The experiences of person-centred counsellors working with clients presenting with complicated grief
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AbstractThe purpose of this research dissertation was to investigate the experiences of person-centred counsellors working with clients who presented with Complicated Grief. This was a phenomenologically-based qualitative study, which interviewed 4 practicing counsellors using semi-structured interviews as the method of data collection. Data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, and the findings resulted in three over arching super ordinate themes. These super ordinate themes are then broken down into sub themes, with two sub themes further broken down into ‘snapshots’ or topics. These results indicate a number of issues which are reflected in the literature. Working as a bereavement counsellor impacts on the self of the counsellor in positive ways such as personal satisfaction and intellectual stimulation, and in negative ways such as feelings of self-doubt about competence, or the emotional risks of working with themes of death and loss. Ongoing self-care monitoring and attendance was deemed vital, with team work viewed as a gift and supervision referenced as critical. Witnessing the client’s journey was a reported phenomenological experience, and a base of experience in bereavement counselling was found to act as aid to future bereavement work. The relationship became a tool in the work, and the study found these person-centred participants shied away from labelling grief, were not panicked by suicidal inclinations in clients, felt bereavement is not a linear process, and that sitting with difficult emotions was part of their job. Some themes had not been predicted proved harder to place within the context of available literature. The participants’ use of narrative occasionally reflected their process, cementing them as intrinsic to the work they do. Metaphors around movement were powerful, while time did not seem to remain linear in the experiences of some clients and participants themselves. Finally, the study found participants experienced dual levels of reality simultaneously, and some thoughts or feelings became tangible in the room while others remained ephemeral.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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