A qualitative exploration of counsellors' experiences of working therapeutically with international students
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AbstractIn recent decades there has been a considerable increase in the number of international students enrolled in British universities, the greatest proportion originating from Asia. Despite the changing nature of the student population, there seems to be a scarcity of counselling research in this field, particularly from counsellors’ perspectives. The main focus of this research study is on counsellors’ experiences of working therapeutically with international students. It is a qualitative study which uses Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) as its mode of inquiry and analysis. Data was collected via semi-structured interviews, with four counsellors from differing therapeutic orientations, all working in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Three super-ordinate themes and ten sub-ordinate themes emerged from the data which was collected and subsequently analysed. The findings indicate a number of issues, challenges and strategies which are corroborated by the literature on counselling international students. Although specific groups were perceived as being more challenging than others, the findings suggest that first and foremost international students are to be seen by counsellors as unique individuals, regardless of their nationality. In addition awareness of cultural difference, personal biases and knowledge of the students’ contexts were considered important. Academic risk, isolation and access to support systems were also identified by most participants as key elements when working therapeutically with international students. This study has highlighted the need for further research to be undertaken among counsellors who are actively involved in management endorsed initiatives aimed at responding more effectively to international students’ needs.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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