British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

   
corner
L
L
L
L
L
L
L
L
L
L
L
L
corner
corner
>
>
>
>
corner
 
corner
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
corner
corner
small fontClick here to return to the default sized textsmall fontClick here to view the page in a medium sized fontsmall fontClick here to view the page in the largest font, this is for use by people with sight disabilities
corner

   
Research Conference 2007  


BACP's 13th Annual Research conference was entitled 'Research matters' and took place on 11-12 May 2007. It was held at York Marriott Hotel, York in association with York St John University.

Click here for an evaluation of this year's conference

Abstracts

 

Friday keynote and special address

Professor Robert Elliott

Professional Role: Professor of Counselling
Institution: University of Strathclyde and also Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Toledo, USA
Contact details: University of Strathclyde, 76 Southbrae Drive, Glasgow, G13 1PP
Email: fac0029@gmail.com

Friday keynote

Practice-based research on the effectiveness of psychotherapy and psychotherapy training: research framework and protocols

In this presentation, Professor Elliott will offer a rationale for practice-based research, conducted in and on counselling and psychotherapy training centres, on the Effectiveness of Psychotherapy and Psychotherapy Training. He will provide a general framework for selecting instruments for evaluating psychotherapy and psychotherapy training across different theoretical orientations, client populations and national/linguistic groups. The framework is divided into eight therapy measurement domains, consisting of four research themes (therapy outcome, therapy process, client predictors, training outcome) and two levels (general/pantheoretical concepts vs treatment/population/nation-specific concepts). This research framework provides recommendations about what to measure, encouraging collaboration across different training sites, while still allowing flexibility for individual centres. Person-centered/experiential psychotherapy is used as an example of the specific component. Three data collection designs are described: minimum designs are appropriate for use in private practice settings with one's own clients; systematic case study designs can be used for carrying out rigorous single case research; and maximal designs are appropriate for well-resourced research centres or consortia.

 

Professor Michael King

Professional Role: Professor of Primary Care Psychiatry
Institution: Royal Free and University College Medical School
Contact details: Royal Free and University College Medical School, Hampstead Campus, Rowland Hill Street, London, NW3 2PF
Email: m.king@medsch.ucl.ac.uk

Friday Special Address

Risk of psychological disorders in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual people and the therapies to address them: evidence from two systematic reviews

Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people appear to be at greater risk than heterosexual people of psychological disorders and suicidal behaviour. There may be many reasons for this, not least of which are the intolerance and discrimination that has always existed towards this group of people. Two systematic reviews will be presented; the first (DH funded) aimed to evaluate the evidence on the extent of psychological problems in gay, lesbian and bisexual people and the second to determine the type and extent of psychotherapy to them. The first review confirmed a 2-4 fold excess of depression, anxiety and suicide attempts in LGB people. Lesbian and bisexual women were particularly at risk of suicidal ideation and substance dependence while lifetime risk of suicide attempt was especially high in gay and bisexual men. In the second (BACP funded) review of the quantitative and qualitative research literature we asked:

1) What is the research evidence on the type and provision of counselling and psychotherapy for LGB and transgender (LGBT) people?
2) What research measures have been applied to assess participation, satisfaction and effectiveness of these interventions?
3) Is there evidence on the effectiveness of counselling and psychotherapy that is specifically affirmative for LGBT people?
4) Can this evidence a) identify implications for policy and practice in this field, and b) inform future priorities for research?

We identified no randomised trials of effectiveness of psychotherapy for LGBT people. Nor did we identify any observational studies assessing outcomes of therapy and counselling for LGBT people. Our qualitative review indicated that therapists' attitudes, knowledge and practice are more important than their sexual orientation; that LGBT clients need to understand (and examine) in the therapy their desire to seek or avoid an LGBT therapist and that therapists need to be aware of the reality and stereotypes of the LGBT world. Despite the poor quality of the research evidence, gay affirmative talking therapies appear to help LGBT people face and counteract the homophobic nature of their early development and receive therapy appropriately focused on issues brought to therapy, rather than their sexual identity.

 

Saturday keynotes 

Professor Anthony Roth

Professional Role: Joint Course Director
Institution: University College London
Contact details: Doctoral Course in Clinical Psychology, Sub-Department of Clinical Health Psychology, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT
Email: a.roth@ucl.ac.uk

Saturday keynote

Can research help improve access to psychological therapy?

For much of its history research into psychotherapy has probably been of more interest to academics and clinicians than to policy makers. This has changed in recent years, and in the current climate research seems to have been recast as a driver for policy developments. This is something of a curate's egg - we can be clear that the government's interest in broadening access to psychological therapies wouldn't have happened without evidence from research. However, it would be a shame if these gains came at the cost of oversimplifying what can be complex issues, or if counsellors and therapists were left feeling disenfranchised. As someone who uses and values research, and sees many interesting avenues for it's application, I will try to present my view on how research can inform practice, and my ideas about how it can help us be more reflective, both about what we do and how well we do it.

 

Professor David Richards

Professional Role: Professor of Mental Health, University of York, UK
Institution: University of York
Contact details: Professor of Mental Health, Department of Health Sciences, Seebohm Rowntree Building, University Road, Hesslington, York, YO10 5DD
Email: dr17@york.ac.uk

Saturday keynote

Stepped care: turning rhetoric into reality

We exist in a paradoxical world where we have abundant evidence on what treatments work to help people recover from common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression and yet treatment is a luxury few experience. In any one year, barely 9% of people with anxiety or depression receive a talking treatment, a mere one tenth of which is likely to be underpinned by rigorous evidence. Efficiency, equity, choice appropriateness and convenience are desirable standards but current systems fail remotely to deliver against any of these criteria. As Wayne Katon, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Washington and a leading thinker in system redesign has said, "it is not a knowledge def cit but a systems deficit" that holds us back.

Clinical guidelines produced by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) have made recommendations about the way in which the treatments should be provided to patients. The underpinning principle amongst these recommendations is that treatments should be ‘stepped'. Stepped care combines two principles, both a change to the way services are designed and a change in what is on offer to patients. There is greater choice of interventions, mainly characterised by low-intensity ‘simpler and less expensive interventions' (NICE, 2004). However, stepped care is not merely adding in a lot of self-help to existing approaches, nor is it a way of managing waiting lists. Stepped care is actually a self-adjusting, high volume system of organising care. It involves standard care pathways as part of a population condition management approach.

Although these principles are established, much remains unknown. For example, there are two ways in which stepped care could be organised. In one model patients are initially allocated to interventions at different steps according to objective measures of their symptoms - a stratified model. Alternatively, all patients apart from certain specified exceptions can be allocated to interventions within early steps and stepped up if no improvement is detected at scheduled review points - a stepped model.

This presentation will examine the arguments for and against stepped care and describe a research programme which is providing much needed intelligence on how we should implement stepped care in the field.



Phyllis Baker

Professional Role: Counsellor
Institution: Cambridgeshire Consultancy in Counselling.
Contact details: 18 Muskham, South Bretton, Peterborough , Cambs. PE3 9XU.
Email: Phyllis.baker2@btinternet.com

ABSTRACT: Paper

Working with a sexual abuser in private practice.

Aim: To discover what personal, professional and moral issues other counselors had experienced when asked to work in private practice with a known sexual abuser.

Purpose: To inform other counsellors working in private practice of the issues which have concerned me, and as a catharsis for the work. I found very little research into counsellor's/workers feelings, except in Erooga et al (1994), whereby they talk about the need for training for people choosing this type opf work. They write, " the impact of working with the problem of sexual abuse can be seen as paralleling the impact of sexual abuse itself"  (p.203).

Method: 22 members of a local counselling agency in Cambridgeshire were sent a questionnaire (18 female, 4 male; all white, aged between 30 & 50) - 15 counsellors responded. The questionnaire had 12 short answer questions about experience of and feelings about working with sexual abusers and counseling models used. Responses were analysed using the Grounded Theory method (Glaser & Strauss1967). Ethical issues of confidentiality, withdrawal of consent, effect of the research on the therapeutic work, and showing the client the finished work were addressed.

Results/Findings: 15 counsellors (out of 22) responded to the questionnaire showing three main issues of concern. Fear, of the client, of personal safety and doing the client harm; judgementalism, effecting empathy and congruence and about the validity of the work due to these feelings.

Research Limitations: This was a small sample of counsellors in a rural area. It was also only based on the authors' experience of working with one client who had been sexually abused.

Originality/Value: Although much has been written about working with sexual abusers for social workers, little appears to have been written about counsellor's feelings generally when faced with these issues.

Conclusions: Work with this type of client is not generally part of main stream counsellor training or experience, some counsellors appear to be afraid of working with such clients and expressed feelings of being judgemental towards them.as well as the inability to be empathic.

Implications: Availability of training for anyone likely to work in this field.

References:

Erooga,M.,Morrison T.,& BeckettR.C. Sexual Offending Against Children Assessment & Treatment of Male Abusers. 1994 Routledge.

Glaser B.,& Strauss A. The Discovery of Grounded Theory, cited in McLeod J. (1998) Doing Counselling Research. Sage Publications.

back to top

Liz Ballinger and George Brooks

Professional Role (LB): Lecturer in Counselling/Course Director MA Part 1 Counselling Studies
Institution: University of Manchester
Contact details: Oxford Rd, Manchester, M13 9PL
Email: Liz.ballinger@manchester.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

The issues facing the contemporary counselling training professional

Aims/Purpose/Approach: Both authors have experience as counselling trainers within Higher Education, Further Education and private settings within Britain. This research stems from their perception of the need for wider dialogue concerning the issues involved in the delivery of counselling training across differing institutional settings within the current political, economic, social and professional climate. This study aims to focus on the views of trainers as to the most significant issues and problems for training and trainers in the context of counselling today and in the future.

Design/Methodology: A small number of counselling trainers have been invited to participate in a focus group in early 2007. The sampling is purposive in that recruitment has been aimed at trainers who identify themselves as having reflected on issues related to the research question. However, invitations to participate have been sent out to trainers working in a range of settings and within differing theoretical orientations. Ethical consent will be sought from all participants.

Results/Findings: The meeting will be taped and a thematic analysis undertaken. Preliminary findings will be ready to present at conference.

Research Limitations: This is only a small-scale preliminary study and will represent the viewpoint of trainers only. It is largely restricted to an English context, although some form of international representation is anticipated.

Originality/Value: A small but important step in opening up debate and dialogue around counselling training, which is an area currently under-researched and reported.

Conclusions/Implications: It is hoped that this study will stimulate further research into this under-explored area.

back to top

Peter Bower

Professional Role: Researcher
Institution: National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, University of Manchester
Contact details: NPCRDC, 5th Floor, Williamson Building, University of Manchester, M13 9PL
Email: peter.bower@manchester.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Systematic Review/Paper

Making sense and making decisions: the role of systematic reviews in counselling and psychotherapy research

Within the paradigm of evidence-based practice, systematic reviews are considered the pinnacle of the so-called ‘hierarchy of evidence' and the gold standard for decision making about the effectiveness of treatments in health and social care.

As with any innovative research method, there was an initial rush of enthusiasm for systematic reviews, followed by a period of reflection on the limitations of the technique, and finally a more considered judgement as to their utility.

The focus placed upon systematic review methodology within the NHS and relevant organisations such as NICE means that the enthusiasts and critics have often taken up polarised positions, which has hampered broader discussion of the role and function of systematic reviews in improving the delivery of health care. The extension of systematic reviews outside health care into decisions about counselling and psychotherapy has only further highlighted these tensions.

This presentation will take a broad view of the systematic review enterprise, drawing on the early work within psychology and psychotherapy which provided a prototype for the modern systematic review. It will also draw a distinction between the methodological aspects of systematic reviews, which are often highlighted, and the philosophical issues and values underlying the technique (such as the need to avoid bias and increase transparency) which are equally important and have more general applicability within research.

Two key functions of systematic reviews will be considered:

  • their role in making sense of a diverse and complex literature, finding patterns in the data and highlighting regularity and inconsistency
  • their place in making decisions about what types of treatments are provided, and identifying key research priorities for the future

The aim of the presentation is to remove some of the mystique associated with systematic reviews, to provide a balanced overview of their advantages and disadvantages, and to highlight how the technique can be used to further the aims of organisations such as BACP and the client groups which they serve.

back to top

Dr Jill Brennan

Professional Role: Counsellor
Institution: Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust
Contact details: Department of Clinical Psychology, North Manchester General Hospital, Central Drive, Crumpsall, Manchester M8 5RB
Email: jill.brennan@nhs.net

ABSTRACT: Workshop

Exploring psychological therapies contexts through stakeholder mapping: a pragmatic approach

This workshop is intended primarily for practitioner case study researchers, although it may be of interest to anyone who wishes to reflect systematically upon a therapy context. It aims to share with participants an imaginal process of exploration and notation of the social context of examples of psychological therapy, through stakeholder mapping processes developed as a means to conceptualise context in two unpublished pragmatic case studies. Participants are encouraged to bring and work through an example of a therapy context familiar to them.

The mapping exercise will be illustrated from the above-mentioned study settings in the NHS and voluntary sector. It is hoped that this exercise will stimulate discussion, e.g. of the influence of stakeholder communities on research and practice, and of the use of stakeholder matrices as an (as yet crude) preliminary conceptual tool. Discussion may be recorded and summarised in the workshop report to be submitted for publication.

The workshop will include:

  • A brief introduction to stakeholder theory
  • An analysis of who the stakeholders are in an act of psychological therapy?
  • Identifying and mapping immediate stakeholders, along with ‘stakeholders in stakeholders', interest communities, rhetoric, values and goals
  • Locating research in relation to stakeholder interests
  • And translating the above into research.

References:
Fishman, D. (1999). The case for pragmatic psychology. New York/London: New York University Press

Stoney, C. and Winstanley, D. (2001). Stakeholding: confusion or utopia? Mapping the conceptual terrain. Journal of Management Studies 38:5, 603-626

back to top

Nell Bridges

Professional Role: PhD student at University of Bristol
Institution: University of Bristol
Contact details: 43 St Mary's Street, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, WV16 4DR
Email: nell.bridges@bristol.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Workshop

Developing artful writing practices to support reflexive research

Researchers are no longer assumed to be neutral in the research process and so reflexive practices are increasingly adopted to explore the nature of our connection to our research and that of others. As Bochner and Ellis (2003: 508)* put it, there is a "... deep and abiding connection between one's own life history and one's research and writing".

In BACP many of us are accustomed to using reflexivity to support our practice, often including journal writing, case notes and reflections on key experiences to support this process. These familiar techniques are then used to assist in our research and scholarship. In my own research they had limited success, giving restricted views of my experiences and keeping me distanced from many aspects of my research that pertained to my life history.

Postmodern challenges to binary divisions such as between art and science or therapy and research encouraged me to engage with 'artful' ways of writing. Advice to 'show not tell' provoked me to write from within embodied memories and then to vividly connect my lived experience to my research material. In this way my research became personally transformative as well as more critical. And forms of re-presentation became more evocative and innovative.

In this workshop I will briefly reflect on this research process before providing a supportive and playful arena where you can join in a series of short creative exercises, including a little ‘artful' writing. These will focus on the points of intersection between our lives, our identities and our research interests. There will be short periods for reflection and discussion as well as opportunity, but no expectation, to share your experiences and your writing with others.

The workshop will be useful for anyone who has an interest in reflexive research, arts-based research and/or developing their creative writing. To prepare simply have a piece of research that interests you in mind. This does not have to be your own research.

References:

Bochner, A. and C. Ellis 2003: An Introduction to the Arts and Narrative Research: Art as Inquiry. Qualitative Inquiry 9: 506-514.

back to top

Chris Brown and Juanita Harriot

Professional Roles: Counsellors / Supervisors / Counselling Trainers
Institution: Lewisham College
Contact details: c/o Chris Brown B215, Lewisham College, Lewisham Way, London SE4 1UT
Email: christine.brown@lewisham.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Workshop

Exploring the delivery of experiential diversity training during the counsellor training process

Please note: this workshop will be recorded; you will be asked to sign your consent if attending.

Workshop rationale and its context to the wider research agenda: In relation to Research Matters it is vital, in our increasingly diverse society, for counsellors to have developed their reflexive abilities. This becomes urgent when counsellors' are assessing their effectiveness in working psychotherapeutically with diversity. It is also crucial for counsellors to be able to understand the impact racism and oppression has on individuals and groups within our society; and to have developed the capacity to ‘stay with' the profound level of distress often expressed by those who have experienced racism and/or oppression all their lives. We aim to share our experiential approach to diversity training; developed over the past ten years. Additionally, we will explore the common blocks to empathy which manifest for our students during diversity training; blocks which can also occur during the psychotherapeutic process when counsellors are working across race or culture.

Who the Workshop is for? It is primarily for those practitioners who are counsellor trainers, although it will be of great interest to anyone who wishes to reflect on their ability to work effectively with diversity. It will also be of interest to anyone aiming to enhance their ability to work across race or culture.

The workshop will include:

  • An introduction to the content and rationale underpinning our diversity training.
  • The content of and the rationale underpinning our Experiential Oppression Lecture.
  • The content of and rationale underpinning our work with students in self-defined racial sub-groups.
  • The common blocks to empathy which arise when working with diversity and the negative impact these blocks have on the psychotherapeutic alliance.
  • A brief overview of our students' reflexive research narratives.

A formal presentation of the above issues will be made, followed by questions from the floor, discussion and debate. Discussion may be recorded and summarised in a workshop report and used as research evidence in the Doctorial Project currently being undertaken by Chris Brown, entitled ‘White Consciousness'.

back to top

Professor Julia Buckroyd (Workshop 1)

Professional Role: Editor CPR
Institution: BACP
Contact details: BACP, 15 St John's Business Park, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, LE17 4HB
Email: J.Buckroyd@herts.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Workshop

Learning how to review a paper

The process of peer reviewing (evaluation of academic papers by colleagues) is a very well established method of evaluating and improving research papers within academic and professional communities. Within counselling and psychotherapy research it has only been adopted fairly recently.

BACP's research journal , CPR, is sent a large and growing number of papers every year, most of which need to be peer reviewed by at least two people. The Editorial Board would like to use the opportunity that this offers to develop reviewers within the counselling research community.

This workshop will describe the process of peer-reviewing a paper and take participants through the template for a review used by CPR. This process will be applied to a range of papers to demonstrate how it works.

Those participants who then wish to be invited to review for CPR will be asked to provide details of their research experience and the methodological and subject specialisms on which they feel competent to review papers. New reviewers recruited in this way will be given the opportunity for further development when they are asked to review and may wish to develop their expertise by reviewing for other journals as well.

Peer reviewing is likely to be useful for career development for those counsellors working in academic settings, but is in any case valuable for keeping researchers abreast of new work in their field.

back to top

Professor Julia Buckroyd (Workshop 2)

Professional Role: Editor Counselling and Psychotherapy Research (CPR)
Institution: BACP
Contact details: BACP House, 15 St John's Business Park, Lutterworth, LE17 4HB
Email: J.Buckroyd@herts.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Workshop

The layout and appearance of Counselling and Psychotherapy Research

The editor and editorial board of Counselling and Psychotherapy Research (CPR) are committed to developing the journal in such a way that it maximises the accessibility of counselling research to BACPs practitioner readership. In order to give readers a voice in this process we would like to hold one or more focus groups to allow readers to discuss the lay-out and appearance of the journal. Those who have only recently begun reading the journal are particularly welcome as are those who have stopped reading the journal or, perhaps, never really started.

The workshop will consist of one or more focus groups to elicit reader opinion on the layout and format of CPR. The editor and editorial board believe that the appearance of the journal is critical in attracting the readership and would like to understand the issues from the reader's point of view.

Focus groups of up to 8 people, facilitated by a member of the editorial board will be held to give readers the opportunity to explore these issues and to discuss their views. Suggested amendments to the lay-out and appearance will be considered by the editorial board on the basis of these discussions. Interested readers are invited to bring copies of the journal with them to assist the discussion.

back to top

Professor Julia Buckroyd (Paper 1)

Professional Role: Director, Obesity and Eating Disorders Research Unit
Institution: University of Hertfordshire
Contact details: College Lane, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9AB
Email: J.Buckroyd@herts.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

How was it for you? Work on the early stages of a systematic review of qualitative studies into client experiences of psychotherapy for eating disorders

Aims/Purpose/Approach: The review aims to synthesise the qualitative research in relation to client experiences of counselling and psychotherapy for eating disorders with a view to assessing which aspects of treatment are perceived by clients as most facilitating of the recovery process. Future research directions will be suggested as well as implications for training counsellors in this field.

Design/Methodology: Database searches, grey literature searches and hand searches will form the main elements of a comprehensive search strategy. The paper will describe ways of assessing the methodological quality of qualitative studies; the development of inclusion and exclusion criteria; and the planned methods of analysis and synthesis.

Results/Findings: The outcomes of focus groups conducted with practitioners and clients will be reported. The process of developing a research protocol will also be reviewed. On completion of the project, the results will map the qualitative literature on client experiences of counselling and psychotherapy for eating disorders.

Research Limitations: The risk of divorcing qualitative data from its context is acknowledged.

Originality/Value: The paper will help to balance the weight of quantitative reviews in this field which have been influential to policy makers but of less utility to psychotherapeutic practitioners. Many studies have focussed on disordered behaviours and diagnostic scores. It is also hoped that this review can advance a deeper understanding of sufferers' experience of the treatment process.

Conclusions/Implications: At this stage of the process conclusions and implications can only be conjectured.

References:
Bell, L. What can we learn from consumer studies and qualitative research in the treatment of eating disorders? (2003) Eating and Weight Disorders, 8, 181-187

Britten, N., Campbell, R., Pope, C., Donovan, J., Morgan, M. & Pill, R. (2002) Using meta ethnography to synthesis qualitative research: a worked example. Journal of Health Service Research Policy 7(4), 209-215

back to top

Professor Julia Buckroyd (Paper 2)

Professional Role: Director, Obesity and Eating Disorders Research Unit
Institution: University of Hertfordshire
Contact details: College Lane, Hatfield, Herts. AL10 9AB
Email: J.Buckroyd@herts.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

Recruitment to a group psychological intervention for obese women:
referral or self-referral?

Aim: Our aim was to investigate whether groups, offering obese women a psychological intervention, recruited by self-referral, had better retention than those recruited by referral by health professionals.

Methodology: The study was a comparative survey. We recruited 55 obese women via referral from health professionals and a further 24 by self-referral. All participants were given the same information and the same initial interview with the same researcher. All groups were given the same intervention and were led by group leaders who had had the same training. Attendance at the group was monitored for the 36 week programme.

Results: Of the 55 women referred for treatment, 8 failed to attend for the first session compared to 0 out of 24 self-referred participants. Referred group members were more than twice as likely as self-referred members to drop out in the first 12 weeks of treatment. Of the 47 referred members who started the treatment, 20 dropped out vs 6 out 24 in the self-referred group (odds ratio 1.7).

Research Limitations: The numbers involved in this study are small and may only be suggestive. However, there is very little data on this issue and, what there is, is contradictory. In further research it will be important to identify group members' own reasons for non-attendance or drop-out. Further research should also attempt to identify whether referred and self-referred participants came from different socio-economic groups.

Value: Research in this area is scarce and contradictory (Loneck et al 1996, Alexander 1998) yet retention of group members is known to be a problem for eating disorder groups. (McKisack and Waller, 1997) Obesity treatments which adopt a psychological intervention will include people suffering from diagnosable binge eating disorder as well as those with disordered eating. Using a self-referral strategy may improve retention for this group of clients.

Conclusions: It seems that self-referral is a more successful way of retaining participants in a group of this kind. This data may be useful to researchers recruiting participants for other group counselling interventions.

References available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

Lorna Carrick

Professional Role: Lecturer
Institution: Counselling Unit, University of Strathclyde
Contact details: Counselling Unit, 76 Southbrae Drive Glasgow, G13 1PP
Email: lorna.carrick@strath.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

Person-centred therapists experiences of working with clients in crisis

Aims/Purpose/Approach: The aim of this study was to explore therapist's experiences of working with clients in crisis. A client in crisis was defined as someone in ‘an acute state wherein one's usual coping mechanisms have failed in the face of perceived challenge or threat and there result some degree of functional impairment.' The study examines how therapists conceptualise this work and the key themes and issues which arise. Specifically the research explores how person-centred therapists experience interaction with clients at the pivotal point of crisis and the qualitative differences experienced compared with non-crisis clients.

Design/Methodology: Ethical approval was received from the University of Strathclyde Ethics Committee. Participants were experienced person-centred therapists. The study was conducted using person-centred and phenomenological methodology. Data was collected using qualitative, semi-structured interviews. Interviews were transcribed, analysed thematically and checked by participants.

Results/Findings: All participants identified a range of differences in their experiences of working with clients in crisis. Common themes were: a sense of polarity in their experiences such as the sense of both danger and opportunity; changes in energy levels within the therapist: feeling heightened levels of engagement; a sense of ‘holding' the client: differences in the pace of the work and experiences of reaching ‘relational depth' earlier. Therapists experienced their clients as: vulnerable; unable to access previous coping mechanisms; in a state of breakdown and disintegration; however also as wide open; having dropped their usual defences and more available to engage in therapy and the process of change and potential post crisis growth.

Research Limitations: The study focuses on a narrow range of participants. This preliminary study does not answer questions about the client's experiences.

Originality/Value: There is virtually no literature in relation to person-centred therapy with clients in crisis. The study raises a wide range of questions for future research.

Conclusions/Implications: This study has found that therapists do experience differential responses in their work with clients in crisis. There are potentially implications for counsellor training, support and the ‘developmental agenda' of the counsellor in relation to this work.

back to top

Professor Mick Cooper

Professional Role: Professor of Counselling
Institution: University of Strathclyde
Contact details: Counselling Unit, University of Strathclyde, 76 Soutbrae Drive, Glasgow, G13 1PP
Email: mick.cooper@strath.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

The effectiveness of counselling in schools: key findings from the evaluation of the second phase of the ‘Glasgow Counselling in Schools Project'

Aims/Purpose/Approach: This paper presents the latest findings from the on-going evaluation of Counselling in Schools in Glasgow, including new findings on the impact of counselling on young people's capacities to study and learn.

Design/Methodology: Around 300 young people attended the counselling service at 10 Glasgow Secondary Schools over the 2005-6 academic year. The service was evaluated using a pluralistic design. This included pre- and post-counselling measures of mental health (YP-CORE); post-counselling questionnaires; pastoral care staff questionnaires; interviews with clients, pastoral care staff and multi-agency professionals and a review of related research. Ethical approval was received from the University of Strathclyde. Approximately 80 percent of all clients responded to the self-report measures.

Results/Findings: Key findings include:
1. Counselling was associated with significant improvements in psychological wellbeing
2. Counselling had a positive impact on many pupils' capacities to study and learn
3. The counselling service was seen by pastoral care staff and multi-agency professionals as a highly valuable addition to the schools' pastoral care provisions
4. Key areas for improvement included establishing clearer protocols re. confidentiality

Research Limitations: No control group was used, such that it is not possible to infer that the improvements in mental health were specifically due to counselling.

Originality/Value: This study extends one of the most rigorous and comprehensive evaluations of counselling in schools services in the UK. It is also the first UK-based study to evaluate the impact of counselling on young people's capacities to study and learn.

Conclusions/Implications: The evaluation provides strong evidence for the value of counselling in schools' services, demonstrating that it both helps children and young people's psychological wellbeing and their capacity to study and learn. Such evidence may be of critical importance when attempting to convey to funding and educational bodies the value of such a service.

For copies of the full report, please go to www.strathclydecounselling.com

back to top

Jeannette Cronin

Professional Role: Staff Support Counsellor
Institution: South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust
Contact details: Occupational Health, Friarage Hospital, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL6 1JG
Email: jeannette.cronin1@btinternet.com

ABSTRACT: Poster

Out of the counselling into the unknown: a qualitative study into the clients' experience after they have left the therapeutic environment.

Aims/Purpose/Approach: The paucity of literature and research into the clients' experience after they have left the therapeutic environment prompted this study, which aims to establish what emotions and changes clients experience in the hours/days after their counselling session.

Design/Methodology: A small scale qualitative study into the clients' experience was carried out using a self-completion questionnaire containing five open-ended questions. The areas addressed by the study were the clients' feelings, thoughts, physical symptoms and behavioural change. A total of fifteen anonymous questionnaires were returned by clients of the researcher, and those of her counsellor colleagues, at the completion of their counselling sessions.

Results/Findings: The data was presented in a narrative format using the respondents' own words in a series of quotations.
Clients experience a range of thoughts, feelings, physical symptoms and behaviour change, which encompass frustration, anger, nightmares, sadness, depression, relief and exhaustion.

Research Limitations: Time did not allow a parallel study to ask practitioners what they thought clients experienced after the counselling session was over. Running the two studies together could have added a new dimension by revealing the proportion of counsellors who already have an understanding of this client phenomenon compared with those who do not.

Originality/Value: Over the years research has primarily been undertaken to study the clients' perspective of counselling. However, the clients' voice in research seems to be lost when the practitioners carrying out the research evaluate the meaning of this experience themselves and decide how the client is heard. This study has helped me gain a greater awareness of the turmoil clients can go through after counselling.

Conclusions/Implications: Clients experience a range of intense emotions and sometimes profound experiences, following therapy. Do counsellors need to bring this to the awareness of our clients sooner? Would it be more appropriate to discuss it at the contracting stage rather than at the end of the session? Clients whose experience has been so painful that they don't return might be helped by this initial open discussion, or would they?

back to top

Jennifer R Curry, Doctoral Candidate

Professional Role: Doctoral Student, Research Assistant
Institution: University of Central Florida
Contact details: 11428 Wagon Rd, Apartment #C, Orlando, FL 32826
Email: je005421@pegasus.cc.ucf.edu

ABSTRACT: Poster

The relationship between counselor self-efficacy and counselor wellness for graduate counseling students

Aims/Purpose/Approach: The aim of this project was to explore the relationship between counselor wellness and counselor self-efficacy, a relationship that is suggested in literature. Both self-efficacy and wellness are believed to mitigate stress, burnout, compassion fatigue; and to increase self and professional advocacy. Therefore, if there is a relationship between the two constructs then infusing and promoting both in counselor education curriculum may bolster resiliency for students entering the counseling profession.

Design/Methodology: University Institutional Review Board was obtained and the student investigator also participated in human subjects research certificate training. There were 88 participants which were taken from a purposive sample of Intern level counseling graduate students. All of the participants took the Counseling Self-Efficacy Scale (CSES) and Five Factor Wellness Evaluation of Lifestyle (5F-WEL). Statistical design was a hierarchical multiple regression analysis. Demographic data and counseling tack (mental health/school) were also collected.

Results/Findings: While there was no statistically significant relationship between the two constructs, there was significance regarding the level of counseling self-efficacy. The results also gave clear implications regarding the limitations of the study design which has fostered changes in program evaluation procedures.

Research Limitations: Small sample size, students were at one institution, internal validity concerns, multicollinearity, CSES has limitations for psychometric properties.

Originality/Value: Although the link between self-efficacy and wellness were suggested by Adler, Bandura, Hattie, Myers and Sweeney, there is no study quantifying this relationship. With growing concerns about counselor burnout, impairment, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and role ambiguity, it is necessary to foster resilience and wellness in students in order to reduce field based attrition. This research is meant to give counselor educators evidence for the relationship and to prompt curricular training changes.

Conclusions/Implications: Implications for counselor educators include the infusion of best practices that promote self-efficacy and wellness. Suggestions will be given for instructional modalities, wellness planning and implementation as a focus within the program paradigm, and specific curriculum strategies to foster both constructs. Further research implications include the relationship between wellness, self-efficacy, and field based attrition, counseling impairment, and career satisfaction.

References available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

Ann Dalzell

Professional Role: PhD Student
Institution: University of Bristol
Contact details: University of Bristol, 35 Berkeley Square, Bristol, BS8 1JA
Email: ann.dalzell@bristol.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

"I can just imagine someone calling me Daddy" - the narratives of men without children

Aims: This research aims to capture the unheard stories of men who express a desire to be a father but who are childless because something has disrupted, rather than prevented, the choice of fatherhood being realised.

Methodology: Narrative inquiry is used with four men whose pathway to fatherhood has been interrupted for differing reasons. Each man engaged in two one-hour research conversations around his experiences of childlessness.

Findings: This research demonstrates there is no fixed way of thinking about men's experiences of childlessness. There are, however, within the stories, shared experiences of societal expectations of fatherhood, complex associations between childlessness, virility and masculinity, clear images of self as a father, expressions of ‘otherness' and ‘outsider' within a ‘child-centred society' and a sense of relationship with the emotions surrounding childlessness.

Research Limitations: No attempt is made to form a collective narrative of male childlessness. However, this is not as important as the priority of presenting the diversity of men's experiences of childlessness.

Originality/Value: Research into male involuntary childlessness rarely strays beyond the experiences of men in relation to specific situations, such as living with a female partner's ‘diagnosis' of childlessness (Webb and Daniluk, 1999). Gendered stereotypical descriptions of childlessness, where women are described as ‘devastated' (Gonzalez, 2000) and men as ‘ambivalent' (Mason, 1993), exist without the presence of robust research into men's experiences.
In contrast, this research unearths stories that challenge socially constructed narratives of childless men and confronts dominant cultural images of these men. The stories' complexity places demands on counsellors to reach out beyond popular summary descriptions of men's relationship with childlessness. There are benefits in working with men in ways that involves opening up and reflecting on the intricacies of their experiences of childlessness.

Conclusions: This research unearths multi-storied experiences of male childlessness. The narratives are politically and historically situated within the lived experiences of each man and challenge the stereotypes commonly used to describe men and childlessness. Counsellors are encouraged to monitor their relationships with normative positions and judgements regarding men's experiences of childlessness.

References:

Gonzalez, L.O. (2000) Infertility as a transformational process: A framework for psychotherapeutic support of infertile women Issues In Mental Health Nursing 21, 6, 619 - 633

Mason, M. (1993) Male Infertility: Men talking London: Routledge

Webb, R. and Daniluk, J (1999) The end of the line: Infertile men's experiences of being unable to produce a child Men and Masculinities 2, 6 - 25

back to top

Dr Linda Dubrow-Marshall

Other Author: Professor Rod Dubrow-Marshall

Professional Role: Visiting Fellow in Psychology
Institution: University of Glamorgan
Contact details: 70 Merthyr Road, Pontypridd, CF37 4DD
Email: LJDMarshall@aol.com

ABSTRACT: Poster

Undue influence in psychotherapeutic context: a case study of a psychotherapy cult

Aims/Purpose/Approach: The aim (as required by the counsellor certification board in this case) was to determine if two psychotherapists, against whom numerous complaints had been lodged, had violated professional ethics and exerted undue influence and coercive persuasion upon their clients.

Design/Methodology: Interviews with former psychotherapy clients and family members of existing psychotherapy clients were conducted. Professional articles and a book written by the psychotherapists in question were examined. The criteria for a psychotherapy cult in a seminal article by Temerlin & Temerlin (1982) was used as a basis for analysing this evidence.

  • Results/Findings: The criteria for a psychotherapy cult were met, including:
    Therapists dictated how clients should think, act, and feel; claimed superiority to other therapists; and induced feelings of guilt and shame in clients.
  • Questioning, doubt, and dissent were discouraged, and dissociative techniques were used.
  • Clients displayed unquestioning commitment to the therapists, were pressured to recruit other clients, and were described as being part of an elitist group.
  • Clients were influenced to cut ties with family and friends who were not part of the psychotherapy.
  • Clients were led to believe that they would suffer insanity or death if they left the therapy prematurely.

Research Limitations: There was no access to current clients and the psychotherapists were not directly interviewed.

Originality/Value: The examination of the extreme example of the unethical practices of a psychotherapy cult provides many guidelines for ethical psychotherapy where the effect of psychotherapeutic influence is appropriately monitored and appropriate interpersonal boundaries are set.

Conclusions/Implications: The analysis showed psychotherapy being conducted in an unethical manner that meets the criteria for being a psychotherapy cult. Ethical psychotherapists can learn from the extreme pressures and influence exerted upon these clients how to better monitor their use of psychotherapeutic influence and authority with implications for transference and counter-transference issues. Analysis of the case study is directly related to the research on group dynamics, coercive social influence (Cialdini, 2001), social identity, cults, and ethical psychotherapy.

References:

Temerlin, M. & Temerlin, J. (1982). Psychotherapy cults: An iatrogenic perversion. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 19, 131-141.

www.icsahome.com

ww.retirn.com

back to top

Margaret Evans

Professional Role: P/T Tutor on Higher Diploma in Integrative Counselling Birmingham University
Institution: Counsellor and Counselling Supervisor in Private Practice. PhD student at University of Worcester,
Contact details: 122 New Road, Bromsgrove Worcestershire, B60 2LD
Email: margaret.evans@clara.co.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

"I think they could be excellent parents ..... excellent BUT.....": Couple counsellors discuss LGB parenting

Aim/Purpose: The aim of this research was to explore discourses employed by couple-counsellors in discussing LGB parenting. It is part of a wider PhD study into couple-counsellors' perspectives on LGB people and their families, with implications for training.

Method: This is reflexive, qualitative research. Five focus groups and one joint interview were conducted to collect the data. A combined Discourse Analysis (Foucauldian and Discursive Psychology) was used for the audio-tape transcripts of the focus groups who were assured of anonymity.

Findings: Couple-counsellors draw on a variety of affirming and discriminatory discourses from society and from reading psychodynamic texts. Discourses around children being bullied and not liking to be ‘different' from their peers were similar to those identified by researchers in discussions with students on same-sex parenting (Clarke, 2000, 2004; Benkov,1995). Some drew on the perceived need for differently gendered role-models for the successful development of children, although adoption was not felt to be controversial. Some participants acknowledged that LGB people had the same rights as everyone else to have children, but several counsellors expressed reservations regarding IVF treatment for lesbians and gay men. The focus group format enabled other counsellors to counter such discourses. No participant was familiar with current research on this topic. Several participants recognised that they needed to work on their acknowledged confusions in order to change.

Research Limitations: These were not the total of counsellors working for the agency, but a self-selected group of about half from three regional centres.

Originality/Value: I understand that the agency has not previously made time available in basic training for counsellors to share personal perspectives on LGB issues. The counsellors were willing to talk openly, to reflect, to want more discussion. The agency, which funded part of this research, was willing to open itself for internal inspection.

Conclusions/Implications: Open discussion groups with trusted colleagues could be usefully incorporated into couple-counsellor training. It is further suggested that the agency require all counsellors and supervisors to become familiar with research around LGB parenting.

References available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

Candy Fathers, Manda Glanfield and Naz Aslam

Professional Roles: HPD in Counselling Students / Volunteer Counsellors
Institution: Lewisham College
Contact details: c/o Room B215, Lewisham College, Lewisham Way, London SE4 1UT
Email: christine.brown@lewisham.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Poster (This Poster Presentation is related to the Workshop: ‘Exploring the delivery of experiential diversity training during the counsellor training process')

‘What impact has experiential diversity issues training had on our development as practitioners?'

Aim/Purpose: To explore and define how the experiential diversity training we received impacted on our professional development. Also; to document how this training enabled us to expand our self-awareness in relation to our own cultural experiences and how we have learned to relate with greater openness to the cultural experiences of others.

Method: The audio recorded, transcribed, reflexive research narratives of the researchers, from which descriptive conclusions were drawn as to the impact diversity training had on our professional development.
The research was undertaken to fulfil, in part, the requirements of the City & Guilds HPD in Counselling at Lewisham College, under the supervision of Chris Brown MA. The research was conducted following the BACP Guidelines for Researching Counselling & Psychotherapy (Bond, 2004).

Findings: We have been able to descriptively identify how the diversity training on our Practitioner Training course impacted on our professional development in the following ways;

  • The impact racism/oppression and inherited racism has on our selves and others.
  •  Identification of the personal blocks to empathy which may prevent us from working effectively with diversity.
  • The personal process of change which has taken place for us.

Research Limitations: We were limited by an investigation into only our own personal experiences.

Originality/Value: We could find no autobiographical research which tracked a similar developmental process to our own in relation to diversity training; this appeared to leave a gap in research evidence which we wanted to address.

Conclusions/Implications: That in-depth experiential diversity training is a vital aspect of Practitioner Training; which in itself has implications on the future design of Counsellor Training Programmes.

References:

Bond, T. (2004) BACP Ethical Guidelines for Researching Counselling & Psychotherapy. Rugby: BACP

back to top

Sally Flatteau Taylor

Professional Role: Chief Executive
Institution: The Maypole Project
Contact details: 203 - 205 High Street, Orpington. BR6 0PF
Email: Sallytaylor@themaypoleproject.fsnet.co.uk

ABSTRACT: Poster

Stepping into the lives of families of children with chronic illnesses.

Aims/Purpose: From a study in 2005 of children with a life shortening /life threatening, families described having been "instantly thrown into a nightmare world new language, new places, new everything." These 54 families took the opportunity through returned questionnaires and subsequent invitation into focus groups (2 x 10 people) to outline the support they wanted following such a diagnosis.

Results/Findings: The theme throughout the responses was summed up by one couple as "we wanted to meet someone who would not analyse us, not tell us what to do, but to be alongside and give us compassionate support." The "compassionate supporter" was further defined as someone who would empathise with their situation, understand the difficulties and issues which they faced. The comments received noted that experiences of support seldom matched these needs.

Past research has highlighted issues for families, focussing on particular diagnoses such as Cystic Fibrosis/Cancers, the perceived protection/exclusion of siblings, marital difficulties, isolation of fathers, and the death of a child. As a result current support work appears to be focussing on these issues; the outcome of which has been experienced as the isolation of family members from each other in support. The parents and children in this study have highlighted that this may be leading to over focussed and assumptive support. This poster presents some family stories and issues raised from a broad base of diagnoses, ages, relationships, sex. (with permission & identity protected).

Implications: This research will be of interest to all counsellors giving some insight into the "ideal" support package that has been outlined by families in this study. As practitioners we never know when a new client walks into our counselling/therapy room whether they may have a child in their family, or a child who has died, from a chronic illness.

back to top

Julie Folkes-Skinner

Professional Role: Lecturer in Psychodynamic Counselling & NHS based counsellor
Institution: University of Leicester, Leicester Institute of Lifelong Learning.
Contact details: University Leicester, Vaughan College, St. Nicholas Circle, Leicester LE14LB
Email: jafs1@le.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Poster

A pilot study, using a single case study design to assess the effectiveness of two research instruments in measuring how counselling training impacts on a trainee counsellor during one academic term, at the beginning of clinical practice

Aims/Purpose/Approach: Little is known about the impact of training on practice. Lambert and Ogle's (2004) review of the literature and meta-analyses concluded that professional training made no difference to therapeutic outcome. Some randomised controlled trials have shown a relationship between training and therapeutic outcome, however few studies examine the impact of training, in naturalistic settings, at the beginning of practice. No studies yet exist that attempt to identify which aspects of therapist training programmes have most impact on trainees. Beutler et al (2004) suggest that a number of articles now conclude that different research methods and paradigms need to be used to study therapist effects, including the relationship between training and practice.

The N=1 case study design was chosen to enable an in depth study of the experience of professional training with the hope beginning to understand what helps trainees to become counsellors. In addition the purpose of this pilot study is to develop effective qualitative research instruments and techniques specifically designed for use with trainees.

Methodology:

  • Participants: one trainee counsellor; trainee's personal tutor; trainee's supervisor.
  • A single case study design
  • Three semi-structured interviews, with the trainee a month apart, using an adapted version of Elliott et al's (2001) Change Interview, focussing on changes in the counsellor's practice and personal development.
  • One semi-structured interview will be conducted with the Trainee's tutor at the end of the first term using an adapted version of Llewellyn's, (1988) HAT questionnaire.
  • Two interviews will be conducted with the Trainee's supervisor at the beginning and end of the first term using an adapted version of Llewellyn's, (1988) questionnaire.
  • All interviews will be recorded and transcribed.

Analysis:

  • IPA (Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis) of data
  • Results will be triangulated using a data framework

Results: The first interviews of the study have taken place. The study will not be completed until January 2007 and so no results are yet available.

Conclusions/Implications:

  • Help course providers to better understand the relationship between theory and practice;
  • Respond to a gap in the research literature;
  • Assist in the development of qualitative research instruments

References available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

Elizabeth Freire (Paper 1)

Co Author: Mick Cooper

Professional Role: Research Assistant
Institution: University of Strathclyde
Contact details: 76 Southbrae Drive, Glasgow, G13 1PP
Email: Elizabeth.freire@strath.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

Counselling in Schools: an evaluation

Aims: This paper presents the findings from an evaluation of a school-based Person-centred counselling which parallels the Glasgow Counselling in Schools Project research, Phase II (Cooper, 2006) and discusses the similarities and differences found between the two studies and across the field.

Methodology: The research was carried out over a period of one year, in nine Scottish secondary schools, in parallel with the Glasgow Counselling in Schools Project research, Phase II (Cooper, 2006), and using a similar methodology. The instruments used were a pre- and post-counselling psychometric measure (YP-CORE) and a client satisfaction questionnaire. 152 pupils completed the post-counselling satisfaction questionnaire and 83 pupils completed pairs of pre- and post-counselling YP-CORE. The results obtained were analysed and discussed in relation to the results reported and summarised by Cooper (2006). The research received ethical approval from the University of Strathclyde's Ethics Committee.

Results/Findings: In line with the results of the Glasgow study (Cooper, 2006) and previous counselling in schools evaluations, a significant reduction was found in level of psychological distress from pre- to post-counselling. The effect size in this study was slight larger (d=1.14) than the effect size reported in the Glasgow study (d= 1.00). 95% of participants were either ‘satisfied' or ‘very satisfied' with the counselling service (89% in the Glasgow study) and 85% said that the counselling had helped them either ‘A lot' or ‘Quite a lot' (78% in the Glasgow study). Both studies indicated that clients perceived that the counselling was helpful because it gave them an opportunity to talk and be listened to. Other similarities and differences between the two studies will be reported and discussed.

Research Limitations: Estimations of reliable change could not be undertaken accurately because there is no data on the test-retest reliability of the YP-CORE neither on its standard deviations for a normative population.

Originality/Value: This evaluation is important as a means of validating the results obtained by previous counselling in schools research.

Conclusions/Implications: The findings of this evaluation add more evidence that a person-centred counselling service in schools enhances the mental health and wellbeing of pupils, therefore supporting the rationale for establishing school-based person-centred counselling services.

References:

Cooper, M. (2006). Counselling in schools project phase II: Evaluation report. Glasgow: University of Strathclyde.

back to top

Elizabeth Freire (Paper 2)

Co Author: Mick Cooper

Professional Role: Research Assistant
Institution: University of Strathclyde
Contact details: 76 Southbrae Drive, Glasgow, G13 1PP
Email: Elizabeth.freire@strath.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

The Strathclyde Inventory: validation of a person-centred outcome measure

Aims: This study aimed to test the validity and reliability of the revised version of the Strathclyde Inventory, an outcome measure based on Rogers' theory of therapy change (Rogers, 1959, 1961)

Methodology: The instrument consists of 31 items developed according to Rogers' description of the ‘fully functioning person'. It was completed by 325 participants, alongside a range of other instruments (CORE, Inventory of Interpersonal Problems [IIP], Toronto Alexithymia Scale [TAS], Structural Analysis of Social Behavioral [SASB] Introject Scale) as a means of testing its discriminant and convergent validity. The participants were recruited for different analyses in three different universities and the research procedures received ethical approval from the ethics committees of each of these universities.

Results: The instrument had a Cronbach Alpha of 0.94, indicating excellent inter-item-reliability. Pearson correlations with CORE, IIP, and TAS were -.0.66, -0.49, and -0.56 respectively. The correlations with SASB-Introject positive and negative subscales were 0.58 and -0.63 respectively. These correlations show that the instrument has adequate convergent validity but raise questions about its discriminant validity. An exploratory factor analysis indicated the existence of one large factor, which explains around 36% or the total variance, although it is possible to extract 2 or 3 factors from the general factor. A test-retest with a small sub-sample of 24 participants, obtained a correlation of 0.76, indicating excellent temporal consistency.

Research Limitations: All self-report measures are subject to various kinds of response sets and biases. The high correlation between the SI and the CORE suggests that SI may be partially confounded with clinical distress. The test-retest sample is currently fairly small and needs to be enlarged.

Originality/Value: The Strathclyde Inventory is a potentially useful tool for research on the effectiveness of counselling and psychotherapy. It is also a non-pathology-oriented outcome measure that many therapists, e.g. person-centred, may feel more comfortable using.

Conclusions/Implications: The Strathclyde Inventory was found to be a reliable and valid measure. On the basis of these results, the investigators next plan to test the instrument with a clinical population.

References available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

Dr Patricia Goodspeed-Grant

Professional Role: Assistant Professor
Institution: Counselor Education, SUNY College at Brockport, Brockport, New York
Contact details: SUNY College at Brockport, 350 New Campus Drive, Brockport, New York 14420, USA
Email: pgoodspeed@brockport.edu

ABSTRACT: Poster

Research or counseling? Navigating boundary issues in qualitative research

This presentation is based upon the researcher's experiences with several research projects utilizing qualitative hermeneutic phenomenological methods. The discovery of deep-seated issues that go beyond forced-choice format responses in survey-type research has the potential for generating a deeper understanding of issues that may enhance the counseling profession's ability to help clients. Many qualitative methodologies utilize unstructured 90-minute depth interviews that focus on participants' experiences of the phenomenon under investigation. Participants are invited to share stories about the phenomenon under investigation, with an emphasis on the feeling tones of their experiences. The veracity and trustworthiness of the data are essential in order to excavate the meaning of the phenomenon.

Ethical guidelines are designed to offer protection from psychological harm to research participants. In an open-ended phenomenological interview, participants freely choose what to share in the interview without coercion. When the research is also an experienced counselor, clinical skill in conducting the research interview can be beneficial and lead to deep explorations of sensitive topics. In essence, a phenomenological interview is very similar to a counseling interview except that the focus is to generate an understanding of meaning and experiences rather than to initiate change. A dilemma may occur when the interviewer's skill at establishing a trusting relationship leads to discussion of emotionally painful issues. The role of the researcher can become blurred when participants reveal very painful experiences, such as sexual abuse or suicidal thoughts. The principal question becomes whether the ethical responsibilities for the counselor and researcher overlap, or are they contradictory? What action steps must the researcher take when participants present with information that leads them into an emotional crisis? What sources of referrals can or should be made? Is it ethical to uncover emotional material that must be processed? These issues may be particularly problematic when participants do not have adequate resources to pay for therapy sessions. These questions have implications for resolving the tension between balancing the needs of participants while generating scientific truthfulness.

back to top

Jan Grove

Professional Role: Lecturer in Counselling
Institution: The University of Birmingham
Contact details: University of Birmingham, School of Public Policy, Selly Oak Campus, Weoley Park Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham, B29 6LL
Email: j.a.grove@bham.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

How competent are counsellors to work with issues relating to different sexual orientations and what are the most effective learning experiences?

Aims: To map levels of competence of past and present students in counselling clients who are lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) and identify the most useful learning experiences.

Methodology: Students (past and present) of the integrative diploma in counselling at the University of Birmingham completed a questionnaire including: background details, a sexual orientation counsellor competence scale (Bidell, 2005), and two qualitative questions about previous learning relating to LGB issues. Descriptive statistics were used to summarise the levels of competence and grounded theory to analyse the qualitative responses.

Results/Findings: Results show that students have a high level of awareness, although a lower level measured in year two of the programme may indicate that training facilitates a deeper understanding of self.
The qualitative results indicate the value of personal experiences of contact with people who are LGB. This has the greatest impact on student's self awareness and knowledge translating into an increased feeling of competence in working with LGB clients.

Research Limitations: This is work in progress with a small sample size, so that initial results can only be tentative. Due ethical consideration has been given to possible conflicts in self reported methods for current students.

Originality/Value: Professional therapy organisations promote the importance of working with difference, yet subtle negative biases towards LGB clients continue (Eubanks-Carter et al., 2005). Issues of competence in this area have only recently been addressed (Bidell, 2005) and there is little British research into the effectiveness of training to support therapists working with this client group .

Conclusions/Implications: This research will provide data on students' levels of competence in working with LGB clients and identify the most effective ways of learning. The results will inform the current training programme, and indicate effective pedagogies to enhance learning relating to LGB issues.

This is part of a wider research project that will extend the range of respondents and identify additional factors that may impact on competence e.g. gender, age, educational/professional background.

References available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

Harold Heller

Professional Role: Therapist and Consultant in Independent Practice
Institution: Postgraduate student, York St John University
Contact details: East Middleton Farm, Middleton St George, Darlington, DL2 1AY
Email: harold.heller@virgin.net

ABSTRACT: Paper

"Shut up and Listen!" Myth and evidence in counselling supervision

Aims/Purpose/Approach: The study addresses the following questions in counselling supervision:

  • What is the impact on the supervisee of specific supervisory interventions?
  • Does ‘supervision-in-action' match ‘espoused theory' across different orientations?
  • Does the supervisory alliance change significantly over time?

Design/Methodology: The author (who employs a psychosystemic approach) has transcribed 23 of his own supervision sessions and has collected a parallel set of transcripts from four other orientations.
An evaluation tool has been developed in two parts:
1) The Supervisor Intervention Matrix, and
2) The Supervisee Response Scale.
These instruments (which have been subjected to tests of validity and reliability) have been applied to produce profiles of supervisory interaction and effectiveness for each orientation.

Results/Findings: 1. The outcomes show the model to be effective in identifying differences between key schools of supervision practice. 2. There is a statistically significant association between lower supervisor verbal input and higher supervisee response scores. 3. The major variations in measured outcomes appear to reflect the underlying values of the different orientations. Psychodynamic practitioners use Interpretation as the main style of prompt. The most effective role for Cognitive-Behavioural supervision is that of Coach. The most effective prompt styles for the Integrative-Humanistic and Psychosystemic approaches are, respectively, Reflect and Challenge. 4. Taking the sample of 46 sessions overall, the most effective intervention is that of the Challenging Facilitator. 5. Analysis of the gender patterns of supervision sessions indicates that mixed-gender pairings produce higher response scores than those of same-gender pairs. 6. The longitudinal study reveals that significant changes occur in both members of the supervisory alliance as it proceeds over time. 7. The study reveals cultural and operational differences in supervision practice between UK and USA.

Research Limitations: The small size and opportunistic collection of some samples limit the generalizability of the findings.

Originality/Value: Some previous studies have developed models of supervision practice; but mostly adapted from counselling measures (Lambert & Ogles, 1997). Few have produced empirical outcome measures (such as the Supervisee Response Scale devised for this study).

Conclusions/Implications: The model developed in this study can be used both as a research vehicle to illuminate the characteristics of different approaches, and also as a working tool enabling supervisors to monitor their practice (self-assessment and other workshop materials have also been developed).

References available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

Andrew Hill

Professional Role: Senior Lecturer
Institution: University of Salford
Contact details: School of Community Health Science and Social Care, University of Salford, Frederick Road, Salford M6 6PU
Email: a.hill@salford.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

Counselling and psychological therapy in primary care: a systematic review

Aims/Purpose/Approach: The review seeks to address a number of key questions relevant to the delivery of counselling in primary care. The questions are interrelated and are based on the rationale that for treatment to be supported it must be of proven efficacy in scientific trials, be effective in the complex and unpredictable world of routine clinical practice, be cost effective when balanced against clinical benefits and be acceptable to those receiving it. In order to address these wide-ranging questions this review groups studies into the following domains:

  • Efficacy research
  • Practice-based evidence
  • Economic and organisational issues
  • User perspectives

Design/Methodology: Searches of the literature are from 1996 onwards and restricted to studies written in English. A search of the grey literature was carried out only in the domain of practice-based evidence, as good-quality service evaluations are often produced for internal use rather than publication. Electronic searches spanned 9 databases and key journals were hand-searched. The grey literature search consisted of both online searches and the contacting of experts in the field.

Screening: Research studies were screened using specific inclusion and exclusion criteria and the consistency of the screening process quality-controlled.

Reviewing and data extraction: Each study was reviewed by 1 reviewer and a sampling method used to ensure consistency. Specific tools for critically appraising research studies were used by each reviewer.

Results/Findings: This paper reports on research in progress and so only preliminary results are available.

Research Limitations: As the review aims to locate diverse evidence a narrative approach has been taken to the reporting of the findings. While this allows a wide range of relevant research evidence to be considered, the absence of a statistical meta-analysis may weaken the conclusions with regard to efficacy research.

Originality/Value: While there have been several rigorous reviews in this field in recent years (Bower et al, 2002; Hemmings, 2000) this particular study is unique in its broad definition of counselling/psychological therapy, its inclusive approach to study type and the fact that both international and U.K. research has been reviewed.

Conclusions/Implications: Conclusions at this point are tentative and preliminary.

Reference available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

Werner Kierski

Professional Role: Psychotherapist and qualitative researcher
Institution: Middlesex University + Independent
b 52 Purley Avenue, London NW2 1SB
Email: wernerk@gotadsl.co.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

The fear of the feminine; its effect on men and on psychotherapy

Aims/Purpose/Approach: Various authors, including Horney, Neumann and Blazina said the fear of the feminine FOF in men is a major aspect of male psychology. The FOF describes emotions, which are difficult for many men, including vulnerability or helplessness. Equally, the FOF is a defence, shielding men from such emotions; then the FOF can cause reactions such as anger.

Methodology: Invitations were sent to various businesses and special interest groups. Male volunteers, with varied job titles, aged between 25-64, were asked to complete O'Neil's gender-role-conflict-scale GRCS to determine if they were in conflict or accord with traditional masculine values. Men with high and low scores where interviewed, using a semi-structured questionnaire, to explore their FOF experiences. The aim of dividing participants in low and high GRCS scorers allowed comparisons of FOF levels between both groups. Interviews were analysed using a constant comparative method. Middlesex University granted ethical approval.

Results: The internal and external aspects of FOF were recognised by all participants. Internal aspects relate to feeling defenceless or out of control; external aspects relate to experiencing women and their strengths as threatening. When describing how FOF manifests, participants talked about other men rather then themselves. This suggests that admitting to FOF may expose men to vulnerabilities that must be hidden. Related to FOF are deep life fears that force men to adopt certain emotional and behaviour patterns. This is linked to elaborate views on differences between masculinity and femininity. These views keep men on one side of the gender divide as perceived by self and others.

Research Limitations: Most men demonstrated a tendency of outward-projection of FOF. Consequently, the analysis relied on deductions and interpretations of the complex data.

Value: The lack of accurate information about how men really feel and think can make it difficult to offer effective therapeutic interventions. In the light of their higher suicide, addiction, violence and other problem-behaviour-rates, more effective interventions are required.

Implications: Psychotherapy has not got a high regard amongst men, owing to a masculine value of splitting/projecting difficult feelings in order to avoid fear. Understanding this dominant dynamic can help to work with men more effectively in psychotherapy.

References available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

Rosanne Knox-Pearce

Professional Role: Counsellor (private practice) and ChildLine Supervisor
Institution: University of Strathclyde
Contact details: 2 Northcroft Court, Becklow Road, London W12 9HE
Email: rpearce103@aol.com

ABSTRACT: Paper

Clients' experiences of relational depth in individual counselling

Aims/Purpose/Approach: The aim of this study was to explore clients' experiences of moments of relational depth with their counsellors, as described by counsellors as clients, with the underlying aim of investigating the correspondence between clients' experiences and therapists' experiences as described in previous research (Cooper, 2005). The study also aimed to explore clients' perceptions of the impact of such an experience on the therapeutic process and outcomes, and the factors which clients felt had facilitated these moments.

Design/Methodology: Qualitative interviews were conducted with 14 participants all of whom were counsellors or trainee counsellors and who had themselves been clients of predominately Person-Centred counselling. Interviews were semi-structured using a phenomenological approach. Ethical approval was received from the University of Strathclyde Ethics Committee.

Results/Findings: Most participants described having experienced moments of relational depth with at least one counsellor. The clients' descriptions of these experiences showed some similarity to therapists' descriptions (Cooper, 2005): including feelings of aliveness, transparency, realness, and openness in themselves. Several participants said that, during these moments, they experienced their counsellors as ‘really real'. Such moments were often seen by participants as being highly significant moments in the therapy with an enduring positive effect.

Research Limitations: As all participants were either counsellors or trainee counsellors themselves, it is likely that they may have held pre-conceived ideas about the concept of relational depth and its value, particularly those working or training within the Person-Centred approach where there has been increasing attention given to this concept in recent years

Originality/Value: This study takes forward work on relational depth and experiences of presence (Geller and Greenberg, 2002) by considering clients' experiences of these moments and the value that they attribute to them.

Conclusions/Implications: Clients' experiences of moments of relational depth would seem to be highly significant for clients with positive impacts beyond the immediate therapeutic relationships. This suggests that it is useful for therapists to explore further the nature and meaning of experiences of relational depth, and how these can be facilitated in the therapeutic encounter.

References available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

Nick Ladany (Poster)

Professional Role: Professor, Counseling Psychology
Institution: Lehigh University
Contact details: 111 Research Dr. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18015, USA
Email: nil3@lehigh.edu

ABSTRACT: Poster

Multicultural events in group supervision

Aims/Purpose/Approach: Testament to the importance of group supervision is the recognition that it is widely practiced; however, to date there is minimal empirical support for its efficacy (Bernard & Goodyear, 2004). Although individual supervision has been found to be a viable means of influencing supervisee multicultural competence (Ladany, 2005), the influence of group supervision on supervisee multicultural learning has received limited attention. To that end, the purposes of our study are twofold. First, we set out to discover the types of helpful and hindering multicultural events that take place in group supervision. Second, we wanted to examine the manner in which these multicultural events predicted group climate and supervisee multicultural competence.

Design/Methodology: One hundred thirty-eight participants were recruited from training programs in the United States and completed the measures online. Helpful and hindering multicultural events in supervision were obtained via a qualitative written prompt. Measures of group climate and multicultural competence were used to assess these variables. Participants were volunteers and were provided informed consent.

Results/Findings: Multicultural helpful events were categorized as peer vicarious learning, new conceptualization skills, and supervisor influence. Hindering events were categorized as peer conflicts, supervisor conflicts, and misapplication of multicultural theory. Quantitative results indicated that vicarious learning and new conceptualization skills were related to more engaged groups. Conversely, misapplication of multicultural theory was related to greater group conflict. In addition, supervisees multicultural competence was negatively related to conflicts with the supervisor and absence of multicultural events.

Research Limitations: Although quantitative findings can offer some generalizations, more in-depth qualitative work would have enhanced the meaningfulness of the results.

Originality/Value: Limited research has been conducted on multicultural issues in supervision as well as group supervision. Examining these variables together is novel in the field of supervision.

Conclusions/Implications: The influence of group supervision on the development of supervisee multicultural competence needs further examination. Group supervision can have powerful effects on supervisee learning, however, as was shown in the results, some of the effects can be quite negative. Supervisors would also do well to consider their roles in facilitating and resolving conflicts in group supervision.

References:

Bernard, J. M., & Goodyear, R. K. (2003) Fundamentals of clinical supervision (3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon

Ladany, N., Friedlander, M. L., & Nelson, M. L. (2005). Critical events in psychotherapy supervision: An interpersonal approach. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

back to top

Nick Ladany (Workshop)

Professional Role: Professor, Counseling Psychology
Institution: Lehigh University
Contact details: 111 Research Dr.Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18015, USA
Email: nil3@lehigh.edu

ABSTRACT: Workshop

Supervision secrets: fibbing, fighting, and fornicating

There is a long and rich history of research and practice in the art and science of counselling and psychotherapy, however; supervision, perhaps the primary means of training counsellors and psychotherapists, has received limited attention in the literature. The content of this workshop is intended to fill a gap in the existing literature by addressing an aspect of supervision, namely secrets between supervisees and supervisors. The primary assumption of this research is that what supervisees and supervisors do not discuss often can be more important than what is discussed. These nondisclosures will be considered in relation to supervision process and outcome variables such as the supervisory working alliance, supervisee learning, and client outcome. Case examples will be used to illustrate the concepts with the intention of making this workshop empirically informed and clinically meaningful.

This research is an aspect of a larger programme of supervision research that has examined counselling and psychotherapy process and outcome (e.g., working alliance, nondisclosures, helping skills) in relation to supervision process and outcome (e.g., supervisory alliance, nondisclosures, regrets, helpful and hindering events). A description of what delegates can expect to be covered in the workshop.

The workshop will review types of nondisclosures that occur for supervisees and supervisors and discuss ways in which these nondisclosures influence supervision process and outcome.

Supervisor practitioners and researchers, as well as supervisees, who want to learn about the covert processes that occur as part of the process of supervision.

References:

Ladany, N., Friedlander, M. L., & Nelson, M. L. (2005). Critical events in psychotherapy supervision: An interpersonal approach. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

back to top

Amanda J A Larcombe

Professional Role: Co-founder/Director of Optima Workplace Limited, Private Practitioner (Counsellor and Coach)
Institution: Optima Workplace Ltd
Contact details: 7 High Acre Drive, Ivybridge, Plymouth, PL21 9UJ
Email: mandy@optimaworkplace.com

ABSTRACT: Paper

Does the provision of counselling positively impact on absenteeism in the Devon and Cornwall constabulary?

Aims/Purpose/Approach: This research aimed to answer the question presented and begin to achieve an understanding of the impact of counselling on absenteeism for the Devon & Cornwall Constabulary (DCC).

Design/Methodology: Along with a comprehensive literature review, the study draws on two principal sources of data. Quantitative data achieved through the analysis of the organisation's own raw sickness absence data; EAP service reports and a semi-structured questionnaire completed by police officers only. Qualitative data achieved in the form of written responses to personal experiences provided by 43 research participants. It focuses on the period September 1994 to April 2005; encompassing both the DCC's experience of the EAP and a sufficiently long enough period beforehand to establish any patterns that may be associated with the use of counselling by police officers.

Results/Findings: Analysis of the sickness absence data over the period covered showed there to be a positive association between the employment of the EAP and a reduction in sickness absence. This, along with corroboration of the EAP report findings with the independently reported experiences of police officers, led the researcher to conclude that counselling has had and does have a positive impact on the absenteeism in the DCC. Furthermore, findings highlighted a significant influence of systemic relationships on counselling's ability to reduce absenteeism. In this case those of politics and culture.

Research Limitations: In the context of ‘impact', organisational requirements and the academic restrictions placed on this piece of research demanded that the focus be limited to counselling's impact on absenteeism.

Originality/Value: For the UK's police constabularies, this research represents a ‘first'.

Conclusions/Implications: This study adds to the growing body of research that shows there to be a positive association between the provision of workplace counselling and reduced absenteeism. Perhaps more importantly for the DCC, and any organisation employing counselling services, it also highlights the significant influence of systemic relationships on counselling's ability to reduce absenteeism. Therefore, getting the maximum return on investment in such services and protecting the credibility of counselling in this context is seen as relying on both organisations and counselling providers to acknowledge and manage this relationship effectively.

References available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

Dr Clare Lennie and Terry Hanley (workshop)

Professional Role (CL): Lecturer in Education and Counselling Psychology
Institution: The University of Manchester
Contact details: Education Support and Inclusion, School of Education, Oxford Road, Manchester, UK, M13 9PL
Email: clare.lennie@manchester.ac.uk terry.hanley@manchester.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Workshop

Developing the research practitioner: a model for teaching research methods in counselling training

Rationale: Much is being said presently about the reticence of counselling practitioners in engaging with the world of research, the design of training courses and staff allegiance can often mirror such a divide. Currently, BACP is debating methods for research training provision across its accredited courses. This session will present a method of teaching research that aims to blur such distinctions emphasising the point that, not only are counsellors well positioned to conduct research in terms of their skills training, but that counselling itself can be seen as a research process.

There is a need for counselling to develop an evidence base to its profession and a body of research on which to prove its efficacy; it is important that we become ‘research savvy' to maintain the profile of our work and enter into debate with other aligned professions. The development of such a body of research will inform our practice on an individual level whilst grounding our sense of community in a common but diverse academic research base.

We will model our methods for introducing research within a counselling training programme and delegates will take part as trainees. The session will be rooted within counselling practice and it is from this base that we will explore the links between practice and research.

Target audience: The session will be of particular interest to trainers delivering research methods as it will focus predominantly on pedagogical issues; participants will be issued with a number of related teaching resources. As the session is rooted within counselling practice many of the activities will be experiential and participatory.

back to top

Dr Clare Lennie and Terry Hanley (poster)

Professional Role: Lecturer in Educational Psychology and Counselling
Institution: University of Manchester
Contact details: Educational Support & Inclusion, School of Education, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester. M13 9PL
Email: clare.lennie@manchester.ac.uk terry.hanley@manchester.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Poster

Encouraging practitioners to engage with research: evaluating a university based counselling research group

Aims: It is often noted that students engaged in research projects feel isolated from the institutions that they are studying. This lack of support has led to the premature withdrawal from studies, a factor that has become worryingly high within doctorate level studies in recent years. With this in mind this study evaluates the development of a student led Counselling Research Group (CRG), a group that purposefully caters for both the academic and personal requirements of students engaged in research.

Methodology: A two stage evaluation of the CRG was developed and implemented. Initially a questionnaire was developed to gather the views of all the students attending counselling courses at the University. Following the return of the questionnaires 2 focus groups were organised to gain a greater understanding of the student's perceptions of the CRG. The first group comprised of students who had attended the group whilst the second was made up of those who had not. The transcripts that were derived from the session were thematically analysed and the findings shared with the group in question. Ethical approval for the study was gained by the University the study was conducted.

Findings: The study identified that students engaged with the CRG in a variety of different ways. For instance several students noted that they saw research and the activities of the CRG as playing a pivotal role within their practice. In contrast those who did not attend the groups found it difficult to see the relevance of such a group on their counselling practice.

Research Limitations: This study focuses upon students engaged in postgraduate Masters and Doctorate level studies. Findings may vary for those engaged in counselling studies that have less of a research component.

Conclusions/Implications: The CRG has become an important pan-training element of the courses at the University. It acts as a useful bridge between counselling practice and research and pragmatically responds to the needs to both the pastoral and academic needs of the students.

back to top

Dr Karen L Mackie

Other Presenter: Dr Patricia Goodspeed-Grant, EdD. NCC, LMHC

Professional Role: Assistant Professor (Clinical), Department of Counseling and Human Development
Institution: Warner Graduate School of Education & Human Development, University of Rochester
Contact details: P.O. Box 270425 River Campus, Rochester New York, 14627-0425, USA
Email: kmackie@warner.rochester.edu

ABSTRACT: Paper

Coaching counselling practitioners and trainees to participate in research culture: a heuristic inquiry into the problem- finding experience

Aims/Purposes: The aim of this paper is to share findings of our heuristic inquiry into the research problem-finding experience in ourselves and in our trainees.

In qualitative research, finding the orienting question comprises the crucial beginning of the work and illuminates the meaning and nature of the searcher's quest. It can however be a subtle and difficult process. Ongoing collegial dialogue and writing about our identification as qualitative inquirers led us to delve into two related questions: What has been our process of finding and giving voice to authentic research questions that grow out of our strong primary identification counsellors? And how do we, as teachers and mentors, help trainees and supervisees find their own authentic and important research questions leading to stronger practitioner identification with research inquiry? We aim to help trainees overcome both anxiety and premature foreclosure in framing researchable and critical questions that relate to what is most meaningful in their personal or professional work.

Method/Approach: The paper captures highlights of each presenter's heuristic reflections and discoveries then analyzes common themes drawn from the ongoing dialogue about finding research problems and about encouraging new inquirers through pedagogical explorations in creativity.

Findings: Five themes have been ascertained to this point. Briefly these are recognition that: our actual research experience had been at variance from out training for such; research and counselling bear closer resemblance than dominant description suggests; trainee anxiety about approaching research can be understood as an unintended effect of dominant socio-cultural values about producing knowledge; heuristically informed dialogue as method has opened space for finding deep values that drive our own research efforts; and we increasingly recognize the need for the aesthetic and creative dimensions to be articulated in pedagogy with new practitioners in order to engage them in self-identifying as an inquirer.

Implications and Research Limitations: Our work is an initial exploration which we hope will be strengthened by integrating and synthesising other co-researcher voices on the topic. Implications for impacting master's level practioner pedagogy relative to research training are contained in the discussion.

back to top

Thomas Mackrill

Professional Role: Psychologist
Institution: Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research.
Contact details: The University of Aarhus, Copenhagen Department, Købmagergade 26 E, 2.,1151 Copenhagen K., Denmark
Email: thomasmackrill@crf.dk

ABSTRACT: Paper

Exploring extra-therapeutic factors - presenting a cross-contextual qualitative diary design.

Background: Extra-therapeutic factors have long been considered important. They are, however, generally viewed as variables that also affect psychotherapeutic practise, and not as an integral part of psychotherapy processes. This is strange as the way clients combine what occurs in and outside sessions is central to therapeutic process and outcome. Cross-contextual research requires accessing data both about sessions and clients' contexts elsewhere. This paper investigates the type of access a diary approach offers to client contexts.

Method: Four cases from a counselling service for adult children of alcoholics were studied. Diaries were solicited from clients and therapists focusing on significant aspects of sessions, significant client experiences outside sessions and client and therapist reflections about the relationship between the two. The data were subjected to a theory driven analysis (Dreier in press) and analytic and validation procedures. The method constructed a view of practise highlighting how clients employed forms of therapeutic thinking before entering the therapy setting that were significant for the therapy. Clients encountered and employed forms of therapeutic thinking from a range of sources other than the therapy sessions while in therapy. Therapeutic sessions were but one activity that clients participated in to ‘get better'. Clients combined activities across contexts.

Limitations: Only four cases were studied. Clients were all highly motivated, in further education and were all adult children of alcoholics.

Conclusions: The diary method offered a selective view of clients' contexts, accessing them as part of clients' sense-making and communicative practises. Retrospective and real time views of clients' contexts were accessed. The quality of the data rendered cross-contextual analysis possible.

Reference:

Dreier, O. (in press) Psychotherapy in Everyday Life. Cambridge University Press.

back to top

Dr Jane McChrystal

Professional Role: Counsellor
Institution: Rise Group Practice, Hornsey Rise health Centre, Hornsey Rise, London N19 3YU
Contact details: 50 Yale Court, Honeybourne Road, London NW6 1JQ
Email: jane.mcchrystal@nhs.net

ABSTRACT: Paper

How insecurely attached adults respond to bereavement in a primary care setting: psychological symptoms and health perception.

Aims/Purpose/Approach: In the course of a life most people will experience the bereavement of a close relative. This life event represents the disruption of a major attachment bond, the effects of which are becoming increasingly well-known. They include increased symptoms of physical ill-health, raised physician consultation rates and raised levels of clinical depression. This study investigated how attachment theory might contribute to an understanding of the psychological effects of bereavement on adults in a primary care setting. It examined possible associations between bereavement, insecure patterns of attachment, mental health and perceptions of health.

Design/Methodology: The study employed a mixed qualitative/quantitative methodology. 56 participants were recruited from two general practices after ethical approval of the project had been granted by the local medical ethics committee. An experimental group of 36 bereaved adults participated in the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI). The AAI is a semi-structured interview designed to assess adult states of mind with regard to attachment Taped interviews were transcribed verbatim, and assigned to specific attachment patterns, either insecure/preoccupied, insecure/dismissing or insecure/dismissing/preoccupied according to a discourse analytic methodology. Participants also completed a self-report form on health relating to the year before and after bereavement. Their medical records were scanned for levels of symptoms of anxiety and depression. The medical records of 20 non-bereaved individuals were scanned for the same information over a 2 year period.

Results/Findings: All the participants interviewed were insecurely attached. Preoccupied and dismissing/preoccupied adults were more highly represented than in the normative population. The whole group reported a deterioration in general health following bereavement. The whole group had significantly raised levels of anxiety and depression when compared with the control group.
Research Limitations: It was not possible to establish a definite link between insecure attachment and raised levels of psychological symptoms after bereavement due to the absence of securely attached individuals from the research sample

Originality/Value: This study confirms evidence of the adverse effects of bereavement on mental health produced by earlier studies. It has provided useful insights into the psychological characteristics and needs of a group of bereaved adults in a primary care setting..

Conclusions/Implications: It is hoped that the findings could form the basis of an innovative approach to the care of a vulnerable group of adults for counsellors and other health care professionals. The use of a group psychotherapeutic approach is proposed to this end.

References available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

John McLeod and Mick Cooper

Other Authors: Alison Shoemark, Stephen Goss

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

ABSTRACT: Paper

Evaluating a pluralistic framework for counselling

Aims/Purpose/Approach: The aim of this study is to use practice-based data to articulate and refine a pluralistic framework for counselling.

Design/Methodology: Clients referred by GPs to a community counselling centre are invited to take part in a research study, and complete ethical approval forms. A problem/goal rating scale is administered before entering counselling, and at the start of every session, and a brief form of the Working Alliance Inventory is completed by clients at the end of each session. Counsellors use a structured note-taking protocol to record their perceptions of goals, tasks and methods in each session. Outcomes are assessed by administration of the CORE scale at the beginning of each session.

Results/Findings: Findings will be presented from quantitative analysis of the first three sessions of 20 clients within the study, in terms of:

  • goals identified by clients
  • change in goal ratings over time
  • counsellor perceptions of goals, tasks and methods
  • relationship between goal focus and outcome
  • relationship between goal focus and working alliance
  • comparison of counsellor and client perceptions of goals.

In addition, the pluralistic therapeutic process is illustrated by brief vignettes based on qualitative analysis of two contrasting cases.

Research Limitations: These are early returns, and based on a small sample.

Originality/Value: The study demonstrates the heuristic value of research in the development of a new framework for counselling practice. It also exemplifies the integration of contrasting methods and perspectives in relation to a topic of theoretical interest.

Conclusions/Implications: The implications of this study for he development of integrative/pluralistic approaches to counselling are discussed.

back to top

John McLeod and Julia McLeod

Other Authors: Joe Armstrong (University of Abertay Dundee).

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

ABSTRACT: Paper

The impact and meaning of research for clients and counsellors

Aims/Purpose/Approach: The aim of this study is to examine the experiences of clients and counsellors involved in an intensive research study, regarding the impact of the research on therapy.

Design/Methodology: Clients referred by GPs to a community counselling centre are invited to take part in a research study, and complete ethical approval forms. Clients are invited to complete a number of research questionnaires in advance of entering counselling, and before and after each therapy session. In addition, each therapy session is audio recorded. After the second session, clients and therapists complete the Assessing the Impact of Research (AIR) scale, a standardised measure of client/counsellor perceptions of the intrusiveness and helpfulness of participating in the research process (Marshall et al, 2001). Counsellor also keep notes regarding any discussions with clients about the research.

Results/Findings: Analysis of data from 20 clients and counsellors will be presented. Levels of client and counsellor acceptance of research are provided. Findings are compared with other studies of client views on the experience of taking part in research studies.

Research Limitations: This paper only reports on client perceptions of the research process at the start of therapy. Further research will examine the degree to which these perceptions change over the course of therapy. In addition, the study does not incorporate data on the views of clients who have declined to take part in the study.

Originality/Value: This study makes a contribution toward a fuller appreciation of client/user perspectives on research.

Conclusions/Implications: The implications of the study for the conduct of counselling research, and the integration of research tolls into routine practice are discussed.

back to top

John McLeod (Paper)

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

ABSTRACT: Paper

A review of research into workplace counselling: implications for research policy and practice.

Aims/Purpose/Approach: The aim of this presentation is to discuss some of the conclusions and implications of a comprehensive review of research into the processes and outcomes of workplace counselling.

Design/Methodology: All research papers published in journals between 1980 and 2005, on the process and outcome were summarized. A thematic analysis of specific research domains (outcome studies, cost benefit studies, utilization rates, etc) was carried out.

Results/Findings: A brief summary of the main findings of the review (published by BACP, 2007) will be provided. An overview of the implications of the review, for research policy and practice, will highlight a number of key issues:

  • the need to develop consensus within the professional community regarding standard measures and definitions;
  • the importance and relevance of both randomized trials and qualitative studies;
  • the necessity, within this area of research, for researchers to provide much more information about the organisational context of research studies, and the service delivery models being used;
  • the implications for research and practice of recent studies that have evaluated innovative interventions tailored to meet the needs of specific groups of clients. 

Research Limitations: The study is based on material from published studies, and does not reflect the rich diversity of unpublished dissertation, and in-house research, that is available, or on papers in languages other than English. .

Originality/Value: This analysis is based on the most comprehensive review of research into workplace counselling that has been carried out.

Conclusions/Implications: The findings of this review reinforce, and extend, the recommendations of previous reviews into research on workplace counselling. Suggestions are made regarding some practical means by which the EAP/workplace counselling profession might takes these proposals forward.

back to top

John McLeod (Poster)

Other Authors: Mick Cooper, Lorna Carrick and Ewan Gillon

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

ABSTRACT: Poster

The relationship between counselling and the social world of the client

Aims/Purpose/Approach: The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between participation in counselling, and utilization of social/cultural resources available to clients.

Design/Methodology: Clients referred by GPs to a community counselling centre are invited to take part in a research study, and complete ethical approval forms. Clients take part in a structured pre-counselling interview, which examines their use of social and cultural resources, and complete a weekly Engagement in Counselling Inventory, which provides information about on-going utilisation of these resources. Counsellors provide information about client use of cultural resources mentioned within sessions, using a
structured note-taking format. Outcome data is available through weekly CORE and goal rating scale data provided by clients.

Results/Findings: This paper reports on an analysis of cultural resources described within the first three sessions, by 20 clients. The types of cultural resource reported by clients are discussed, along with the perceived usefulness of these resources in relation to outcomes. The ways that clients make use of cultural resources is illustrated by brief vignettes based on qualitative analysis of two contrasting cases.

Research Limitations: This study relies on the application of research techniques that have not been fully validated. As a result, caution must be employed in the interpretation of findings.

Originality/Value: This study provides new evidence on the role of extra-therapy factors within the therapeutic process, as well as drawing attention to the importance of the social environment within which the client lives his or her life.

Conclusions/Implications: The implications of the study for counselling practice, and for both research and theory, are briefly discussed.

back to top

Valerie J Monk

Professional Role: Counsellor in Private Practice
Institution: Manchester University
Contact details: 20 Georges Lane, Horwich, Bolton, BL6 6RT
Email: Val@creativeexchanges.com

ABSTRACT: Paper

Mothers and schizophrenic children, insider research

Aims/Purpose/Approach: This qualitative study, undertaken for a Professional Doctorate, aims to enhance knowledge and understanding of the experience of mothers of children with severe and enduring Schizophrenic illness. It will be useful to Professionals in Education, Health and Social Care and to mothers of such children.

Design/Methodology: Six of the 54 respondents to a questionnaire for mothers whose children have a diagnosis of chronic schizophrenia participated in a loosely structured interview, which focussed on their experience of being the mother of such a child and in particular what helped and what hindered. Interview transcripts were analysed taking an Interpretative Phenomenological Approach, allowing the researcher to make conscious and informed use of her ‘insider status' as mother, social worker and counselling researcher. The researcher, as a ‘bricoleur', draws on hermeneutics, conversation and narrative approaches to view the phenomenon from different perspectives.

Results/Findings: The uniqueness of each individual narrative and each mother's positive construction of her role are elucidated. The effects on the mothers themselves, family relationships, work and social life is conveyed. Common features of the experiences are identified, such as the frequent delay in obtaining a diagnosis and difficulty accessing services. The informed commitment, care and concern of these mothers offers an alternative construct for the families of Schizophrenics to that of R.D. Laing and his associates. Their understanding of ‘Schizophrenia', drawn from their ‘lived experience', enables them to both appreciate and criticise the variety of professional responses. The things that have helped and the ways in which they have coped are explored.

Research Limitations: Ethical concerns about the vulnerability of mothers and children necessitated respondent self-selection. Consequently, respondents are not necessarily representative of the whole population of mothers.

Originality/Value: Mothers who write about this experience tend to do so when their child has committed suicide. It is less usual to read about mothers and children who are surviving the experience

Conclusions/Implications: Mothers and the Professionals who encounter them will be encouraged to develop those approaches that help and avoid some of the pitfalls.

References available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

Seamus Nash

Professional Role: Psychotherapist and PhD student
Institution: Kirkwood Hospice, West Yorkshire
Contact details: 21 Albany Road, Dalton, Huddersfield, HD5 9UY
Email: seamusnashphd@yahoo.co.uk

ABSTRACT: Poster

A qualitative exploration into counsellors/psychotherapists use and understandings of the term ‘person-centred'

Aims/Purpose/Approach: The research looks at practitioner's meanings and understandings of person-centred theory and how this is manifested in their individual practice. It is the first stage of a doctoral research programme and is therefore work in progress. These results constitute the final analysis of stage one.

Design/Methodology: The research utilised a phenomenological and qualitative methodology. 15 respondents who responded to an advert were recruited nationally who had undertaken a training labelled as ‘person-centred'. Respondents were interviewed both face to face and by telephone, using a semi-structured interview process. The interviews were recorded using both tape and mini-disc. The data generated were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis and NVIVO qualitative software was also utilised. The project was approved by the University of Strathclyde Ethics Committee.

Results/Findings: Meaning was heterogenous and thus diverse, ranging from classic interpretations based largely in Rogers' writings of 1957 and 1959 to an integrative meaning and understanding informed by existentialism, feminism and object relations, for example. Respondent's understandings of person-centred theory were also unique. What emerged from the data was a renewed vigour in terms of the centrality of the relationship and thus therapist responsiveness was a crucial element. The respondent's understandings and meaning also focused around embodying the theory in a personal way and living the theory as a way of being in the world.
In terms of practice the following were homogenous: the equalisation of power, client as expert, the humanity and warmth of the therapist, belief in the client's potential and a growing political awareness were found.

Research Limitations: The sample was restricted to the UK thus the sample is limited.

Originality/Value: This is an original work and may be of value in terms of investigating therapeutic identity and practice.

Conclusions/Implications: A practitioners definition of ‘person-centredness' was a central pillar to their practice. From this a Practitioners understanding of person-centred theory is also vital to how they understand themselves as ‘person-centred' and how they practice, in that regard. This research may be of relevance to C&P broadly in that the findings support the view that a practitioners understanding, meaning and belief in their core modality are a central pillar of psychotherapeutic practice.

back to top

Elizabeth R O'Brien

Professional Role: Graduate Student
Institution: University of Central Florida
Contact details: 10227 Blanchard Park Trail; Apt 2425; Orlando, FL 32817
Email: erobrie@mailbox.sc.edu

ABSTRACT: Paper

The relationship between counseling students' wellness and client outcomes

Aims/Purpose/Approach: Research examining client outcomes usually focuses on one of the three process of therapy: therapist technique, client behaviours, and therapeutic interaction. Studies have shown that the person of the therapist is deeply embedded in the counselling process. Holistic wellness is an alternative measurement of individual functioning that could offer insight to counsellors' therapeutic interactions and how they may influence client outcomes in counselling.

Design/Methodology: This ex post facto correlational design utilizes a sample size of eighty student participants and over one hundred client participants. Two instruments were administered to study participants: OQ.45 and 5F-WEL. The University of Central Florida's Institutional Review Board reviewed the project and approved the use of human subjects. Upon approval, the OQ.45 and 5F-WEL were administered to student counsellors, and the scores were linked the student counsellors' clients' OQ.45 scores. Statistical analyses were conducted to determine the nature of the relationship between counsellors' wellness and overall function with clients' alleviation of overall symptom distress. Thereby attempting to establish an empirical link between counsellors' functioning and how it may impact clients' recovery process.

Results/Findings: Collected data will be analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. Data analysis will include: Multiple Regression, ANOVA, and Factor Analysis.

Research Limitations: Data used in this research was obtained using self-report assessments. Furthermore, the sample size, while appropriate for the statistical analysis used, is relatively small.

Originality/Value: The purpose of this study is to investigate whether or not there is a clear empirical link between counsellors' characteristics and wellness and client outcomes. Although research in psychology alludes to the link between these two ideas, there is no empirical evidence in research literature.

Conclusions/Implications: Models of counsellor training often involve skill acquisition, rather than focusing on the impact of internal process on one's ability to be a successful counsellor. A positive correlation implies that there are counsellor characteristics that may supersede students' mastery of skills, as well as the need to integrate aspects of holistic wellness throughout counsellor training.

References

Hair, J. F., Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., Anderson, R. E., & Tatham, R. L. (2006). Multivariate data analysis. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Lambert, M. J., & Hill, C. E. (1994). Assessing psychotherapy outcomes and processes. In A. E. Bergin & S. L. Garfield (Eds.), Handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change (4th ed.) (pp. 72-113). New York: Wiley.

Wampold, B. E. (2001). The great psychotherapy debate: Models, methods, and findings. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

back to top

Dr Sue Pattison

Professional Role: Lecturer
Institution: School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, University of Newcastle UK
Contact details: University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Joseph Cowen House, St Thomas St, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU
Email: susan.pattison@ncl.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

School counselling for girls in the Gambia: a research study on effectiveness

Aims/Purpose/Approach: Results from a research project carried out in schools in the Gambia are presented in relation to the following primary question: Is school counselling effective for girls aged 12-16 years in the Gambia

Design/Methodology: A before and after study evaluates the effectiveness of school counselling and qualitative interviews with children, counsellors and head teachers provides enriching information. The sample consists of females aged 12-16 years across 10 urban and 10 rural secondary schools in the Gambia. The data collection tool is the Young People's Core v1 administered before and after counselling. Data was analysed using the Young People's Core Scoring system and SPSS software package. Qualitative data was analysed thematically. Ethical permission was granted by the Gambian Dept. State for Education and BACP Ethical Guidelines were followed.

Results/Findings: Quantitative findings indicate that: Children improved by approximately 9 clinical points across all CORE-YP items; they coped better with their problems; subjective feelings of well-being increased; risk of self-harm reduced. Following counselling severe levels of distress were reduced dramatically. Qualitative findings indicate that: children appreciated counselling and found it helpful, the counselling relationship was highly valued; counsellors and head teachers were happy with the way counselling is organised in schools, counsellors felt supported by colleagues and the Dept. State for Education, Guidance and Counselling Unit; and that counsellors need more training, time, private environment and resources.

Research Limitations: The quantitative results are generalisable only to the sample population in the Gambia and qualitative data is purely representative of the perspectives of the individuals interviewed.

Originality/Value: This is the only outcome research on school counselling in the Gambia.

Conclusions/Implications: Data will be used by the Gambian Government to support further bids for international Aid and development funding ensuring continuity for school counselling projects. Positive results will support this case, whilst negative results will be used constructively to indicate further areas for development of counselling that can be addressed prior to the preparation of future bids.

References available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

Sara Perren

Other Authors: Cath Snape, Mary Godfrey, Krys Shelmerdine, Nancy Rowland

Professional Role: Counsellor
Institution: Gillygate Surgery Research Practice
Contact details: Gillygate Surgery Research Practice, 28 Gillygate, York YO31 7WQ
Email: saraperren@hotmail.com

ABSTRACT: Paper

Is there a long-term impact of counselling? An assessment of the impact of counselling over the longer term: a qualitative study to explore users' views

Aims: To investigate whether there is lasting impact meaningful to service-users 1-3 years after counselling. To explore users' understanding of the processes by which counselling achieves change.

Design: Qualitative study: in-depth interviews and written responses. 16 NHS Primary Care counselling services in Yorkshire invited participation from people who attended counselling 1 - 3 years ago. Free text responses to 5 open questions provided data from people not wishing to be interviewed. 234 invitations sent. 39 people offered interviews, 56 completed questionnaires. 15 people interviewed. Interviews recorded and data transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis. The project approved by South Humber NHS ethics committee.

Findings: Analysis focused on:

1) Long-term impacts: Improved relationships, increased self esteem, increased capacity to take/share responsibility, greater sense of agency. Some said counselling started a process, others had absorbed it into life.
2) Process: Where impact was maintained it seemed that elements in the counselling process had built upon each other: Elements such as: timing; relationship with counsellor; being heard; tools/techniques; making changes between sessions; understanding impact of the past; coming to own solution; mutual ending.
3) No long-term impact: Some indicated that counselling after bereavement did not benefit them long-term. Others struggled to derive benefit from particular counselling approaches.

Research limitations: Small scale pilot study. Limited resources dictated number of interviews undertaken and restricted depth of analysis of rich data.

Value: Counselling is one treatment option in Primary Care for mental health problems. Little is known about its long-term impact. This study researches users' views about why and how they achieve and maintain improvements in life situation and mental health after counselling, thereby contributing new information to the debate about the value and cost effectiveness of counselling.

Preliminary Conclusions: For the majority there was long-term impact. People described changes which outcome measures such as CORE or HADS would not routinely indicate: constructive behaviour change; kindness, equality or realism in relationships; moving on from the past. The processes leading to these impacts are multi-layered -not reducible to counsellor, client or context. Further analysis will enable us to identify these elements and suggest how they interact to produce sustained impact.

Funded originally by a Yorkshire Primary Care Research Network (YReN) research bursary. Currently funded by BACP's seed-corn funding research award.

back to top

Pauline Phillips and Anne Lawton

Professional Roles: Nursing Lecturers and Counsellors
Institution: School of Healthcare, University of Leeds
Contact details: Baines Wing, University of Leeds, PO Box 214, Leeds LS2 9UT
Email: a.p.phillips@leeds.ac.uk a.m.lawton@leeds.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Workshop

The use of simulated patients in the teaching of counselling skills

The rationale for this workshop is to explore the emerging themes from the use of simulated patients as a means of : -

  • developing counselling skills for practice
  • researching skills development.

This form of learning and teaching is being evaluated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in a pilot project at four universities in which clinical skills taught at university to pre-registration student nurses are to be counted as practice hours. Student evaluation will influence the decision about whether this work is supported and developed.

The literature suggests that mental health nurses spend a very limited amount of time in therapeutic engagement with their clients despite the expressed desire of patients for someone to get to know them and understand them. It is argued that unless mental health nurses are enabled, through education, training and supervision, to engage in therapeutic relationships with their patients ‘then the potential of the nurse as a powerful and dynamic therapeutic resource will remain largely untapped' (Cameron et al 2005, p71).

The reflective experimental practice model of skill acquisition (Tomlinson, 1995) demonstrates how the ‘espoused theories' of nursing and those of counselling differ (Schon, 1991). The ‘espoused theories' of nursing relate to helping people to reach or maintain their optimum level of well-being through a problem solving approach. The ‘espoused' theories of the psychodynamic approach to counselling, however, are about the power of the unconscious, the need to be in touch with painful feelings and unacknowledged aspects of the self and the importance of owning and managing tension and uncertainty.

Discussion will focus on the use of simulated patients as an alternative to practice in an overstretched circuit of mental health clinical placements.

It will be aimed at those involved in the learning and teaching of counselling and counselling skills. It will include didactic information giving to contextualise the project, plus group work reviewing video clips of students' performance. The groups will be used to explore ways of giving constructive feedback and the overall validity of this method of skills teaching.

Useful prior reading

Donovan T, Hutchinson T and Kelly A (2003) Using simulated patients in a multiprofessional communication skills programme: reflections from the programme facilitators. European Journal of Cancer Care, 12, 123-128

back to top

Dr Andrew Reeves

Other Author: Liz Coldridge

Professional Role: University Counsellor, The University of Liverpool
Institution: The University of Salford
Contact details: The University of Liverpool, 14 Oxford Street, Liverpool L69 7WX
Email: A.Reeves@liverpool.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

The meeting of paradigms: a qualitative study exploring the experience of counsellors using ‘CORE-OM' data in a dialogic assessment of suicide risk with university students

Aims/Purpose/Approach: Student suicide risk is an important consideration for higher education counselling services, often with large waiting lists for therapy. CORE-OM, a nationally validated outcome measure, is increasingly used to prioritise clients for allocation based on risk scores. This qualitative study explored how counsellors used CORE-OM in their dialogic-based assessment interviews to assess suicide risk in a student population.

Design/Methodology: Six counsellors from two UK universities participated in semi-structured interviews. The transcript data was analysed using a constant comparative approach. This study was given ethics approval.

Results/Findings: Fourteen primary categories were identified, grouped under four headings: general thoughts about CORE-OM; CORE-OM and the therapeutic process; assessing suicide risk; CORE-OM, the institution and the counsellor. Results suggested that CORE-OM was useful in structuring a counselling assessment interview, ‘flagging' particular areas of concern, including suicide potential, and helped in the naming of suicide by counsellors. Several participants talked of discrepancies in levels of risk as identified by CORE-OM and that identified by their dialogic assessment. The validity of CORE-OM when used in isolation to inform decisions about how clients are prioritised for allocation was questioned. Some participants felt that CORE-OM risk data would be given greater prominence to a dialogic based assessment in the event of discrepancy, as services might fear duty of care implications in the event of client suicide.

Research Limitations: As the study was self-funded, only two universities were contacted. Greater variation in gender and age of counsellors together with length of experience in practice would have added to the study.

Originality/Value: Whilst CORE-OM as been subjected to extensive research, little investigation has been undertaken looking at counsellor's experience of using CORE-OM in conjunction with a dialogic assessment of suicide risk. This is a valuable area of enquiry given the extensive use of CORE-OM, increasing mental health distress in a student population and counsellors' professional and ethical requirements to appropriately respond to risk.

Conclusions/Implications: This study suggests that CORE-OM has value when used in conjunction with a dialogic assessment of suicide risk. However, counselling services should be cautious in using it as a stand-alone instrument to inform decisions about allocation of potentially higher risk clients.

References:

Bewick, B. M., McBridge, J. & Barkham, M. (2006). When clients and practioners have differing views of risk: Benchmarks for improving assessment and practice. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 6 (1): 50 - 60.

Rana, R., Smith, E. & Walking, J. (1999). Degrees of Disturbance - the New Agenda: The impact of increasing levels of psychological disturbance amongst students in higer education. Rugby:

back to top

Edward H Robinson III (poster 1)

Other Author: Jennifer R. Curry, Doctoral Candidate
Other Presenter: Sandra Robinson, Ph.D.

Professional Role: Professor, Heintzelman Eminent Scholar Chair
Institution: University of Central Florida
Contact details: Child, Family and Community Sciences, 4000 Central Florida Blvd. Orlando, FL 32816
Email: erobinso@mail.ucf.edu

ABSTRACT: Poster

Broadmead: Reflections from the past of unselfish caring

Aims/Purpose/Approach: The purpose of this study was to explore the potential applicability of a proposed model of altruistic behavior. Due to the limited amount of empirical research on altruism, and its originations, the authors proposed a conceptual framework for the contributing factors of altruism. This framework contained a triadic base of biological factors, social learning, and cognitions.

Design/Methodology: Due to the exploratory nature the authors chose to employ a qualitative research approach with a case study design through in-depth interviewing. Purposive sampling was utilized. Participants were 38 members of a Quaker retirement community in Maryland. Institutional Review Board approval was obtained and access to recruit participants was granted by the Quaker residential community. Participation was voluntary. Interviews were conducted and questions about caring acts, role modeling, the development of pro-social caring, and longitudinal lifespan reflections were given by participants. All interviews were recorded via IPOD technology and were transcribed. Data was analyzed and emergent themes were identified.

Results/Findings: Results indicated a fourth component missing from the original conceptual framework (spirituality) and confirmed the other three. Further analysis resulted in information about the manifestation of altruism throughout the lifespan including in career and community relationships (civic responsibility).

Research Limitations: Specific population, limitations based on the age of participants (some had difficulty clearly remembering incidents from early life)

Originality/Value: No prior in-depth qualitative study of altruism was located in the literature by the research team

Conclusions/Implications: Implications include career selection and altruistic caring, strategies for promoting caring in children, and further conceptual understanding to assist the research team in designing a quantitative instrument for measuring altruism as a potential screening tool for counselor training programs.

References:

Eisenberg, N., Guthrie, I. K., Murphy, B. C., Shepard, S. A., Cumberland, A., & Carlo, G. (1999). Consistency and development of prosocial dispositions: A longitudinal study. Child Development, 70(6), 1360-1372.

McGuire, A. (2003). "It was nothing"-Extending evolutionary models of altruism by two social cognitive biases in judgments of the costs and benefits of helping. Social Cognition, 21(5), 363-394.

Zahn-Waxler, C., Radke-yarrow, M., Wagner, E., & Chapman, M. (1992). Development of concern for others. Developmental Psychology, 28(1).

back to top

Edward H Robinson III (poster 2)

Other Presenters: Mark E. Young, Elizabeth R. O'Brien, Jennifer R. Curry, Samantha Chromy

Professional Role: Professor
Institution: University of Central Florida
Contact details: College of Education, PO Box 161250; Orlando, FL 32816
Email: erobinso@mail.ucf.edu

ABSTRACT: Poster

Promoting best practices in counselling and counsellor education utilizing a university community counselling clinic research database

Aims/Purpose/Approach: Actively engaging in data collection and research is paramount to maintaining and improving the quality of counselling practice. In order to do so, the University of Central Florida has established a Community Counselling Clinic that serves several functions: a training facility for beginning counsellors and counsellor educators, a free clinic that serves the community of Orlando, and a data collection site for ongoing research and program evaluation.

Design/Methodology: The UCF Community Counseling Clinic has received approval from the University's Institutional Review Board to administer psychological assessments to both clients and counselling student. Students are given several instruments, such as personality inventories, assessments of holistic wellness, and psychological distress measures, throughout their three year enrolment in course work. Symptom distress measures and other relevant assessments are given to clients during treatment.

Results/Findings: Amassing a quality database has been an ongoing task of the Counsellor Education department over the past three years. Both students and faculty are beginning to utilize the data for research purposes, and preliminary analysis of some data has shown interesting results with many implications for the counselling profession. Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of students in a practicum working with clients, which has major implications for the ethical practice of a training clinic. The use of reflecting teams has been demonstrated to be effective with clients. Other studies have focused on the relationship between counsellor wellness and client outcomes, counsellor skills and client outcome, counsellor self efficacy and wellness and client satisfaction and client outcomes.

Research Limitations: Currently, the University of Central Florida is attempting to develop a consortium of university counselling clinics throughout the eastern United States. However, present data collection is limited to the central Florida area.

Originality/Value: The presenters will explore issues of developing a battery of assessments that were useful for a varied population, the importance of establishing specific research goals and methodologies to ensure quality research, and issues of procuring ongoing funding for a consortium of university research clinics

Conclusions/Implications: Creating a research clinic is practical and useful for both counsellors and counsellor educators. Establishing a baseline of practice and creating partnerships is one way to promote the wellbeing and improvement of treatment options for counselling clients.

back to top

Alistair Ross

Professional Role: Lecturer, Counsellor and Trainer
Institution: School of Public Policy, University of Birmingham
Contact details: University of Birmingham, Weoley Park Road, Birmingham B29 6LL
Email: j.a.ross@bham.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

Psychoanalytic interviewing: interviewing psychoanalysts on religion and spirituality

Aim: To describe the use of a reflexive interview method, examining areas traditionally neglected by psychoanalysts.

Methodology: Six psychoanalysts, psychoanalytic psychotherapists/psychologists (British and American) were interviewed once by the author over a four month period. They were selected on the basis of having published on the engagement between psychoanalysis, religion, spirituality and culture. An initial contact was made via e-mail or letter, followed by an introduction to the researcher, the area of research and some possible interview questions. A semi-structured interview approach was adopted lasting between 55-80 minutes. A research journal recording dreams, transferential and counter-transferential thoughts and feelings was maintained throughout the same period by the interviewer.

Results: The interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed to determine meaning/s generated by practising psychoanalysts concerning the nature of contemporary psychoanalysis, religion and spirituality. The co-constructed narrative of the interview was also analysed using psychoanalytic concepts and techniques: dreams; slips of the tongue; ‘forgetting'; projective identification; transference and countertransference to form an interpretation of interview experience as if it were a psychoanalytic session by the interviewer. Initial results suggest that a good working alliance generates meaning rich data, which is further enriched by the addition of psychoanalytic insights. Key findings include: the influence of culture on religion and spirituality prior to psychoanalytic training; and encountering an increased approach desire for meaning from clients.

Research limitations: the psychoanalytic interview is from the perspective of the interviewer. The development of this reflexive methodology would be for the psychoanalyst being interviewed to maintain a journal, resulting in a further co-construction of knowledge.

Originality: While the psychoanalytic interview/case study has been examined by Kvale (1999), and Holloway & Jefferson (2000) use psychoanalytic concepts in an interview context, there is limited research on the interview process as a form of psychoanalytic research. This is therefore proposed as a relatively new and evolving methodology for qualitative interviewing (Fontana & Frey 2005).

Implications: Further research with a larger sample would add to these initial findings and contribute to the emerging debate within contemporary psychoanalysis about the role of religion and spirituality, both in terms of cultural engagement and clinical practice.

References:

Fontana, A. & Frey, J. (2005). The interview - from neutral stance to political involvement, in Denzin & Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage handbook of qualitative research: Third edition. London: Sage.

Hollway, W. & Jefferson, T. (2000). Doing qualitative research differently; free association, narrative and the interview method. London: Sage.

Kvale, S. (1999). The psychoanalytic interview as qualitative research. Qualitative Inquiry, 5 (1): 87-113.

back to top

Ann Scott

Professional Role: Psychotherapist
Institution: Manchester University
Contact details: Rue du Faisan 45, 1420 Braine L'Alleud, Belgium
Email: as@counselling-therapy.eu

ABSTRACT: Paper

A heuristic exploration of the effect of qualitative research on the novice researcher

Aims/Purpose/Approach: The research followed personal experience of completing a Masters Research Project and being in contact with others similarly engaged. The approach is heuristic, aiming to explore the essence of the experience.

Design/Methodology: Ethical approval was obtained via School of Education, Manchester University. Six co-researchers interviewed had recently finished Masters' dissertations in psychotherapy, using qualitative methodology. The procedure outlined by Moustakas (1990) was used to support a heuristic exploration of the topic, conducting semi-structured interviews and analysing data thematically. The body of literature addressing this topic is not large. Some indicate profound effects on novice researchers (Etherington, 2005, Etherington, 2004, Etherington, 2001, Reisetter et al., 2003). One co-researcher's experience is presented as an exemplar. This is followed by a discussion of the issues raised, illustrated by quotes from other co-researchers. The study concludes with a creative synthesis, an expression of the experience under investigation as understood by the researcher.

Results/Findings: Enmeshment of researcher with research topic was common, although the co-researchers were psychotherapists, trained to separate out themselves from their clients in clinical work. There was concern about the appropriateness of supervision offered. Guidance for the mechanics of research was adequate, but there was insufficient support for students working through the heuristic process. Some became so lost in the process that they could not access the available supervision.

Research Limitations: This study was conducted with only six co-researchers. They were of one academic year as they needed to be not too far removed in time from their experience.

Originality/Value: There is a paucity of literature on this subject. Much research on research is focussed on outcomes rather than on the research process itself.

Conclusions/Implications: The findings raise important questions about the supervision needed to support qualitative and particularly heuristic studies at Masters Level and whether or not it is good practice to encourage it.

References available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

Pnina Shinebourne and Martin Adams

Professional Role (PS): Psychotherapist/PhD Student
Institution: Birkbeck, University of London
Contact details: School of Psychology, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX
Email: p.shinebourne@psychology.bbk.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

Therapists' understandings and experiences of working with clients with problems of addiction: a pilot study using Q methodology

Aims/Purpose/Approach: Exploring therapists' subjective understandings, attitudes, beliefs and experiences in working with clients with problems of addiction. Another objective was to test the feasibility of using Q-methodology for qualitative research in psychotherapy.

Design/Methodology: Q methodology is considered particularly suitable for researching the range and diversity of subjective understandings, beliefs and experiences. At the same time it has a powerful capacity for thematic identification and analysis. Using a purposive sample, thirteen therapists were selected to reflect a range of theoretical orientations, variety of agencies, years of work experience and supervisory experience in the field.
Participants sorted a set of statements representing a broad diversity of opinions and perspectives on addiction. Each participant was interviewed following the sorting. A statistical package (PCQ) correlates the sorts of each participant, identifying a number of factors representing the shared forms of understandings. Each factor is then interpreted based on the ranking assigned to each statement, incorporating participants' comments from the post-sorting interview.

Results/Findings: Four distinctive factors are identified, indicating divergent understandings of addiction. These are manifest in contrasting views on abstinence, on controlled drinking, on the suitability of the harm reduction approach, and on the possibility of recovering from addiction. Equally notable are contrasting attitudes towards clients, ranging from compassion and acceptance of "difficult" behaviour to feelings of being manipulated, frustrated and anxious and doubting competence as a therapist.

Research Limitations: The small number of participants possibly limits the range of interpretations. Originality/Value: Previous research on therapists' understandings, attitudes and experiences of working with clients affected by addiction is limited. Therefore findings from this study contribute to understanding the complex relationship between theoretical orientation, personal values and beliefs, and actual therapeutic practice. This study demonstrates the suitability of using Q-methodology in psychotherapy research.

Conclusions/Implications: The diversity of understandings, feelings and attitudes towards clients with problems of addiction and the challenges they present to therapists' competence, indicate a need for specific training and supervision.

References:

Watts, S. & Stenner, P. (2005). Doing Q methodology: theory, method and interpretation. Qualitative Research in Psychology. 2: 67-91

Najavits, L. et al. (1995). Therapists' emotional reactions to substance abusers: a new questionnaire and initial findings. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 32 (4): 669-677

back to top

Lesley Spencer

Professional Role: Senior Lecturer in Counselling
Institution: University of Wales, Newport
Contact details: University of Wales, Newport, All-t-yr-yn Campus, P.O.Box 180, Newport, NP20 5XR
Email: lesley.spencer@newport.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Workshop

Assessing the personal development aspect of counselling training. How can we ensure our training programmes are helping to produce better counsellors?

Please note: this workshop will be recorded; you will be asked to sign your consent if attending (details of the recording, its purpose and use are in the handout).

This workshop will explore some of the dilemmas counselling trainers face when designing and facilitating personal development (PD) training programmes. It will briefly examine the narrative research findings (Spencer 2006), which emerged from a focus group of Diploma in Counselling tutors discussing the effectiveness of an experimental PD training programme, which they had facilitated at the University of Wales, Newport in 2004.

The workshop will explore questions that emerged from this research such as what we really mean by personal development in relation to counselling training? Also how can counselling trainers assess whether their PD training programmes effectively contribute to enabling students to ‘personally develop' into better counsellors? This lack of transparency in what is considered to be a fundamental part of counselling training is echoed by Wheeler (2000), Irving & Williams (2001), and latterly by Donati & Watts (2005) who have attempted to clarify the concepts, but also point to the need for clarity of goals, purpose, criteria and methods of assessment in relation to PD training. All have suggested further research is essential.

Some of the dilemmas also explored in this research (Spencer 2006) are, is it possible to design PD training programmes that will suit all learning styles? How do we encourage quieter students to participate more actively? The Tutors in this preliminary study concluded that a varied PD programme had been valuable. However they found it harder to fairly assess (by observation only) whether students who were quiet or less active were deriving benefits and learning from the experimental PD programme activities or whether they were ‘going through the motions'. Additional results from student data will also be briefly explored.

Workshop participants will be invited to engage in discussing the training dilemmas that emerge from this study in the light of their own experience as students, practitioners and trainers. This discussion will take an action research format and will be recorded for research purposes. It is intended to be an opportunity for people in the field to share the learning from their own training programmes as well as to encourage further debate in the profession.

References available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

Dr Sheila Spong

Professional Role: Senior Lecturer in Counselling
Institution: University of Wales Newport
Contact details: School of Health and Social Sciences,University of Wales Newport, Caerleon Campus, PO Box 179, Newport, NP18 3YG
Email: sheila.spong@newport.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

What can discourse analysis offer counselling and psychotherap research?

Discourse analysis (DA) refers to an established range of approaches to studying texts, which have only recently become prominent in counselling and psychotherapy research.

This paper discusses some different forms of DA and what they can offer counselling. I consider examples of the analysis of therapeutic interactions, such as how counsellors respond to suicide talk (Reeves et al. 2004), and the analysis of written texts that are important to practice, for example Crowe's (2000) work on DSM. I also look at how we can use DA to understand more about the broader discourses of counselling and psychotherapy, as in Guilfoyle's (2002) work on power in therapy relationships. DA enables us to critically analyse written and oral texts, in order to better understand our therapeutic practice within its social and political context. It emphasises how the language and concepts that are available to us shape our work at many levels.

There are, however, some important ways in which a discourse analytic framework is discordant with traditional counselling perspectives (McLeod 2001). Using DA can challenge us to reconsider our understanding of agency, the self, and the nature of communication, and the significance of these issues for practice.

This paper is intended to be interactive and formative. I hope those attending will jointly explore the usefulness of DA research for counselling and psychotherapy.

References:

Crowe, M. (2000) Constructing normality: a discourse analysis of the DSM - IV. Journal of Psychiatric Nursing 7(1): 69 - 77.

Guilfoyle, M. (2002) Power, knowledge and resistance in therapy: exploring the links between discourse and materiality. International Journal of Psychotherapy 7(1): 83 - 97.

McLeod, J. (2001) Qualitative Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy. London, Sage.

Reeves, A., R. Bowl, S. Wheeler and E. Guthrie (2004) The hardest words: exploring the dialogue of suicide in the counselling process - a discourse analysis. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research 4(1): 62-71.

back to top

Faith Stafford

Professional Role: Counsellor, Supervisor, Coach/consultant, Trainer
Institution: Private Practice
Contact details: 54 Beacon Lane, Exeter EX4 8LL
Email: faith@faithstafford.co.uk

ABSTRACT: Poster

Why we tell stories: heroes, scapegoats and the collective need

Aims/Purpose/Approach: Drawing on literature, mythology, the media, observation and experience, this study aims to make sense of the role heroes and scapegoats play in our lives. The study proposes that human beings need heroes and scapegoats and that this need is universal and timeless. Twelve semi-structured interviews with ex-clients, will be used to gain rich data on the experience of clients who have completed a successful period of therapy. It is suggested that this research will deepen the understanding of the human psyche, and will be of use to those working with people in a range of settings both individual and group.

Design/Methodology: There are two strands to the research design: one focusing on phenomena such as myths and stories, how perpetuated and disseminated; and one focusing on the narratives of ex therapy clients. These will not be my own clients. Narrative Analysis and Narrative Inquiry inform the research. Hermeneutics is involved in seeking meaning to gain new perspectives on human experience and motivation. As narrator, reflexivity is a cornerstone of my study. Relating the findings from two areas should achieve triangulation. Approval via ethics committee.

Results/Findings: Findings from first strand and from pilot of interviews should be available by May 07. Initial findings: by identifying with the hero, we are affirmed; by projecting the bad onto the scapegoat, we are absolved. I seek to establish which part of the Self is restored to health through these processes. I hope to compare with the process for the client who is empowered.

Research Limitations: Ultimately, I will be making the connections between the two areas of research. Reflexivity and bracketing cannot be cast-iron guarantees. There can be no claim for generalisability.

Originality/Value: Jung, Rogers and others have sought to illuminate the understanding of how humans function at the deepest psychological and spiritual levels. This research seeks to add to that understanding.

Conclusions/Implications (including practical implications):
In increasing understanding of the human psyche, this research could be of use to all those who work with people in individual and group settings.

References:

Jung, C. G. (1964). Man & his Symbols. London: Aldus Books Ltd.

Rogers, C. (1961). On Becoming a Person: A Therapit's View of Psychotherapy. New York: Houghton Mifflin

Bruner, J. (1990). Acts of Meaning. Cambridge Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

back to top

Dr Léonie Sugarman

Professional Role: Senior Lecturer in Psychology
Institution: School of Applied Social Sciences, St Martin's College
Contact details: School of Applied Social Sciences, St Martin's College, Lancaster LA1 3JD
Email: l.sugarman@ucsm.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

Therapeutic dress: why counsellors wear what they do

Aims/Purpose/Approach: This paper examines the role of dress in the creation, communication and maintenance of counsellors' professional identity, and explores how counsellors' definition and practice of ‘dressing the part' is used to facilitate the therapeutic relationship.
Dress is a potent communicator of identity, and its location at the margins of the body creates a boundary that is, on the one hand, intimate and personal, and, on the other, public and social. ‘Becoming a professional' involves assimilating explicit and, perhaps more interestingly, implicit dress codes. For counsellors, the significance of the self in professional identity and client relationships intensifies the issue. If ‘self' is the most significant factor counsellors bring to the therapeutic relationship, how do they decide what to wear? Should clothes always be an honest and open reflection of the self? Is image and impression management inevitably inauthentic?

Design/Methodology: Data comes from trainee counsellors, recently qualified counsellors, and experienced practitioner-trainers, through interviews, focus groups and diaries.

Results/Findings: Dress emerged as strongly symbolic, and dress choice as an emotionally charged, but often unarticulated, internal discourse between our sense of self (‘who we are'), the anticipated gaze of our audience (primarily clients and colleagues), and the clothes we might choose. It is a discourse grounded in strongly felt, although sometimes implicit, moral precepts.

Research Limitations: The research is exploratory, the sample size is small, and all participants work from the person-centred perspective.

Originality/Value: There is a literature on dress in relation to gender, sexual, political and ethnic identity, and in relation to many professions. However, it is almost entirely absent from the counselling literature and appears peripheral to counselling training.

Conclusions/Implications (including practical implications): The issue of dress engaged both the heart and the mind of participants. It provided a tangible vehicle for exploring issues of professional identity, and also of personal values, self-esteem, presentation of self, and relationships with both clients and colleagues.

References available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

Sandra Taylor

Professional Role: Senior Lecturer in Counselling. (At the time of the research I was a volunteer for VSO in Nepal working as a Counselling Adviser)
Institution: St. Martin's College, Lancaster
Contact details: Counselling Section, St. Martin's College, Room 325, Storey House, White Cross, Lancaster LA1 4XQ
Email: sandra.taylor@ucsm.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

HIV and Nepali people's experience of counselling

Aims/Purpose/Approach: This paper focuses on two aspects of a larger piece of research on HIV and AIDS counselling in Nepal. First, it examines what distinguished the interviewees who had received counselling from those who hadn't, and, secondly, investigates clients' experience of counselling.

Design/Methodology: Ninety two HIV plus people from several regions of Nepal were invited to discuss their experience of counselling through structured interviews using questionnaires. Interviews took place in a variety of organisations. The interviewers were Nepali research assistants who had been involved from an early stage in the project. Some interviews also included the English researcher, with the Nepali research assistants interpreting.

Results/Findings: Counselling has become increasingly accessible in Nepal over the last two years, although more than one third of the HIV+ people interviewed had not experienced counselling. Some inequalities in access to counselling were revealed - males, those under 30 years of age, and those who were literate being more likely to have had counselling. While Nepali counsellors had received little training compared with Northern counsellors 93% of clients said that it had been of help.

Research Limitations: As the researcher and the interviewees did not share a common language it was necessary to use Nepali research assistants and structured interviews based on a questionnaire. A few of the questions did not easily fit Nepali culture. Unrest in the country made it unsafe to visit some areas.

Originality/Value: The findings add to the body of knowledge already in existence regarding client satisfaction and accessibility of counselling. It is unique in that it explores the current situation in Nepal and provides an opportunity to compare issues with studies from other countries with similar, and different, client groups.

Conclusions/Implications: Currently counselling is not equally accessible to people in Nepal and further developments need to focus on reducing the current disparities. Counselling still needs to be expanded and there is a need for more consideration to be given to the counselling needs of those who were diagnosed as HIV+ prior to counselling being routinely offered.

References available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

Jeff Thomas and Monika Jephcott

Presented by: Lynne Souter-Anderson

Professional Role (JT): Director of Research, Communications and Systems
Institution: PTUK - The United Kingdom Society of Play and Creative Arts Therapies
Contact details: Fern Hill Centre, Oldland's Hill, Fairwarp, Uckfield, East Sussex, TN22 3BU
Email: jefferyht@yahoo.co.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

Clinical outcomes of non-talking therapy with children at primary schools

Aims/Purpose/Approach:
1. To provide a systematic way of recording clinical outcomes demonstrating the efficacy of play and creative arts therapies.
2. Establish a national database of outcomes to provide bench marks derived from practice based evidence
3. Provide a platform for more detailed research in the near future

Purpose: To establish the feasibility of the approach and to provide evidence to convince commissioners of services that play and creative arts therapies are a good investment.

Approach: Instigate a programme of continuous research as a by-product of everyday practice and clinical governance using one well established clinical and one newly developed simple social objectives measure. A relational database management system is used to manipulate the data.
Design/Methodology: The sample frame is all children referred to PTUK members, or students, for therapy in primary schools. It is believed that the 729 children currently recorded provides a representative sample of children with emotional, behaviour and mental health problems. The number of cases is expected to grow to 1000 by May 2007. The primary measuring instrument used is the Goodman's SDQ. The research conforms to the PTUK ethical framework (based on BACP's).

Results/Findings: 77% of the children showed a positive change in the total difficulties domain. 65% of the children showed a positive change in the pro-social domain. More detailed findings showing the changes by the severity of the problem age, gender, main modality and number of sessions will be presented.

Research Limitations: The findings are based upon overall models of play and creative arts therapy, not specific therapeutic tools nor the attributes of the therapists.

Originality/Value: As far as is known, the measurement of the efficacy of these therapies has not been undertaken on such a large scale in the UK before. The data has been used successfully to secure placements and to obtain funding for services.

Conclusions/Implications: The project has established the feasibility of the approach. PTUK is seeking to make outcome measures a requirement of practice. Practitioners require appropriate software to assist data capture, validation and analysis.

References: www.sdqinfo.com

back to top

Ladislav Timulak

Professional Role: Course Director, MSc in Counselling Psychology
Institution: Trinity College Dublin
Contact details: School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland
Email: timulakl@tcd.ie

ABSTRACT: Paper

Meta-analysis of qualitative studies: a tool of accumulation of qualitative research findings in counselling and psychotherapy.

A growing number of psychotherapy studies using qualitative approaches to research call for the cumulative assessment of findings. First attempts of cumulative work on qualitative studies of psychotherapy can be found in several recent publications using a classical review format that presents brief structured summaries of different studies.

While summaries of qualitative research studies have been published in psychotherapy research literature, the cumulative assessment of findings emerging from qualitative psychotherapy studies investigating the same research topic has not been attempted much through using empirical analysis. The basic idea is that it would be helpful to develop a more comprehensive perspective on the studied phenomenon, across several qualitative studies, by use of empirical tools of a qualitative nature, that could be compatible with the methodological framework of the original studies. Inspiration for that endeavor was taken from quantitative meta-analytic studies; however in a qualitative framework this initiative is framed as an attempt to undertake a rigorous secondary qualitative analysis of primary qualitative findings.

This presentation shows an example of a rigorous secondary analysis of primary qualitative findings and discusses utility, possibilities, and shortcomings of the qualitative meta-analytic method. The presentation will also focus on different qualitative meta-analytic approaches that have been proposed in recent years in the field of nursing, under different labels, such as qualitative meta-analysis, qualitative meta-synthesis, meta-ethnography, grounded formal theory, meta-study or meta-summary. The advantages as well as limitations of the qualitative meta-analysis method will be discussed.

back to top

Wendy Traynor

Professional Role: Doctoral student
Institution: University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
Contact details: Counselling Unit, University of Strathclyde, 76 Southbrae Drive, Glasgow G13 1PP
Email: Wendy.Traynor@strath.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

A study of the perceived effectiveness of person-centred practice with clients who experience psychotic process: a qualitative interview study

Aims/Purpose/Approach: This study aimed to explore British person-centred practitioners' perceptions of the effectiveness of person-centred practice (including pre-therapy) with clients who experience psychotic process.(Warner,2001) The study focused on what practitioners viewed as any variation from usual practice with other client groups and perceived client outcomes. Related studies include Rogers et al 1967 and Teusche et al 1983.This research was conducted as phase one of a multi-method doctoral research study.

Design/Methodology: The University of Strathclyde granted ethical approval and participants were sought via national journals, websites and networking. Twenty person-centred practitioners were interviewed using prompts and transcripts were produced. Data was analysed using grounded theory.

Results/Findings: Emerging themes in perceived useful practice include named specific responses to psychotic content, "getting beyond labels and illness" and specific attention to boundary issues. The importance of specific core conditions and other areas of focus are also frequently named. The most commonly named explicit method of practice is pre-therapy which is typically seen as effective or very effective. The findings also highlight the importance of specific contextual issues which are clearly crucial in working with complex client process. The perceived therapeutic outcome most named is the increased social adjustment and ability of the client to be connected and in relationship with the therapist and others. Some clients also showed improvement in mood, resilience and other areas.

Research Limitations: Limitations include the small sample size and bias in practitioners interpreting their own work.

Originality/Value: This research is needed to build an evidence base and an understanding of effectiveness and best practice.

Conclusions/Implications: (including practical implications): Results suggest that PCT is effective with psychotic process, with particularly positive outcomes in relation to clients' increased ability to be with and relate to others and participate in activities. I am carrying out further research in response to findings.

References available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

Ms Sarah Turner and Mr Neil Gibson

Other Authors: Dr Christine Bennetts, Dr. Cheryl Hunt

Professional Role: PhD Student
Institution: Exeter University
Contact details: 53 Perse Way, Cambridge. CB4 3AN
Email: Sarah.K.Turner@exeter.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Poster

The learning and change that two trainee counsellors and psychotherapists experience as a result of their client work: a ‘co-operative self-search inquiry'

Purpose: This study was carried out in order to gain an in-depth and longitudinal understanding of the learning and change that trainee counsellors and psychotherapists experience as a result of their client work. In particular, it focuses on the learning experiences of the two researchers: a counselling trainee (studying integrative counselling, and also a PhD student), and a psychotherapy trainee (studying existential psychotherapy).

Methodology: Our ‘co-operative self-search inquiry' made use of the heuristic research methodology (Moustakas, 1990), taking into account Sela-Smith's (2002) critique, to which some of the principles of the co-operative inquiry methodology (Heron, 1998) have been added. The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Exeter University's School of Education and Lifelong Learning. Over a period of nine months, we each recorded our learning experiences, as they happened, in journals. We also met at five different times to discuss and reflect on our data, and to plan the next stage of our study. Between us, we produced a total of 47 journal entries, many of which were one A4 page or more in length.

Findings: In line with Moustakas (1990), we have used our journal entries to produce individual portraits describing our learning and change individually, as well as a composite depiction and a creative synthesis, which represent our combined experiences. These include details of what we learnt, in what forms and contexts this learning arose in, and how our learning experiences have affected us.

Research limitations: Although our study focuses on the learning and change of only two trainee therapists within a fixed period of time, it is anticipated that the findings will be of interest to others.

Originality/Value: As far as we know, no research has been carried out on the learning and change that trainee counsellors and psychotherapists experience as a result of their client work by trainee counsellors and psychotherapists themselves.

Conclusions: The findings of our research provide a valuable insight into the experiences of two trainee therapists, and will be of particular interest to other current trainees, potential trainees, trainers and training organisations, as well as supervisors.

References:

Heron, J. (1996). Co-operative Inquiry: Research into the Human Condition. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Moustakas, C. (1990). Heuristic Research, Design, Methodology and Applications. California: Sage.

Sela-Smith, S. (2002). Heuristic Research: A Review and Critique of Moustakas' Method. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 53-88.

back to top

Dr Andreas Vossler and Terry Hanley

Professional Role (AV): Senior Lecturer in Counselling Psychology
Institution: London Metropolitan University, Department of Psychology
Contact details: Calcutta House, Old Castle Street, E1 7NT
Email: a.vossler@londonmet.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Workshop

Online counselling - meeting the needs of young people in post-modern societies?

Rationale: The conditions of growing up in post-modern western societies have gone through dramatic changes and are still in flux. Young people are confronted with growing uncertainties and discontinuities concerning their everyday life resulting in the increased need for orientation and support. New youth friendly approaches of counselling mirror these changes in the living conditions and try to meet the needs of the young generation. In doing so online counselling services have begun to be developed and are crossing cultures and creating unprecedented challenges for therapists. To date these issues have received little attention within the therapeutic world and this workshop hopes to bring them into the spotlight by creating a dialogue which focuses upon UK and German experiences.

Links to wider research: Research into this area generally focuses upon the practical nuances of offering online counselling or the outcomes of such work, cultural considerations, such as the person's country of origin, race, ethnicity or minoritised status, are often only mentioned as an adjunct to the major study. However, as the Internet brings cultures closer together, discussion of difference becomes even more important and can help us to understand the transferability of studies conducted in other countries.

What the workshop covers: Within this workshop we will initially introduce two online counselling services for young people - the first based in the UK and the second in Germany. Attendees will then be invited to work in small groups to reflect on the two presentations and to discuss several case studies of work conducted in each setting. A large group discussion about the perceived similarities and differences between the two services will end the session.

Who it may be of interest to: Those presently engaged in therapeutic practice online, who work with young people, or are interested in cross-cultural counselling may be interested in this workshop. As the session also echoes a live research model those involved in the development of research skills training within counsellor training packages may also find the session of interest.

back to top

Dr Tony Ward

Professional Role: Head of Psychology
Institution: Newman College of HE
Contact details: Newman College of HE, Bartley Green, Birmingham, B32 3NT.
Email: a.ward@newman.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Poster

The experiences in counselling of persons with ME

Aims/Purpose/Approach: To find out the experiences of persons with ME, both positive and negative, of different types of counselling.

Design/Methodology: The study was approved by the college ethics committee. Twenty five persons with ME were interviewed about their experiences of counselling, and the interview transcripts subject to thematic analysis following grounded theory principles.

Results/Findings: The participants had experienced a wide variety of different modes of counselling, including CBT, psychodynamic, person centred and eclectic/integrative. Participants described their experiences in both positive and negative terms. It is suggested that counselling outcomes with this group are dependent upon expectations, and these expectations may differ widely from one client to the next (e.g. see Bentall et al, 2002, who refer to the range of views such clients have of their condition). All of our participants perceived their ME to be a physical condition with physiological roots, and this was frequently the source of client / counsellor mismatch. Where clients expect the symptoms of their ME to be ameliorated by counselling, the outcome is invariably negative, regardless of the approach used. Perceptions of psychodynamic counselling were invariably negative, which seems to reflect the fact that clients tend not to locate their issues in the distant past. On the other hand, clients frequently expressed satisfaction at being able to work on the difficulties encountered when suffering from such a widely misunderstood condition (e.g. see Clark and James, 2003).

Research Limitations: All the participants were recruited via the ME user groups, in response to an announcement, which might limit generalisability. The number of participants who had experienced some types of counselling e.g. psychodynamic, was limited.

Originality/Value: There are few studies in the literature where the views and experiences of this group of users have been sought following counselling. At the same time, persons with ME are increasingly the focus of CBT oriented interventions (e.g. Bazelmans et al, 2005). User feedback will therefore be extremely useful to workers involved with this client group.

Conclusions/Implications (including practical implications): Counsellors should carefully consider the expectations of their clients when offering services to this group, and be clear about what they are able to offer.

References:

Bazelmans, E.; Huibers, M. J. H.; Bleijenberg, G. (2005). A Qualitative Analysis of the Failure of CBT for Chronic Fatigue Conducted by General Practitioners. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 33, 225-235.

Bentall, R. P.; Powell, P.; Nye, F. J.; Edwards, R. H. T. (2002). Predictors of response to treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome. British Journal of Psychiatry, 181, 248-252.

Clarke, J. N.; James, S. (2003). The radicalised self: The impact on the self of the contested nature of the diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. Social Science & Medicine, 57, 1387-1395.

back to top

Robert L Waugh

Other Author: Dr Jenny Peel, PhD, MA Education

Professional Role: Counsellor
Institution: Refugee & Asylum Seeker Project, PSS Liverpool
Contact details: Woodlands House, Victoria Road, Ince Blundell, Merseyside, L38 6JE
Email: RLWaugh@acceptancecounsellingassociates.org

ABSTRACT: Poster (This is drawn from my MA dissertation. I am now continuing the research as part of a Professional Doctorate.)

Therapist destabilisation occurring when first working with asylum seeker clients: A person-centered exploration

Aims/Purpose/Approach: To develop an understanding of therapist stressors linked to asylum seeker (A/S) work and resources found useful in relation to these, by interviewing therapists and specialist supervisors working with this client group.

Design/Methodology: Participants explained what they saw as significant about the work. This included awareness of the issues raised before working with A/S's, interconnectedness of issues, frequently and impact of the issues and what resources, if any, were helpful in relation to them. Contributions were analysed using Grounded theory. Participants verified transcriptions, analyses and findings.

Results/Findings: Consistent with the findings of Lansen and Haans (2004) and BACP (2005), the core category that emerged was the significant challenge the work represented, particularly when first engaging with A/S's. Counsellors frequently felt deskilled, questioning key beliefs about themselves, society and humanity. This was because of the differences they saw in A/S work and the new reality their clients opened up to them. When first working with A/S's feeling destabilised was the norm. This process is explained, in terms of Person-Centred theory, by referring to Rogers' (1951) XIX propositions. Fifteen differences that made the work harder were identified. These included, the UK asylum application process, clients in trauma, cultural difference and feeling powerless. Part of the last issue relates to what Wilson and Lindy (1994) name ‘over identification and disengagement counter-transference'. Some issues, such as cultural difference, made the work harder but was also seen to be beneficial; providing something to assist continued engagement. Eight resources used to maintain counsellors' wellbeing were identified, the most significant being specialist supervision.

Research Limitations: The grounded theory analysis of contributions failed to take into account body/para language of contributors and the research data represented a snapshot of participants' views, rather than a longitudinal study.

Originality/Value: This study focuses on the totality of the therapist's experience in relation to A/S work. Being aware of stressors related to the work, useful resources and processes that can occur will facilitate the wellbeing of others engaging/working in this area.

Conclusions/Implications: Normal working practices need to be changed, to ensure effective therapist support is provided, especially when first working with A/S clients.

References available on request, please email research@bacp.co.uk

back to top

Dot Weaks and John McLeod

Professional Role: Nurse Consultant in Dementia
Institution: University of Abertay Dundee in partnership with NHS Tayside
Contact details: University of Abertay Dundee, Dudhope Castle,
Email: dotweaks@nhs.net

ABSTRACT: Paper

Research as emotional process for people with alzheimer's disease

Aims/Purpose/Approach: This paper examines the evaluation of what it was like for 5 people with a diagnosis of early Alzheimer's disease and their families to participate in a research study. This paper reports on part of a wider PhD study which explored how people experiencing early dementia co- constructed the meaning of how a diagnosis of early dementia impacts on different aspects of their lives. It also considered the potential role of counselling as a means of enhancing the process of coming to terms with a diagnosis of early dementia.

Design/Methodology: There were 5 people referred into the study by Old Age Psychiatrists, within 2 weeks of their diagnosis. This study utilised a qualitative, ethnographic methodology and participants were followed up at regular intervals for a period of 6 months. The final interview was an evaluation of what it had been like being part of a research study for the people with Alzheimer's Disease and their spouses. 10 interviews are reported using a grounded theory analysis. Ethical approval was given both by the Local Research Ethics Committee (LREC) of the Health Board and the University of Abertay Dundee.

Results/Findings: Overarching theme from the analysis was ‘project as process'.
Three main themes emerging from the data of the evaluation interviews were: accepting the unknown; motivating factors; and personal process.
These three themes will be elaborated with a more detailed report focussing on the personal process. This personal process was akin to that of a counselling process.

Research Limitations: This was a small sample.

Originality/Value: This type of evaluation had not been done before with people with Alzheimer's disease, and it highlights the need to have a forum to express emotions following diagnosis

Conclusions/Implications: The benefits from the encounter of the research process and relationships are evident. The implications from this are the possibilities for the development of counselling interventions that arise from listening to the voices of the people within the study. A set of nine key therapeutic tasks were identified following this process and these will be reported on in this paper.

back to top

Dr William West

Professional Role: Reader in Counselling Studies
Institution: University of Manchester
Contact details: School of Education, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL
Email: william.west@manchester.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Workshop

Why are we researching and does it matter?

Rationale: I have recently become disillusioned with the quality and relevance of some research reports even those in peer reviewed journals. I find it increasingly easy to predict the results of both qualitative and quantitative studies and find the use of formulaic writing styles and weak discussion sections particularly disappointing. I remain passionately committed to research that is close to therapeutic practice and to human existence but seriously wonder if we need to less research more carefully focused and better disseminated.

This workshop will look at some published research papers and consider:

  • Why is this research being undertaken?
  • Who will benefit from the research - clients, practitioners, researchers, research participants, stakeholders, society at large?
  • How necessary is the research?
  • How useful are the findings and to whom?
  • How predictable are the research findings?
  • What evidence is there of surprises or new thinking emerging from the research?
  • How is the research disseminated?
  • How likely is the research to affect practice, policy, others?

I will introduce the notion of an honourable approach to research as an ethical way of moving research forward. This stance invites us to design research that profoundly honours: respondents, practitioners, the research community, other stakeholders and ourselves.

Links to wider research: It is timely for BACP researchers to reflect on the past decade of massive growth in counselling research. It is the context of this growth and of the development of the systematic reviews into many areas of counselling practiced that we need to consider carefully what research needs to be undertaken.

What delegates can expect to be covered in the workshop: Delegates will be invited to consider extracts from research papers using the above questions. I expect a lively and interactive debate will result from the issues raised.

Target audience and educational methods you intend to use: This workshop is aimed at researchers, researchers-to-be, research trainers, research stakeholders including practitioners.

Prior reading: Recent research papers in Counselling Psychotherapy Research. The BACP Ethical guidelines for researching counselling and psychotherapy.

back to top

Professor Sue Wheeler and Sophia Balamoutsou

Professional Role: Director of Counselling and Psychotherapy Programme
Institution: University of Leicester
Contact details: 128 Regent Road Leicester LE17PA
Email: sw103@leicester.ac.uk

Abstract: Workshop

Incorporating research into counselling and psychotherapy training: a strategic plan for the profession

Rationale for the workshop, including a description of how your workshop is relevant to research and practice in counselling and psychotherapy.

The Government is moving towards regulation of the psychological therapies. In December 2006 BACP commissioned an independent report to produce core competencies for counselling and psychotherapy. A core curriculum for a) Foundation Degree in Counselling/Psychotherapy,
b) An Honours Degree in Counselling/Psychotherapy, and c) A Masters Degree in Counselling/Psychotherapy is currently being produced. The core curriculum is generic to all theoretical models. Research integral to the core curriculum and in future research will need to have a high profile on all training courses that lead to regulation. This poses a challenge for many trainers who will need to enhance their own skills and experience of research in order to teach and support their students. This workshop will focus on ways in which BACP can help to prepare trainers to update their own professional development in order to fulfil current and future responsibilities with respect to research.

The aims of this workshop are a) to provide information about the core curriculum project and b) to discuss the research component of future courses. The discussions at this workshop have the potential to inform the consultation process about the core curriculum and to inform the BACP strategy for implementing changes.

There will be a brief presentation related to the core curriculum. A focused discussion will be facilitated related to the needs of trainers to implement the research aspects of it.

The tagret audience is counselling and psychotherapy trainers.

Prior Reading that would be useful for delagates to have read prior to the workshop:
BACP Core Curriculum Draft Document

back to top

Sue Wheeler and Kaye Richards

Professional Roles: (SW) Counsellor trainer and Supervisor / (KR) Research Facilitator
Institution: (SW) University of Leicester, Institute of Lifelong Learning  / (KR) BACP
Contact details: 128, Regent Road, Leicester, LE1 7PA
Email: sw103@le.ac.uk / kaye.richards@bacp.co.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

What impact does clinical supervision have on counsellors and therapists, their practice and their clients? A systematic review of literature

Background/Aims: In 2002 a scoping search of literature related to supervision was completed that identified almost four hundred research reports on various aspects of supervision (Wheeler, 2003). Rather than update that broad review a more focused review was commissioned to examine the impact of supervision on counsellors and psychotherapists, their practice and their clients. The aim was to identify research conducted since 1980 on the impact of supervision on counsellors and psychotherapists, using strict inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Method: The review was conducted using a modified version of the EPPI-Centre (Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and coordinating) (EPPI Centre, 2005) review methodology. Strict inclusion and exclusion criteria were determined. After the literature searching and citation tracking, over 8,000 studies were screened and 35 studies were deemed appropriate for inclusion in the review. 27 studies are included in the final review (8 studies were unobtainable at the time of the review). All studies included in the review were systematically evaluated using a purposely constructed pro forma.

Results: The majority of the research on supervision has been conducted in the USA and thus most studies assess the impact of supervision on trainees. The evidence indicates that supervision has a positive impact on the self-awareness, self-efficacy, and skill development of the supervisee. Preliminary evidence also suggests that supervision has a wider influence on theoretical orientation, and the timing and frequency of supervision can influence what happens during supervision. There is limited evidence to suggest that supervision has a direct impact on client outcome, however, one study demonstrates that supervision can enhance treatment outcome in the brief psychotherapeutic treatment of depression. A range of methodological weaknesses are identified for the majority of studies.

Conclusion: Supervision does have an impact on the supervisee and his/her practice, and does influence work with clients, however, the research evidence in supervision is not as robust as it needs to be. There is a need to examine the impact of supervision on qualified and experienced practitioners. There is also little research on supervision in the UK and a strategic UK supervision research agenda is urgently required.

References:

Wheeler, S. (2003). Research on supervision of counsellors and psychotherapists: a
systematic scoping search. Rugby, BACP.

EPPI Centre, (2005) http://eppi.ioe.ac.uk/EPPIWeb/home.aspx, accessed 17.11.05

back to top

Professor Sue Wheeler and Suky Khele

Professional Roles: (SW) Director of Counselling and Psychotherapy Programme, (SK) Research Development Officer, BACP
Institution: University of Leicester, UK
Contact details: 128 Regent Road, Leicester, LE17PA
Email: sw103@le.ac.uk suky.khele@bacp.co.uk

ABSTRACT: Paper

An audit of BACP complaints

Background: There has been some exploration into complaints made against counsellors in Israel (Sheffler, 2004) and the USA (Neukrug, 2001). However, no audit has yet been conducted on the type of complaints that clients make to professional organisations about therapist behaviour in Britain. There is much that can be learned from the nature of the complaints that could inform the development of ethical codes, the organisation of professional practice, the training of counsellors and psychotherapists, professional development initiatives, as well as influencing the way in which the professional conduct procedure is implemented.

Aim: The aim of the audit is to provide detailed descriptive statistics about complaints made against BACP members during the past seven years. The audit will identify and report on the following: biographical information about the complainant and complained against, the main issues that form the substance of complaints, the timescale involved from receipt of initial enquiry about a complaint to the finalisation of the professional conduct procedure and whether support is chosen by complainants and members complained against. The audit will identify the elements of poor practice/service delivery in organisations involved in delivering a counselling/psychotherapy service or a training course, using the evidence obtained from the professional conduct cases and report on any common themes found and whether there are similar failings in similar settings.

Method: The audit will be undertaken on all of the current and archived cases that were investigated. The data will be analysed using quantitative and possibly qualitative methods.

Results: The audit is currently in progress and the results will be available at the conference.

Conclusions: It is anticipated that the audit would raise some important questions around research that could be conducted in the future.

References:

Neukrug, E., Milliken, T., & Walden, S. (2001). "Ethical complaints made against credentialed counsellors: An updated survey of state licensing boards." Counsellor Education & Supervision Special Issue 41(1): 57-70.

Sheffler, G. (2004). Naturalistic Survey and Analysis of Complaints submitted to the Ethics Committee of the Israel Psychologists Association, 1987-2002. SPR, Rome.

back to top

Susan Wiggins

Other Authors: Professor Robert Elliott, Professor Mick Cooper

Professional Role: Counsellor
Institution: University of Strathclyde
Contact details: 18, Eastgate, Fulwood, Preston
Email: spwiggins@hotmail.co.uk

ABSTRACT: Poster

Development of a measure of relational depth

Aims/Purpose/Approach: The main aim of this research was to complete the first phase of creating a questionnaire which is designed to measures clients' and/or counsellors' perceived levels of relational depth as described by Mearns and Cooper, (2005).

Design/Methodology: Counsellors' and trainee counsellors' descriptions of relational depth were analysed using a qualitative approach of open coding. Domains, categories and subcategories have already been identified from this data. The process of creating a pool of items/questions is now underway and it is planned that this pool be presented at the conference. It is also planned that the focus of the presentation will be on the qualitative analysis which included the resultant categories and sub-categories

Results/Findings: The resultant analysis of categories - how did you decide which categories to analyse, and how did you analyse them please - and subcategories include the following:
Experience of the Relationship: Subcategories included Connectedness, Mutuality, and Security. Experience of Self: Subcategories included Heightened, Stirred/aroused, Immersed, Self-acknowledgement. Experience of/towards other: subcategories included Available to other, Empathy. Unconditional positive regard of other, Trust of other. Experience of Atmosphere/Aura/Situation: subcategories included Dynamism, Peacefulness, Sense of significance

Research Limitations: One limitation with this research is that it did not utilise an interview study. It is always possible that the meaning of words and phrases may not have been perceived as they were intended. In an interview, for example, the interviewer can ask the interviewee to elaborate or explain what they mean by a word or phrase. Another limitation concerns the nature of questionnaires. In most questionnaires the resultant data is reduced to numbers and there is often little or no opportunity for the participant to explain at length about their experience.

Originality/Value: As far as I am aware, a measure or inventory does not exist which is designed to measure relational depth.

Conclusions/Implications: The resultant questionnaire will be able to inform practice in that, for example, it could be used in conjunction with an outcome measure to investigate the relationship between relational depth and outcome of therapy. Practically, a questionnaire is less time consuming and can be completed by a larger number of participants than most qualitative methods (such as interview).

Please note: Updated information on this research will be available as a handout at the conference

References:

Mearns, D., & Cooper, M. (2005). Working at Relational Depth in Counselling and Psychotherapy. London: Sage

back to top

Morag Williamson

Professional Role: Counsellor & Counselling Psychologist in Training
Institution: Dept of Psychological Services and Research, Nithbank, Dumfries, DG1 2SA
Contact details: Dept of Psychological Services and Research, Nithbank, Dumfries, DG1 2SA
Email: m.williamson@ucsm.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: Poster

A study into the experience of therapists of working with clients who have experienced childhood sexual abuse

Aims/Purpose/Approach: The aim of this research is to develop a rich phenomenological understanding of the therapists' experience of working with clients who have experienced childhood sexual abuse including the impact of this work either positive or negative, on both the professional and personal functioning of the therapist.

Design/Methodology: Qualitative semi-structured interviews will be carried out with approximately 6-8 participants recruited from colleagues in the Dept. of Psychological Services in which the author works. These will be taped, transcribed and analysed using Grounded Theory methodology because this allows for a naturalistic inquiry, the adoption of a holistic perspective and the collection of data which is richly descriptive of the experience studied. [McLeod, 2003]The participants will be invited to attend a focus group, after reading a draft of the findings in order to discuss how well the theory reflects their experience as therapists and their experience of participating in the study thus providing phenomenological validity.

Results/Findings: This is a work in progress however preliminary findings will be available by the conference and I would like the opportunity to update the abstract to add these findings.

Research Limitations: The use of a small sample of therapists and the relation between the participants and the investigator {colleagues} may make it difficult to generalise to the general population and may either enhance or limit the issues discussed in interview.
Originality/Value: The research question was generated by conversations with colleagues about working with the client group and difficulties encountered such as feelings of tiredness, seeing the world in a different light. Research findings indicate that there may be both positive and negative effects on the therapist specialising in this area [Steed & Downing, 1998] It was felt that it would be interesting to look at the experience of therapists working with this client group as part of a more varied caseload e.g. in a psychology department within the National Health Service.

Conclusions/Implications: Given that this is a work in progress there as yet are no conclusions. There may be implications about the care of therapists working with this client group.

References:

McLeod, J. (2003) Doing Counselling Research 2nd Ed. Sage

Steed, L.G. & Downing R. (1998) A Phenomenological Study of Vicarious Traumatization Amongst Psychologists and Professional Counsellors Working in the Field of sexual Abuse/Assault. The Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies Vol. 1998-2

back to top

Kevin Wright

Professional Role: Chartered Counselling Psychologist - Primary Care
Institution: University of Abertay, Dundee
Contact details: Ladywell Unit, Lewisham University Hospital, Lewisham High St, SE13 6LW
Email: kevin_wright_k@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT: Paper

A Study into the effectiveness of brief therapy in an employee assistance programme (EAP)

Aims: This research sought to evaluate the clinical change and cost effectiveness of ‘Ultra Brief Therapy' within a workplace Counselling service.

Design/Methodology: The first stage was to find the Baseline Normative scores for the measures going to be used for the Counselling sample. Using a ‘Well-Being' questionnaire, over 5200 questionnaires were randomly distributed to the 17,500 workforce. The second stage of the study examined the change process for clients coming for Brief therapy. The scores presented were for Stress scores and Coping strategies at the Pre-, Post- and six month Follow-up stages. These scores were compared with the ‘Normative' scores obtained for each factor from the earlier ‘Well Being' study of the whole organisation. The study focussed on the interactions between gender, age, marital & professional status, and in which ways these interactions affected the changes with respect to Work stress and Coping Strategies.

Results/Findings: It was found that the Counselling process was cost effective in reducing the costs of the Work Stress, and ‘Presenteeism' in the Counselling sample. It was shown that Counselling produced significant change, though there were gender, age, marital and professional status variation.

Research Limitations: No control groups were used as this would have been seen as unethical in a commercial setting.

Originality/Value: The merits of the study were in the use of the Baseline Normative measure; in examining demographic differences in responses to Counselling and in a more accurate measurement of the cost effectiveness of the Counselling process within workplace Counselling (EAP).

Conclusions: The study showed that Counselling was effective in promoting change and the degree of the change was affected by the sub-grouping to which the subjects belonged. It was also shown that the Counselling was cost effective.

References:

Cox, T. and Ferguson, E. (1991)Individual differences, stress and coping.In: C.L. Cooper and R. Payne (eds) Personality and Stress.Wiley & Sons, Chichester.

Koss, M.P. & Butcher, J.W. (1986)Research on Brief psychotherapy.In S.L. Garfield & A.E. Bergin (Eds)Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change (3rd Ed), pp. 627-670.New York:Wiley

Rogers, D.; McLeod, J.; Sloboda, J. (1995)Counsellor and Client perceptions of the effectiveness of time-limited counselling in an occupational counselling schemeCounselling Psychology Quarterly, Vol 8, No 3, pp221-231

back to top

Mark E. Young PhD and Samantha Chromy

Professional Role (MY): Professor & Co-Director, Florida Marriage and Family Research Institute
Institution: University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL., USA
Contact details: P.O. Box 161250 Orlando, FL 32816-1250
Email: myoung@cfl.rr.com

ABSTRACT: Paper

A comparison of couples education and brief couples counselling in a community counselling clinic

Aims/Purpose/Approach: The purpose of the study was to validate the effectiveness of a brief couples counselling model by comparing it with a couples education treatment.

Design/Methodology: The effectiveness study was conducted as part of a demonstration project for the Administration of Children and Families, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. While it was primarily a service project, subjects were grouped by their choice into two treatment conditions - couples counselling and the Prepare/Enrich curriculum for couples. The groups were compared on a number of variables at pre-test and at three-month follow-up.

Results/Findings: The preliminary findings indicate that a brief couples counselling is as effective as the educational treatment; however, the treatment groups differed at pre-test with those choosing couples counselling being more distressed.
Research Limitations: Quasi-experimentation, no control group

Originality/Value: Couples education has become the primary treatment endorsed and funded by the government in the United States. Couples counselling, on the other hand, is not funded although the research supporting it is much stronger. As the government seeks to enhance existing couple relationships, to improve the well being of children, it is vital that comparisons of these two treatments be made.

Conclusions/Implications (including practical implications): The study does not support the trend towards couples education instead of couples counselling. Differences between groups suggest that the treatment attracts different kinds of couples and that further research is needed to determine which treatment is best for which couple.

References:

DeMaria, R. M. (2005). Distressed couples and marriage education. Family Relations, 54, 242-253.

Olson, D. H. (2002). PREPARE/ENRICH Counselor's Manual. Minnesota: Life Innovations, Inc.

Young, M. E., & Long, L. L. (1998, 2007). Counseling and therapy for couples. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.

 
       
corner