An exploration of bilingual (Welsh-English) counsellors' experiences of counselling in a mother tongue and in a non-mother tongue language
AbstractThis research investigates the experiences of bilingual (Welsh-English) counsellors providing therapy in their mother tongue (Welsh) and in their non-mother tongue (English). The data was gathered from an in-depth semi-structured interview with five participants from North and West Wales who described Welsh as their mother tongue and it was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The findings demonstrated that the therapists recognised differences when counselling in Welsh and in English. The participants experienced a different sense of self depending on the language spoken and described a pre-existing understanding and sense of ease that emerged when they counselled clients who shared the same mother tongue as themselves. Consequently, this facilitated the development of safety and trust that arose when they provided therapy to clients in their first language. The results highlighted how the familiarity of the language of training and the passage of time benefits how the therapists conceptualise their counselling abilities. The study found that aspects such as the therapists’ lack of linguistic proficiency and a need to make an extra effort in their less familiar and/or less confident languages can hinder the counselling relationship. However the research demonstrated that their bilingualism enhanced the therapy by offering more flexibility and choice to clients. These findings support existing literature on the topic and also provide new insights into Welsh first language therapists’ experiences of working bilingually.
CitationWilliams, R. H. (2015). An exploration of bilingual (Welsh-English) counsellors' experiences of counselling in a mother tongue and in a non-mother tongue language. (Master's thesis), University of Chester, United Kingdom.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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