The therapeutic relationship between counsellor and client has been demonstrated to be an important part of the healing process, particularly for those clients who have survived trauma such as domestic violence and/or sexual abuse. This relationship cannot be considered in isolation as there may be many factors which have the potential to create a power dynamic which may be harmful to the client, and indeed the counsellor.

The aim of this project is to ascertain whether three outside forces – the counsellor’s own experience of domestic violence and/or sexual abuse; socio-economic class; and the media portrayal of women and/or victims will influence in any way the therapeutic relationship when working with clients who have also survived or who are suffering domestic violence and/or sexual abuse. This is an exploration into whether counsellors are aware of the outside forces and if they are whether they change their way of working.

Participation will be in the form of an hour-long interview with some questions; these will be either via face to face; Skype or Zoom; or over the phone.
Participation is not expected to involve any risks of mental or physical harm any greater than those involved in your daily life. Nonetheless there will be a debrief at the end of the interview where there will be the opportunity to discuss any concerns which may have arisen because of your participation. Given there will be questions regarding the participants history of either domestic violence and/or sexual abuse, there is a potential risk of re-traumatisation, therefore, each participant will be signposted to local organisations which will provide further support. In the case of domestic violence there will be a need to ascertain if the participant is still residing with the perpetrator, if they are, it will be necessary to ensure the participant is in a safe place before taking part in any interview.
The benefit to participating is an opportunity to reflect on your work with clients as well as contributing to further exploration into the therapeutic relationship. It is not guaranteed participants will personally benefit. Others may benefit in the future from the findings of this study as I hope it will increase our understanding of the experiences of counsellors who work with victims/survivors of domestic violence and/or sexual abuse by exploring the therapeutic relationship and what can influence it.
All material will be anonymized, and any other identifying details will be changed so it can not be recognised by anyone else. All data and consent forms will be stored securely. Once the project is completed and submitted for assessment, all data will be stored at the University for a period of up to five years. After this time, all data will be destroyed in line with university policy.
Any quotes used as examples in the final write up of the project will be anonymized so that your identity will not be attached to the information you contribute.

If you are interested in taking part in my research, please contact me at jboot003@gold.ac.uk 

Thank you

Jayne.