general sense, but in the tradition of Carl Rogers, who arrived at his theory of the person-centred approach through his work with clients. I bring evidence from offering an art therapy exercise to a group of eleven people and from working with their ensuing images. I have gained their permission to write about them. The setting was part of a day's workshop in Person-centred Art Therapy and took some two and a half-hours.

Summary: Each participant gained valuable insights from her/his image relevant to their individual development, showing the effectiveness of this approach.

Conclusion: I show that incorporating the non-verbal creative intelligence within the 'talking' therapies of counselling, training and practice, it would greatly enhance the effectiveness of our profession.

Audience participation: by questions and comments after the presentation. I think it is very important for those involved with 'talking' therapies to become more aware of the significance and effectiveness of the non-verbal therapies, of which art therapy is one.

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Peter Slater and Mick McKeown

Professional Role: (PS) Counsellor / Teacher
Institution: Addlington High School, Croydon
Contact details: 34 The Lakes, Larkfield, Aylesford, Kent, ME20 6GF
Email: peter.slater7@btopenworld.com

Professional Role: (MM) Principal Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing
Institution/Affiliation/Workplace: University of Central Lancashire, Preston
Contact details: mmckeown@uclan.ac.uk

Abstract: Paper.

Strand: Children and Young People

Peer Counselling in a Secondary School - Its Effects on Limiting Transitional Anxiety

This report describes a study aimed at providing pilot data regarding the effectiveness of peer counselling in easing the transition between primary and secondary school. The study compared psychosocial outcomes and reported experiences of children in two similar secondary schools in the first year following transition from primary school. The schools themselves differed in the way in which the transitional students were supported, with peer counselling intervention in place in the experimental school and good quality standard procedures in the control school.

Method: The 12 peer counsellors consisted of Year 11 students, who had all been trained extensively in counselling skills. Both schools had sample groups consisting of 12 children who were going through transition from primary to secondary school. The children were broadly matched in terms of socio-economic background, educational achievement and ethnicity. Outcome data, elicited by interview administered questionnaires, including measures of student strengths and difficulties, the general health impact of psychosocial stress and the extent of the individuals social support networks.

Results: The quantitative wing of the study suffers from the small sample, but some trends in the data would suggest further investigation is warranted. This is supported by the subjective experiences of the children as reported in the qualitative wing. The tentative conclusions suggest that there appears to be a more effective social supportive network at the intervention school, of which the peer -counselling programme is an important component.

Conclusions: The qualitative wing of the study contributes to the emerging evidence base for peer counselling, affording insights into the lived experience of school children at this time of transition. The study highlights greatly the need for a therapeutic form of intervention at this time. It also illustrates the growing number of pressures upon children today and the impact of this psycho-socially upon the individual. Evidence gleaned from this study tentatively suggests that a more supportive period of transition could have positive effects on emotional development and on learning and achievement.

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Sophie Smailes

Professional Role: Lecturer/Counsellor
Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Contact details: Dept of Health Care Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University, Elizabeth Gaskell Campus, Hathersage Road, Manchester, M13 0JA Email: S.Smailes@mmu.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Research and Diversity or Cultural & Gender

Intercultural Group Work With Women Who Have Experienced Domestic Violence

The focus of this paper is on group work that formed part of an 11-month research project, funded by the European Social Fund and Manchester Metropolitan University, which modelled, evaluated and identified support for African, African Caribbean, South Asian, Irish and Jewish women who had experienced domestic violence. The project's methodology was qualitative and informed by feminist and action research paradigms. Data was collected via three processes; 12 semi-structured interviews with support services; 25 semi-structured interviews with minoritised women who have experienced domestic violence; and 3 women's support groups. The rationale for the groups was informed by, among other things, the research team's commitment to giving 'something back' and as a method of resourcing women and enabling them to support one another in their transitions to independence.

The models of group work used shifted as the project developed and new challenges were presented and engaged with, but we drew largely on traditions of social group work and feminist group work (Butler & Wintram 1991). There were three groups, the make up of which was largely determined from the women's interviews; a South Asian group, a African/African Caribbean group and the group I co-facilitated, which was women from a number of cultural and racial heritages. The development, nature and process of this third group will be discussed and particular attention will be paid to issues of diversity both in terms of the group process and group membership.

The experience of facilitating the group was enormously rewarding, moving and informative. As co-facilitators we endeavoured to respond to the group process and be as transparent and open as possible both about our research 'intentions' but also in terms of fore-grounding issues of diversity, individuality and shared, and different, experiences.

Butler S & Wintram C (1991) Feminist Groupwork; London:Sage

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Jane Speedy (paper 1)

(Introduction plenary)

Professional Role: Directory of CeNTRAL - the Centre for Narrative and Transformative Learning
Institution: University of Bristol
Contact details: Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol, 8-10 Berkeley Square, Bristol, BS8 1HH
Email: jane.speedy@bristol.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

Strand: Auto-Ethnographical Research

An Introduction to Auto-Ethnographic Research and Its Relevance for Counselling and Psychotherapy Practitioners, Writers, Consumers, Policy-Makers and Evaluators

In November 2002 the eminent narrative analyst and researcher Professor Catherine Riessman described auto-ethnographic research as 'self-indulgent, narcissistic and downright embarrassing'. To present a whole strand of the BACP research conference in this genre then, is nothing if not controversial! In this introduction I hope to clarify just what we might mean by 'autoethnographic' research, how we might differentiate it from reflexive, autobiographical, biographical, life story and/or life history research approaches, (not to mention self-indulgence and narcissism), and why I think it makes a valuable, legitimate, timely and scholarly contribution to the counselling and psychotherapy field.

I shall also outline some of the ways in which this specific strand has been organised to explicitly include a range of completed studies, work in progress, workshops, 'research conversations' and papers. I shall also refer to the collaborative on-line and 'live' planning processes and research conversations that have gone on 'behind the scenes' in order to make this strand possible. I hope to convey the idea that auto-ethnographies (and we are definitely in for several versions of the term during the course of the day) are transparently risky, experimental, incomplete, inconclusive and multiply facetted texts that invite collaboration and co-construction from their 'audience'. I shall invite the audience to participate in the strand as fully as possible and, in particular, shall outline and disseminate some tentative criteria for evaluating these kinds of research, which may support people in forming their own reflections about the presentations that they witness. (These criteria will also be made available to participants coming and going throughout the strand.) I shall also invite people to return at the end of the day to offer overall reflections and suggestions.

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Jane Speedy (paper 2)

(Final Plenary)

Professional Role: Directory of CeNTRAL - the Centre for Narrative and Transformative Learning
Institution: University of Bristol
Contact details: Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol, 8-10 Berkeley Square, Bristol, BS8 1HH
Email: jane.speedy@bristol.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

Strand: Auto-Ethnographical Research

Auto-Ethnography Plenary Session

In this concluding session I shall summarise and offer brief personal reflections on the day's proceedings and reiterate the key points illustrated in the criteria for evaluating auto-ethnographic research that were being disseminated/discussed throughout the day. I shall also draw the attention of the audience to some of the guidelines for 'outsider witness groups' that have emerged from narrative therapy practice, which they may find helpful in formulating reflections on the presentations that they have witnessed. I shall then invite participants and contributors alike to share these reflections and to speculate about the ways in which they might wish (or not) to continue this co-constructive research conversation by contributing written reflections to the publication (an edited book) that we anticipate will emerge from this conference strand.

The session will end with concluding remarks about the practical ways in which auto-ethnographic research studies might contribute to the growing body of knowledge about counselling and psychotherapy practice and, in particular, about the ways in which auto-ethnography might contribute towards a shift in the 'balance of power' within counselling and psychotherapy research, away from professional research, towards practitioner / client co-research and, perhaps more innovatively, towards client re-search

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Jane Speedy and Yishai Shalif

Professional Role: (JS) Directory of CeNTRAL - the Centre for Narrative and Transformative Learning
Institution: University of Bristol
Contact details: Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol, 8-10 Berkeley Square, Bristol, BS8 1HH
Email: jane.speedy@bristol.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Workshop:

Strand: Auto-Ethnographical Research

'Did You Hear the One About the Charady/Orthodox/Israeli/Jewish Man and the Lesbian/ Feminist/Atheist Mother?': a Re-Search Conversation Across Cultures

The conversation that shaped these 'distilled extracts' has been taking place between Yishai Shalif, an orthodox Jewish man and Jane Speedy, a lesbian mother, over the last three years. They continue to work together, as narrative therapists, in an international-online consultative team. This conversation began in Adelaide at an international conference, at which Yishai's strongly held views about gay and lesbian parenting emerged and troubled certain participants. Jane took part in a 'collective conversation' with Yishai, at that conference. They then continued the conversation as part of the work of their online team. This workshop will commence with a 'live' re-telling of some of these conversations from Jane and Yishai, followed by

  • An opportunity for 'outsider witnesses' to reflect on the conversation and :
  • Further reflections and re-tellings from Yishai and Jane (who have not resolved their differences, nor do they want to, or intend to. Indeed, there have been times when they have both wondered where this was all going and have not only doubted, but even mislaid their purposes in continuing with these conversations. Nonetheless they are presenting this conversation, partly as testament to an extraordinary friendship, but also to put some of the ongoing story and shifts in understanding that have taken place for them both, out into the public domain.)

In conclusion, the audience will be invited to reflect both on the impact of the conversation, and on the process and structure of this workshop as a 're-search' method. It is hope that this presentation will demonstrate some of the ideas and practices of narrative therapy and their 're-search' potential for supporting conversations across cultures and creating 'multi storied spaces' rather than 'solutions' to difficulties. These kinds of conversations may have a lot to offer the world in these uncertain and troubled times.

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Shelia Spong

Professional Role: Senior Lecturer in Counselling
Institution: University of Wales College Newport
Contact details: School of Social Studies, UWCN, PO Box 180, Newport, NP20 5XR
Email: sheila.spong@newport.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Client and Counsellor Issues

Social Power and the Cognitive-Behavioural Tradition: Counsellors Talking About the Social Context of Counselling

Introduction:

This is a preliminary study addressing the interface of the individual psyche and the social context, as expressed by counsellors as they talk about their work. It arises from my interest in the political positioning of cognitive therapy, in particular stimulated by the notion of therapy as a self -regulatory mechanism. I was curious to see how counsellors influenced by the cognitive behavioural paradigm manage issues of social power in their discourse.

Methods:

Interviews were conducted in 2002/3 with five counsellors who identified themselves as cognitive therapists, rational emotive therapists, or counsellors whose practice is influenced by cognitive behavioural therapy. In the interviews the respondents were encouraged to talk about their understanding of counselling, the problems clients brought and the roots of these, and any connection they saw between the political/social world and their counselling.

Results:

The interviews are analysed to identify how the counsellors discussed social power in relation to their counselling, using the concept of interpretative repertoires (Gilbert & Mulkay 1984). In the tradition of discourse analysis, particular attention is paid to variation within the respondents' accounts, allowing a richness of perspectives to surface.

Conclusions:

This research begins to unfold the complexity of ways in which counsellors working within the cognitive therapy paradigm, or influenced by it, relate their counselling to the power relationships of the external world. It addresses contradictions within practice and theory, and relates the respondents' constructions of social power in counselling to some proposed indicators of power-sensitised counselling.

Reference:

Gilbert GN, Mulkay M. 1984. Opening Pandora's Box: a sociological analysis of scientists' discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

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Helen Street (paper 1)

Second Author: Neil Porter

Professional Role: Lecturer in Psychology
Institution: University of Western Australia
Contact details: School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, QE11 Medical Centre, Nedlands WA 6907, Australia
Email: hstreet@cyllene.uwa.edu.au

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Client and Counsellor Issues

Understanding Goal Setting and Depression in Cancer Patients

Introduction: Depression has been found to decrease the quality of life experienced by the cancer patient, and, affect ongoing prognosis. However, depression need not be an inevitable consequence of cancer diagnosis. This study aims to explore social cognitive factors concerned with the setting and pursuit of important life goals, which may create either a vulnerability to depression or increased well-being in cancer patients.

Method: The study employs a quantitative questionnaire design in order to investigate relationships between goal setting, goal pursuit and depression, across a broad spectrum of cancer patients. 204 cancer patients have been selected from the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, Western Australia. Participants completed a thirty-minute questionnaire in the presence of an experienced researcher. The questionnaires contain measures concerning the patient's experience of illness, diagnosis and treatment. They also explores patient's perceptions of their most important life goals, their motivation to pursue and achieve these goals and their levels of experienced rumination and depression. Initial data analyses suggest that the goal setting style of participants is significantly correlated with their levels of depression and wellbeing. Participants who believe that happiness is an end state conditional upon the achievement of personal important goals are more likely to be depressed than those that believe they can be happy without goal achievement.

Conclusion: Results from the study suggest that individual approaches to goal setting influence levels of both depression and well-being during the course of a serious illness. It is suggested that depression in cancer patients can be reduced through intervention focusing on alternative methods of individual goal setting and pursuit.

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Helen Street (paper 2)

Other Authors: Professor Kevin Durkin and Paula Nathan

Professional Role: Lecturer in Psychology
Institution: University of Western Australia
Contact details: School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, QE11 Medical Centre, Nedlands WA 6907, Australia
Email: hstreet@cyllene.uwa.edu.au

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Children and Young People

Childhood Conceptions of Happiness and Vulnerability to Depression

Introduction: This research aims to improve knowledge and understanding of the aetiology and maintenance of childhood depression. It consists of a quantitative investigation of the relationships between children's conceptions of happiness and wellbeing, their experience of depression and their motivations controlling life goals. The study offers increased knowledge and understanding of the relationship between childhood depression and conceptions of wellbeing.

Methods: A longitudinal questionnaire design was used after preliminary information had been gathered in focus groups. 402 children aged between 9 and 12 years participated in the study. Children were all volunteers from eleven public primary schools across Perth, WA. Schools covered a range of socio-economic areas.

Results: Quantitative analyses were used to identify causal relationships between variables. Results suggest that children who conceptualise happiness and wellbeing as an outcome conditional on the achievement of specific life goals are significantly more vulnerable to depression than whose who conceptualise happiness as a process stemming from enjoyable goal pursuit. Children with unhealthy conceptions of happiness as an outcome are more motivated to set goals in order to gain wealth, fame or beauty. Children with healthier conceptions of happiness tend to set goals concerned with personal development and to believe these goals will be enjoyable to pursue, irrespective of outcome.

Conclusions: It is suggested that unhealthy conceptions of happiness as an outcome dependent upon the acquisition of wealth, fame and beauty are contributing to increasing levels of childhood depression in western society. Misconceptions of happiness as an outcome, rather than a process, lead to unhealthy motivations controlling goal setting and pursuit and a tendency to increasing levels of rumination and depression. It is believed that future research and practice needs to address childhood conceptions of happiness and wellbeing to help reduce the prevalence of depression in young people.

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Noreen Tehrani

Professional Role: Chartered Occupational and Counselling Psychologist
Institution: Employee Support Training and Development (ESTD)
Contact details: 12 Baronsfield Road, Twickenham, Middlesex, TW1 2QU
Email: ntehrani@btinternet.com

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Evidence and Practice

Healing The Wounds of The Mind

The growing incidence of terror attacks, child abduction, murder and other disasters has led individuals, families and communities to become traumatised not only by the actual events that they experience but also by the possibility of a traumatic event happening to them. Seeing the pictures of terror, hearing the accounts of the victims has caused people to identify with the incident and become traumatised by their own imagination. People in Washington were afraid to leave their homes for the fear of being shot. Children are not allowed out to play for fear of coming to harm. People have cancelled holidays for the fear of terrorist attacks. The relationship between post trauma symptoms and the media coverage was established in research undertaken after 9/11 terrorist attack (Schuster, 2002). The study found that over 10% of people who had spent ten hours or more watching news coverage of the disaster were suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder five to eight weeks after the attack.

Whilst the capture of the snipers in Washington has helped many people to get back to normal, for others this will not be the case. These victims of "traumatised imagination" may need to undergo psychological debriefing and trauma therapy to help them recover from their psychological responses to an exposure to media images of death and suffering. Perhaps the greatest victim of the current terrorism is the death of innocence and belief in the world as a safe place.

This paper will look at the impact of terrorism on the minds of people not directly involved and using data from case work will show how widespread the incidence of secondary traumatisation has become.

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Billie Walker-Schmucker

Professional Role: Therapist
Institution: Private Practice
Contact details: PO Box 15916, Sarasota, Fl 34277-1916, USA
Email: angeldoc@comcast.net

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Technology and Therapy

A Systematic Investigation and Analysis of Online Case Material

Introduction

The phenomena of online experience and therapeutic relationships continue to be a central focus of the Clinical Case Study Group, sponsored by the International Society for Mental Health Online. As practitioners and clients become more comfortable with, and knowledgeable about, online relationships and the many available options for synchronous and asynchronous communication, there has also been a blossoming of "non-traditional" approaches which have, under the microscope of peer group study, been demonstrated to have remarkable "therapeutic" potential in ways that have not been widely recognized or understood.

Method

Through systematic investigation of case material, the Case Study Group, including the presenter, looked at cases and analyzed the myths and realities of online work. The advantages and disadvantages of the medium of online communication were examined and described. Over the past four years, the Case Study Group (CSG) explored some of the many ways in which online mental health professionals engage in clinical online practice, either as the primary treatment modality or in combination with traditional face-to-face (f2f) office practice.

Results
Through this paper, we illuminate the potential for online clinical work, and share our evolving understanding of what is truly possible, despite the prevalent myths and realities which shape our thinking about online "therapy" and the nature of Internet-facilitated communication and behaviour.

Conclusions

Clearly there does need to be thoughtful consideration about professional, ethical practice, with particular concern about risk management for particular types of client situations within Internet-facilitated mental health services. Our direct experience among a group of diversely trained mental health professionals, all with experience offline as well as online, suggests that there is even more potential than we had imagined for creative and therapeutic uses of Internet-facilitated communication. Moreover, the entire group acknowledges that what we have observed through the case presentations, and shared through a peer-supervision model, has convincingly demonstrated that some things we may not have thought possible clearly are.

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William West

Professional Role: Senior Lecturer in Counselling Studies
Institution: University of Manchester
Contact details: ESI, Faculty of Education, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL
Email: William.west@man.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Cultural and Gender Issues

The Researcher's Cultural Identity in Qualitative Counselling Research

Aim: To explore how the culture of the 5 researchers interacted with the data from a qualitative study into counselling and spirituality.

Method:

5 of interview transcripts were randomly selected from 18 interviews with counsellors or psychotherapists who were also members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) who were dialogued about how their faith impacts on their therapeutic practice. The findings of this original qualitative heuristic study were presented at the BACP Research Conference in 1998 and subsequently published (West, 1998). The researcher was white, British, male, a counsellor and a Quaker. These 5 interview transcripts were then given in turn to 4 other researchers: a Malaysian, male, Islamic, and a counsellor; a white American female Baptist; a white American born UK resident atheist; and a Greek spiritual but non aligned. These interviews were analysed thematically by each researcher and a commentary was written all without accessing the original analysis and published paper.

Findings and conclusions:

The five analyses will be briefly presented and compared, the commentaries explored and the implications for research will be considered including the role of the researcher, and the cultural implications.

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Sue Wheeler

Institution: University of Leicester
Email: sw103@le.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Workshop.

Strand: Evidence and Practice

Taking Counselling Forward: Developing an Evidence Base - Thinking About a PhD

This workshop is designed to help budding counselling researchers to concentrate their efforts in developing the research base for the future of the profession through systematic study that will lead to a PhD or similar. The workshop will offer information about the types of PhD or other professional doctorates that may be available to them. It will provide information about skills, time commitment, finance and future career development opportunities. Other academic counsellors present at the research conference who are involved was offering PhD's or professional doctorates will be invited to make a short presentation to the workshop.

As an experiential exercise participants will be invited to think creatively about their potential as researchers and about ideas they might pursue in further research. Hopes and fears about the research process and studying for a higher degree will be addressed.

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Tina Williams

Professional Role: Head of Counselling Service
Institution: University of Leicester
Contact details: University of Leicester Counselling Service, Freemens Common, 161 Welford Road, Leicester, LE2 6BF
Email: tkw@le.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Medical and Health Issues

Researching the Relational Impact of Terminal Illness

This presentation is based on research I carried out while studying for a Masters Degree in Integrative Psychotherapy.

At the time I was working within a Hospice as a therapist and wanted to have a greater understanding of how significant relationships are affected by the process of terminal illness ,increasing my understanding of the lived experience of the event for the people most closely involved in the hope of developing and strengthening my therapeutic work.

It was a small research project with only five participants. One patient was interviewed and four carers. The qualitative phenomenological methodology used is appropriate for such small numbers. The data collected from each individual experience is central to the purpose of the phenomenological approach which has been described as being, 'the rationale behind efforts to understand individuals by entering their field of perception in order to see life as these individuals see it. '(Bryun 1966 quoted in Rieman 1986 p275). This methodology also reflected my learning on the psychotherapy course and my personal philosophy and practice as a therapist.

The results described a range of coping strategies and a mixture of emotions with a growth in self awareness and of awareness in relationship for those who went through the experience. Participants mentioned conflict but did not focus on it and this is considered in the discussion of the results.

I feel that all of these themes could be usefully explored further in terms of their implications for counselling practice. The research could also be broadened with more participants to look at different philosophical approaches and attachment themes that could also impact on clinical practice.

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Frank Wills

Professional Role: Principal Lecturer in Counselling
Institution: University of Wales College Newport
Contact details: University of Wales College Newport, School of Social Studies, UWCN, PO Box 180, Newport, South Wales, NP20 5XR
Email: Frank.Wills@newport.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Training

Employer Support for Trainees on Advanced Counselling Courses

This study was part of a wider longitudinal study of the experiences of students on advanced counselling courses. 60 students undertaking Masters level study of cognitive behavioural counselling and research skills were surveyed and interviewed on various aspects of their training experience. Questions on the degree of employer support revealed surprisingly low levels of support - especially practical support on help with fees and time off to attend. This was the case even in agencies such as the NHS, who are supposedly interested in fostering CBT.

Interview data, which is still being gathered at the time of writing, indicates that agencies rarely have anything other than very basic concepts regarding what different types of counselling can offer. Quite frequently, however, students see advanced training as a way out of their current agency and admit to pursuing support from their employers quite half-heartedly.

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Jeannie Wright

Professional Role: Senior Lecturer
Institution: University of Derby
Contact details: Unit for Psychotherapeutic Practice and Research, University of Derby, Mickleover, Derby, DE3 5GX
Email: J.K.Wright@derby.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Workshop.

Strand: Auto Ethnographical research

Writing Therapy as an Adjunct to Brief Counselling in the Workplace: Catching Self Exploration on Paper

The aims of this workshop will be:

A) To define writing therapy and to demonstrate how the use of expressive and reflective writing can enhance brief counselling contracts. This process will be illustrated by the work of one former 'client'* who used autobiographical writing as part of a counselling relationship in the workplace.

B) To indicate how, by reflecting on the process of using expressive and autobiographical writing in therapy, a more collaborative relationship between former 'client' and counsellor has emerged - that of co-researchers.

C) To explore the ethical issues that have emerged in that collaborative process.

With full consent from my collaborator and co-researcher, some extracts from our writing, both autobiographical and reflective, will be presented.

Participants will be asked to experiment with writing as a reflective tool.

Participants will also be invited to take part in some discussion about traditional case study approaches and the challenge of presenting case studies in 'writing therapy'.

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Jonathan Wyatt

Professional Role: Counsellor in General Practice and Professional Development Adviser
Institution: Oxfordshire Mental Healthcare NHS Trust and University of Oxford
Contact details: 115 South Avenue, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 1QS
Email: jonathan.wyatt@learning.ox.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper.

Strand: Cultural and Gender Issues

Responding to Clients' Expressions of Religious Faith

This small-scale qualitative study explored how psychodynamic counsellors respond to clients' expressions of religious faith. It was undertaken between September 2000 and May 2001, as part of the researcher's MSc studies. A paper on this research was published recently in 'Counselling and Psychotherapy Research'.

The study was prompted by the author's own clinical experience, in NHS settings, of struggling to know how to respond helpfully to clients who spoke about their faith. Searches discovered that, while there is considerable psychodynamic theory about religious faith, less was known about how counsellors work with faith in the consulting room itself.

An account will be given in this presentation of how the research was conducted from a Heideggerian phenomenological standpoint. This research perspective has been developed, primarily, within the nursing research field. It acknowledges, and seeks to integrate, the researcher's 'horizon'. Five research participants were interviewed and the resulting data analysed using the conceptual analysis suggested by Dey (1993) and the thematic analysis, exemplars and paradigm cases recommended by Benner (1994). The findings from two research participants in particular will be presented and a fusion of horizons offered in conclusion.

The research found that working with faith was a significant aspect of the counselling experience for research participants; that it is an issue that can generate anxiety in the counsellor; and that it is seen both as a potential door of entry and as a defence.

Further research could explore more deeply the experiences of psychodynamic counsellors with faith positions other than Christian, including those who might describe themselves as not having religious faith.

References:

Benner P (ed) (1994) Interpretive Phenomenology. London: Sage.

Dey I (1993) Qualitative Data Analysis. London: Routledge

Wyatt J (2002) "Confronting the Almighty God"? A study of how psychodynamic counsellors respond to clients' expressions of religious faith. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research 2, 3: 177-183

 

 
       
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