Participants needed for research on how counselling and coaching practitioners make sense of their personal and professional self-discrepancies

I am looking for counselling and coaching practitioners to take part in a study aiming to investigate how practitioners experience discrepancies between different parts of themselves (e.g. between actual and ideal selves) and how they make sense of these in their personal and professional lives. You can take part in this study if you are:

  • A counsellor, psychotherapist and/or coach
  • A trainee practitioner with a minimum of 30+ contact hours with clients
  • A qualified practitioner with a minimum of 5+ years of experience
  • Aged 18+ years

What is the purpose of the research?

I am conducting research into self-discrepancies; this is the difference between how you view your actual self (as you are now), in relation to other versions that you may have imagined for yourself (e.g. an ‘ought’ self; what you or others think you should be). The aim of the study is to explore how trainee and qualified practitioners make sense of the discrepancies of these actual and imagined selves. The long term goal of the research is to improve our understanding of how these discrepancies effect practitioners, with the hope of informing therapeutic training in the future.

What will I be asked to do if I agree to take part?

If you agree to take part, you will be asked to take part in a one-to-one, online interview with the researcher. The interview will be an informal chat about your own experiences and will last up to one hour depending on your responses. You are free to end the interview at any time without giving a reason and to ask for your data to be destroyed if you no longer want it to be used.

The interview will be held via MS Teams and recorded (audio & visual) for the researcher to transcribe and analyse. During the interview you will be asked questions about yourself that will include topics such as:

  • Actual self: Representations of the attributes that someone (self or other) believes you actually possess
  • Ideal self: Representations of the attributes that someone (self or other) would like you, ideally, to possess
  • Ought Self: Representations of the attributes that someone (self or other) believes you should or ought to possess
  • Emotions and feelings that may result in discrepancies between the different versions of self (e.g. anxiety, depression)
  • You will be invited with other participants to a ‘workshop’ meeting to discuss the preliminary findings of the research. This is not mandatory.
    • This is an opportunity for participants to comment on initial findings of the research and feedback their thoughts

What are the next steps?

If you would like to take part in the study and receive more information, please contact Colin Houlihan U1936841@uel.ac.uk.

More information will be given about the study and your eligibility to participate will be checked.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Colin Houlihan