• The Counsellor’s Experience of Aloneness And Its Impact on The Therapeutic Relationship: A Heuristic Study

      Mintz, Rita; Phillips, Lorraine (University of Chester, 2020-05-25)
      Aims and Method: This small scale study explored counsellors’ experiences of aloneness and how this influenced the therapeutic relationship. The research was conducted within a qualitative paradigm and used a heuristic methodology. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with four therapists who had expressed an interest in exploring their perceptions of this phenomenon. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data from these dialogues. Findings: Two overarching themes emerged from the data (Braun & Clarke, 2013): Personal experience of aloneness and Awareness of aloneness and the therapeutic space (the therapist’s perspective). Seven themes were highlighted under these two main headings: aloneness provides space, aloneness affects attachments, aloneness as a choice, the uniqueness of aloneness experience, aloneness is not always understood by others, how aloneness affects the therapeutic relationships, and the final theme is aloneness and self-care as a therapist. Conclusion: Our experiences of aloneness are unique and complex and how these encounters are defined, and the skills needed to be alone, are still little understood. This investigation explored individual experience of aloneness and has provided insight into how the phenomenon affects relationships with clients in the therapeutic space. It adds to a general conversation on loneliness, aloneness and solitude, and shines a light on the little researched association of our alone experiences impacting on the counselling relationship. Key Words: Aloneness, Therapeutic Relationship, Counsellor