• Creature comforts: An exploration of pet owners and their experiences of wellbeing gained through their relationships with their companion animals

      Swinton, Valda; Johnson, Jennifer J. (University of Chester, 2013-10)
      The aim of this phenomenological research was to gain greater understanding of people’s lived experience of their relationships with companion animals. Of particular interest were the everyday aspects of the relationship. Four participants were interviewed and Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used in order to analyse the data. The findings are generally consistent with other research in the area in that they show the central role that companion animals play in the participants’ lives, and the up-lifting, life-enhancing qualities they bestow. Unexpectedly, a major theme of healing and transformation emerged as each participant had come through difficult times in their lives with a sense that their companion animal relationship had been restorative, sustaining and motivating. An additional interest was to discover if people felt inhibited in speaking about the depth of the bond; such a finding could be a useful factor for counsellors to consider when working with clients. However, with the small, purposive sample used in this study, it was not possible to explore this aspect. It might be fruitful to continue research in this area. The study confirms that, for counsellors, an appreciation of the important contribution of pets to happiness and wellbeing could add a significant dimension to understanding a client’s world. It is suggested that the human-animal bond merits attention in counselling training, research and practice.
    • The impact on families and relationships of having lived abroad

      Swinton, Valda; Lawrence-Smith, Sally (University of Chester, 2013-10)
      This qualitative research examines the impact on four participants’ lives of having lived abroad. The data was collected from four counsellors who had been living back in the United Kingdom for at least two years. It was collected via semi-structured interviews and analysed by using the Constant Comparative Method of data collection. Analysis of the data highlighted the impact living abroad had had on participants and how they had coped with the struggle of re-entry. Participants were affected by going to live abroad and some had struggled to maintain relationships as a result of coming home. Resettlement had resulted in feelings of loss, pain and sadness which had been buried or unrecognised for what it was at the time. Participants felt like outsiders in their own country and spent some time feeling isolated. The findings from the interviews support research in this area.
    • A qualitative exploration of the impact of personal development in counselling training on the student counsellor's significant relationships: Should counsellor training come with a stronger warning or more support?

      Le'Surf, Anne; Collins, Karen A. (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2008-11)
      A small scale qualitative research study set out to explore the impact of the personal development element of counsellor training on the student counsellors’ significant relationship. Six qualified counsellors shared their own experiences of training, and the impact it had on their relationships, in a semi-structured, one to one interview. The data gathered was subjected to a form of grounded theory. The study concluded that the personal development element does have an impact on students’ relationships; some survived and others ended. Whilst this was generally perceived by the participants as positive, the study found a number of factors, resulting from personal development in counselling training, which did contribute to various stresses being placed on the participants’ relationships.