• An exploration of the impact of diversity and culture on the journey of faith and spirituality of the counsellor who is a Christian

      Gubi, Peter; West, William; Barton, Heather D. (University of Chester, 2021-09)
      Aim: The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of diversity and culture on the journey of faith and spirituality of the counsellor who is a Christian. This is an under-researched area. Method: The study explored the experiences of eight experienced counsellors who were also Christian. It was conducted by means of semi-structured qualitative interviews. Data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results: Analysis of data identified five superordinate themes: 1) thoughts on motivations; 2) perspectives on training; 3) experiences in supervision; 4) experiences of faith and spirituality; 5) experiences of diversity and culture. Discussion: The data revealed that participants believed their faith to be a vital part of their desire to become a counsellor. In spite of this, they received little preparation for the diverse clients they were to meet and found little support in the areas of diversity and culture, or faith and spirituality, in training or supervision. They also faced challenges to their own faith and spirituality. This has, however, resulted in what participants believe is a broader and deeper faith. A move to a new stage of faith, which they may not have reached had they not become counsellors, was also identified. Conclusion/Implications: Gaps in training and supervision were highlighted, and areas for further research are identified.
    • Falling into an abyss: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the lived experiences of the parents of autistic daughters in the UK

      Reeves, Andrew; Chollier, Marie; Chantrey, Lucy (University of Chester, 2021-11)
      Whilst research increasingly focuses on autism in girls, there is a dearth of literature around the experience of parenting an autistic daughter in the UK, with the few studies that do focusing only on mothers. The data was gathered through in-depth semi-structured interviews that explored the lived experience of parenting an autistic daughter for six mothers and two fathers, from their first concerns, through to the diagnosis, with life in-between and beyond. Their daughters were aged between eleven and seventeen at diagnosis and were diagnosed within the UK. IPA was used to analyse the data. Five superordinate themes were identified: Journey to diagnosis; Negotiating systems; Psychological impact; Living with an autistic daughter; and Reflections. The research demonstrates that the parents of autistic daughters find themselves seeking professional advice and support for a pervasive condition that, whilst better known for its familiar male presentation, appears invisible in its female form to all but those in their close family. The impact of the ensuing struggle to have their concerns believed and to obtain her autism diagnosis often has profoundly negative consequences, leaving families in crisis, chaos in daily life, and parents’ mental and physical health compromised. The subsequent delay in diagnosis means that their daughter remains unsupported in her education and social life, with the adverse ramifications of this reverberating throughout her family. The findings of this study have implications for parents, professionals, and the field of research in terms of the need for a better recognition and understanding of female autism, an apposite educational setting, and a holistic approach to family support.
    • How supervisee self-care is addressed in the clinical supervision of counsellors and psychotherapists: A qualitative exploration

      Gubi, Peter; Seabrook, Michelle (University of Chester, 2021)
      This research explored how supervisee self-care is, or isn't, addressed in clinical supervision, using a sequential qualitative method. The aims of the study were to analyse the process and dialogue used: to explore supervisee and supervisor understanding; how addressing supervisee self-care can be enhanced or maintained and how this can be implemented into training and practice. Both self-care and clinical supervision are ethical requirements. Counsellors and psychotherapists are not immune to personal stress and work-related well-being impairment. Clinical supervision can form part of a self-care strategy. Few studies have focussed explicitly on the combination of the topics. Few studies in counselling and psychotherapy have used a mixed sequential qualitative approach to investigate an aspect of clinical supervision. Four supervisory dyads were recruited. The study consists of three stages. Stage one required audio recordings of three consecutive clinical supervisions from each dyad, resulting in twelve supervision sessions. A discourse analysis, using a Discursive Psychology lens, was used to analyse extracts from the sessions where instances of supervisee self-care were observed. The discourse shows that there are discursive elements that enable, or limit, discourse on self-care. Stage two involved interviewing the supervisors from the dyad. Supervisees were interviewed in stage three. The data from the semi-structured interviews was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Superordinate themes for the supervisors were 'I am here', 'Where are you?' and 'We're the instruments'. Superordinate themes for the supervisees were 'Me, myself and I' and 'You and I'. The findings indicate that there is an interplay between experience, understanding and discourse. Issues around supervisee self-awareness, evaluations of self-care, the supervisory relationship, and early experiences of supervision impact on how selfcare issues are introduced and subsequently explored. Disclosure of self-care issues can be framed in tentative, or hesitant, language, which can link to the supervisees understanding of how acceptable self-care topics are in supervision. There can be a negative emotional response to disclosing self-care or feeling under scrutiny from the supervisor. Metaphor can assist with self-care disclosure. Supervisors can influence self-care exploration through demonstrating a shared understanding of a self-care issue. Laughter and dialogue that shifts the focus can limit addressing self-care. The study offers a means of transferring the results into practice: encouraging engaging in a discussion that explores the influential factors on addressing self-care in supervision. The findings of this study are transferrable rather than generalisable. There are implications for practice and training. Limitations of the study and areas for future research are identified.
    • ‘The Berwyn Way’: A Qualitative Study of the Rehabilitative Model at HMP Berwyn

      Hughes, Caroline; Gorden, Caroline; Prescott, Joanne A. (University of ChesterWrexham Glyndŵr University, 2021-07)
      Typified predominantly as ‘agencies of disempowerment and deprivation’, traditional prisons represent the antithesis of a rehabilitative setting (De Viggiani, 2007a, p.115). As such, the aim of this qualitative study was to explore the physical, psychological, and social implications of HMP Berwyn’s rehabilitative model (The Berwyn Way) from the perspective of prison residents and operational staff. As a single-site project, Berwyn was of particular interest because of its recent introduction to the UK prison estate. Opening in February 2017, Berwyn, a North Walian establishment, housing up to 2106 adult males, opened with an ambitious rehabilitative agenda which promised to normalise the prison setting by focusing on rehabilitative cultures and values, improved spatial design, therapeutic staff-resident relationships and a person-first lexicon which aimed to replace traditional prison terminology with inclusive alternatives. These are but some of the approaches listed under the ‘Berwyn Way’, and in addressing the many others, this thesis discusses the wider implications of Berwyn’s approach, and does so, with accounts from a sample of 20 prison residents and 20 operational staff, using semi-structured interviews. To capture further nuances, triangulation was utilised and included ethnographic observations and detailed fieldnotes. Thematic analysis of the triangulated dataset generated four themes: The Berwyn Way; Lifting the liminal veil between the outside and inside; Managing behaviour, and finally, Actions speak louder than words: rethinking prison language, relationships and interactions. Findings from the study did not support the expectation that Berwyn’s rehabilitative model would be broadly accepted, and instead there was some resistance to rehabilitative change, both from a resident and staff perspective. From a rehabilitative standpoint, there were however areas of notable best-practice, with certain operational areas encapsulating the essence of Berwyn’s rehabilitative model with consistent professional practice, acceptance to Berwyn’s overarching vision and a willingness to challenge the orthodox narrative of punitive imprisonment. The thesis concludes with observations surrounding the implications of the study for rehabilitative penal practice within prisons in England and Wales, and recommendations for future research.
    • 'Stress and sex: a complicated relationship’ Declining sexual functioning as a predictor for attritional stress and fatigue (ASF), resilience injury and maladaptive behaviours in a sample of British Army soldiers

      Reeves, Andrew; Buxton, Christina; Prentice, Julie-Anne (University of Chester, 2021-10)
      With high-tempo work, frequent separation and operational commitments, military personnel are at greater risk than most of developing a broad range of mental health concerns. Whether at war or in peacetime, soldiers are trained to be ready for combat. Such conditioning is responsible for teaching soldiers how to override their flight or fight response; to run towards danger when human instinct seeks to run away. So, whether soldiers are engaged in combat or training for readiness, the destabilising impact of overriding innate biological functions can impact on how a soldier recognises and manages stress. Stress is known to contribute to a number of physical and psychological functions that impact on sexual desire and performance, offering sexual functioning as a potential marker for resilience injury and wider mental health concerns. Aims & Objectives Psychological support for intimate relationships is particularly vital for soldiers and their partners and may influence recovery rates from the unique mental demands of the military. This study sought to understand if declining sexual functioning could be an early predictor of problematic stress and maladaptive behaviours. It aimed to define clear at-risk groups for increased stress to help clinicians target assessment for those most susceptible to resilience overwhelm and mental health concerns. Research questions The study focused on 6 main research questions related to stress, sexual functioning, online sexual activity (OSA) and compulsive sexual behaviour (CSB). Results hoped to demonstrate the correlation between stress and sexual function and to define areas of additive stress that may impact on wellbeing. Clinical aims sought to highlight at-risk groups and protective factors to support psychoeducation, assessment protocols and treatment pathways. Method A mixed-methods approach allowed for the collection of quantitative statistical data via a scored and validated survey providing correlation information on the four main variables: stress, sexual functioning, online sexual activity and compulsive sexual behaviours. A qualitative component collected personal statements, observations and remarks to provide context for the statistical results. With equal priority, this created a snapshot of soldier experience in relation to stress and sex which could help the identification of those soldiers at greater risk of psychological distress. The study was primarily underpinned by the theoretical framework of Bancroft and Janssen’s Dual Control Model. This model centres on the balance between an individual’s inhibitory and excitatory processes in the central nervous system. With particular relevance to this study and soldier behaviour, the Dual Control Model considers how excitation and inhibition are impacted by stress and how individual response may impact on sexual behaviour. Where inhibition is elevated, some may experience difficulties with sexual interaction related to performance anxiety for example and where excitation is increased, individuals may feel less restricted and may be willing to take more sexual risks. Results Results demonstrated a clear link between increased stress and declining sexual function offering psychosexual assessment as a useful diagnostic tool for psychological distress. Through statistical analysis, 7 groups were identified as most at risk of resilience overwhelm and poor stress appraisal with declining sexual functioning. These groups included soldiers who lived alone, those who lived overseas with their partners, Other Ranks aged 26-30 years old, Non-Commissioned Officers aged 26-30 years old, Commissioned Officers aged over 40 years, soldiers that had served between 1-5 years and those personnel who had served over 20 years. Soldiers in more than one of these 7 groups were likely to experience the highest levels of stress and declining sexual functioning, with up to 83% of sexual function variance attributed to stress. Within this study, predictive factors were categorised from personal narratives. At-risk soldiers were identified as either being exposed to greater disconnection or isolation, currently experiencing a life stage transition or within a period of increased occupational demand. Soldiers currently at relationship pressure points such as starting or ending an intimate relationship did not demonstrate a significance correlation between elevated stress and declining sexual function. Over 85% of soldiers admit to using the internet for sexual activity; however, the majority were at levels that were considered to be low risk. Personnel reported preferring to seek out human connection. Increased OSA was not correlated with loss of desire but it was strongly associated with a decline in sexual satisfaction. Compulsive sexual behaviour was not generally problematic. Results demonstrated that soldiers in this study were more likely to have increased sexual inhibition resulting in sexual difficulties rather than elevated excitation leading to risk taking behaviour. There were marked differences between male and female soldiers including the experience of stress, sexual function and online sexual activity, suggesting that psychoeducation and healthcare assessment should be appropriately targeted with the consideration of sex-specific interventions. More research on the psychological and physiological differences between male and female soldiers is urged. Implications for practice Whilst poor sexual functioning can be influenced by many factors, this study has concluded that sexual difficulties are positively correlated with increased stress within the British Army. Therefore, questions on sexual functioning could offer an important measure of physical, cognitive and emotional health. Psychosexual training would enable those clinicians that support at-risk soldiers presenting with stress symptoms to explore sexual functioning and behaviour as part of their patient wellbeing assessment. Soldiers could benefit from greater awareness of how personal agency and control can diminish the harmful effects of stress, whilst leaders should continue to be mindful of their direct impact on soldier wellbeing. Relationships form part of systemic resilience and contribute to soldier wellbeing, happiness and key life decisions. Army policy makers should be aware of the implications of soldier overwhelm and relationship strain in relation to financial, operational and retention decisions
    • Journey to wholeness: The psychotherapeutic role of Celtic spirituality

      Gubi, Peter; West, William; Smith, Andrew J. (University of Chester, 2021-06)
      Celtic spirituality, the Christian spirituality of Britain and Ireland which flourished in the middle of the first millennium CE, has enjoyed a modest revival at the turn of the current millennium. Existing literature focusses on theology, history and culture. This research asks the original question: “what is the psychotherapeutic role of Celtic spirituality?” It aims: to contribute to wider literature on spirituality and counselling by going deeper than previous studies of ineffable experiences through creative forms of inquiry; to find out whether and how Celtic spirituality helps participants’ wellbeing, growth and alleviation of distress; and to look psychotherapeutically at a form of spirituality, which as a holistic worldview that is optimistic about human nature, has some common ground with person-centred theory. Ten people pursuing an interest in Celtic spirituality each made a collage to represent their experience prior to, and as a starting-point for, a semi-structured interview. The data analysis comprised four stages: collage inquiry (beginning with participants’ own explanation of their picture and its elements); immersive listening to the interview recordings, briefly noting the content of each interview and what lay at the edge of their awareness; poetic inquiry, using symbolic or resonant words and phrases from each interview to re-tell the experience; and interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to find themes. This original methodology of holistic qualitative inquiry concluded with summative work: a collage of the collages, word clouds of the immersive listening notes and a summative poem, “Journey to wholeness (God enfolding me, God in everything)”, comprising words and phrases from every interview, capturing every IPA theme and key words from the word clouds. The overarching, unifying IPA theme reveals Celtic spirituality to be an experience of integration and wholeness. This aligns with the actualising and formative tendencies of person-centred theory. From twenty-three subordinate themes I abstracted five superordinate themes, which also align well with aspects of person-centred theory: loving others and connection through community both particularly evidence unconditional positive regard and the latter also empathic understanding; feeling “at one with creation”, participants strongly experience the actualising and formative tendencies; being self both in the moment and through life both exhibit congruence.
    • Are children in care offered effective therapeutic support?

      Reeves, Andrew; Smith, Andrew M. (University of Chester, 2020-07)
      Aim - This thesis aims to answer the question as to whether or not the therapeutic support offered to children in care in the U.K. is effective. There are two parts to the question: ascertaining what the actual offer of therapy consists of; the quality of that offer in terms of therapeutic effectiveness. Background - children in care are significantly more likely than their peers to be involved in offending behaviour, substance misuse, and to be unemployed DfE (2019). There is evidence to suggest that unresolved developmental trauma can contribute to these outcomes (National Audit Office, 2015). It is unclear how focused the government is on supporting effective therapeutic recovery from developmental trauma. Method - Questionnaires were distributed to every local authority in the country, with approval from the Directors’ of Children’s Services. Interviews were attempted. A Foucaultian Discourse Analysis of key pieces of legislation in the field was then completed, and a Thematic Analysis of 28 studies into therapeutic recovery from complex developmental trauma was achieved. Key Findings- The study found that children in care are not systematically offered effective therapeutic support. In fact, there are multiple issues according to the quality of therapies on offer: there is a legal/political/organisational system that is dysfunctional: the offer of therapy is impossible to ascertain across the country; the way in which therapists research their own provision is laden with methodological, political, and ethical issues. However, the evidence supports the idea that we are aware of some key factors that help therapeutic recovery. Implications for Practice - The evidence provided a range of factors to support future development of therapeutic support to children in care, and supported a mapping out of the way in which therapies could usefully be developed in the future. The evidence led to the development of a model of best practice. Conclusion - The thesis ends with some recommendations as to how the profession of psychotherapy and counselling could begin to develop both their knowledge base and way of working with children care to support more effective therapeutic recovery.
    • A moment of love? Embodied experiences of relational depth in transactional analysis psychotherapy

      Gubi, Peter; Swales, Emma (University of Chester, 2020-10)
      This research project explores the question: ‘Can moments of relational depth be understood as a moment of love?’ The aims of the research were: to determine whether Transactional Analysis (TA) psychotherapists have experienced moments of relational depth; to explore their embodied and spiritual experience of this phenomenon, and to investigate participants’ interpretations of this experience. The research has sought to understand if these moments of intense, embodied attunement in therapy can be interpreted as moments of love. The study uses Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to explore the embodied experience of moments of relational depth in transactional analysis psychotherapy, by exploring the felt experience, understandings and conceptualisations of visceral experiences of moments of profound, intense connection in the therapeutic relationship. Thoughts, feelings and experiences of love in therapy are also explored. Semi-structured interviews of nine experienced Transactional Analysis psychotherapists are analysed and 5 superordinate and 26 subordinate themes are identified. The study found that TA psychotherapists do experience moments of embodied relational depth, and that this moment of relational depth can be described and understood as a moment of love. The participants were able to describe significant and similar physical and spiritual sensations that identified the experience. This phenomenon is also explored and understood as a moment of interpersonal physical synchrony. The participants interpreted this experience as being related to early infant-parent interactions, and as a transmission between themselves and their clients. All the participants described feeling love in the therapeutic relationship, and there were descriptions of the types of love that can occur in therapy. A definition of therapeutic love is also offered. The research data showed that for the participants in the study, therapeutic love is a fundamental aspect of therapy, both as a quality of the therapeutic relationship, and as a moment of embodied attunement. Therefore, the research suggests that training and supervision processes need to support trainee and qualified psychotherapists to explore and understand these phenomena. Identifying moments of embodied attunement requires an awareness of our internal experience. This suggests that a focus on the body and body awareness is an essential component of counselling and psychotherapy training courses. The integration of body psychotherapy into mainstream counselling and psychotherapy training will enable therapists to be open to experiences of embodied attunement in therapy. In addition, ongoing personal therapy for practitioners serves as an additional resource to underpin the safe provision of this profound therapeutic work.
    • A Thematic Review of Contemporary Accounts of Black and of White Residents in North-East Wales Towards Black/White Interracial Relationships

      Robbins, Mandy; Hamid, Sahar; Cairns, Andrew D. (University of ChesterWrexham Glyndwr University, 2019-04)
      Exploring accounts of relations between racial groups has been identified as a key focus within the social sciences, with the views expressed towards intermarriage between members of particular groups often presented as a barometer for wider intergroup attitudes. Studies concerning interracial relationships have been particularly rare in Wales and remain unexplored within North Wales; this study seeks to address this gap in the knowledge base. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six Black participants, six White participants, and one participant of mixed Black/White heritage, all residing within North-East Wales, to explore accounts relating to Black/White interracial marriage. Interview transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis and identified six overarching themes: Contact, Lack of Contact, Positive Views, Negative Views, Culture, and Colour-Blindness. Results indicated that the personal views of both Black and White participants towards the concept of intermarriage were mostly positive, though sources of societal opposition in the local area were also identified. Gradual increases in the racial diversity of the region were linked to greater levels of acceptance of people from racial minorities, though it was also noted that the social networks of both White and Black participants were relatively homogeneous, suggesting there are limited opportunities for contact to take place between the two groups. Cultural factors had considerable influence for Black participants and some accounts were provided relating to social exchange theory. Whilst the results cannot be generalised to the entire population of North-East Wales, or to the racial groups that participants came from, they provide rich detailed data on individual and societal views of Black/White interracial relationships in a region of the UK where studies of this type have been unprecedented.
    • “I too matter”. The experience and impact of a brief online self-compassion intervention for informal carers of those with a life-limiting or terminal illness: A mixed methods study

      Reeves, Andrew; Gubi, Peter; Diggory, Catherine J. (University of Chester, 2020-09)
      Aims: Being an informal carer of someone with a life-limiting or terminal illness (‘Carer’) often results in marked levels of depression, anxiety and stress. Yet, Carers have little available free time to devote to lengthy, well-being interventions offered outside the home. Carers also struggle to prioitorise their self-care, a factor which may help buffer some of the negative impacts of being a Carer. The aim of this research was to gain insight into Carers’ views and perceptions of the impact of a brief, four module, online self-compassion intervention for Carers which was created to improve wellbeing, increase self-compassion and develop self-care among Carers. In so doing, the research addresses gaps in the literature relating to self-compassion interventions for Carers and targeted self-care initiatives for Carers. Design: This predominantly qualitative study was undertaken in two phases. In Phase One semi-structured interviews with nine participants of a four module, one to one self-compassion intervention (iCare), delivered in person, were conducted and data subjected to a reflexive thematic analysis within a critical realist framework. Additionally, descriptive statistics were collected. The findings from Phase One provided a theoretical basis for the design and content of the online version of iCare, the intervention studied in Phase Two. Seven Carers completed the four module online self-compassion programme. Data were collected through individual module feedback, post-intervention online qualitative questionnaires and descriptive statistics. Findings: The reflexive thematic analysis of the data generated four overarching themes: The Myth of SuperCarer; Get with the programme!; ‘Being kinder to myself’; and Everyone’s a winner. These explored how participants approached iCareonline, the impact engaging with it had on their well-being and highlighted how participants developed self-care through gaining permission to recognise their own needs. Improvements in psychological well-being and increases in self-compassion were reflected in the quantitative findings. In line with critical realist methodology, a causal mechanism was proposed explaining the development of self-compassion and conscious self-care among participants based on a cyclical model of Carer self-compassion. Implications: This study has relevance for: healthcare practitioners as the findings suggest that these professionals have a key role in legitimising Carer needs and fostering permission in Carers to practise self-care; counselling and psychotherapy professionals who work with Carers who are well-placed to challenge barriers Carer-clients may erect in the face of encouragement to practise self-care and self-compassion. Some of the content of iCare may prove useful to those therapists adopting a pluralistic approach when working with clients who are carers. Finally, teachers of mindful self-compassion could note the importance of the permission-giving aspects of a self-compassion intervention and the role it plays in developing conscious self-care in participants.
    • Professional Development Implications for Counsellors Who Have Worked in The English Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Programme

      Reeves, Andrew; Gubi, Peter; Mason, Richard (University of Chester, 2020-12)
      Background: Prior to the implementation of the IAPT programme by NHS England in 2008, counsellors were commonly employed to deliver psychological therapy in English NHS Primary Care Mental Health (PCMH) services. Pre-IAPT, professional development for PCMH practitioners, like the therapeutic approaches they offered, was non-standardised. Post-IAPT, PCMH provision became standardised, utilising manualised therapies alongside a commitment to outcome data completion. IAPT operates a highly structured approach to PCMH provision, arguably a treatment paradigm, in which ontological and epistemological entities are controlled. The model allows minimal flexibility in relation to what should, and how it should be treated; what data should, and how it should be gathered, and how outcomes should be interpreted. Clinical Commissioning Groups, contract to deliver IAPT services to any qualified providers, using IAPT data to determine performance. Arguably, IAPT has franchised PCMH in England. Professional development of IAPT practitioners is confined to training that supports the delivery of its aims. Consequently, service investment in training is focussed towards NICE approved approaches that are considered to be evidence-based. These approaches are epistemologically nomothetic, creating ideological challenges to counsellors who are epistemologically idiographic. This incommensurability between the IAPT treatment paradigm and counsellors, can affect professional development. Objectives: This research focusses on implications for professional development of counsellors who have worked in IAPT. Conducted amongst ex-IAPT counsellors, to explore: the degree to which counsellors engage in IAPT professional development opportunities; how facilitative IAPT service is to professional development; how counsellors conceptualise and respond to those professional development opportunities. Method: Semi-structured interviews of eight participants who had worked in different IAPT services across England were completed and analysed utilising an Applied Thematic Analysis. Findings: Three themes were identified, exposing many implications for counsellor professional development, influenced by: the IAPT Business and Clinical Models, and Participants Responses to those influences, reflecting both external and internal ideological challenges towards professional development. Conclusions: Ideological incommensurability, can result in both positive and negative professional development outcomes. Business and clinical models contributed to the struggle to identify, secure, or adapt to formal opportunities that are ideologically incompatible. However, participants capitalised on informal professional development opportunities. Exposure to the IAPT program, and the working environment of primary care mental health, enhanced knowledge and experience, administrative competence, and provided valuable exposure to wide-ranging variety of type and complexity in clinical presentation. This was identified as contributing to the development of a notable level of pluralistic practices. Participants did not disclose planned professional development strategies (appearing to respond intuitively to opportunity), suggesting that professional development was lacking intent. Therefore, counsellors are encouraged to reflect upon the type of psychological therapist they wish to become; contemplate the benefit of a structured professional development plan to achieve that aim; recognise the rich potential IAPT offers, and consider how IAPT might contribute to their professional development.
    • The impact of therapist self-disclosure on clients who are themselves therapists: An exploration of discourse and lived experience

      Reeves, Andrew; Swinden, Colleen (University of Chester, 2020-08-18)
      The practice of therapist self-disclosure (TSD) has been of interest to the counselling community for over 100 years. The available literature on the topic is vast. A review of the research literature indicated a need for further research employing three factors: i) the use of a concise definition of TSD; ii) research that includes the client’s perspective; and iii) a methodology that used a qualitative approach, with the underlying assumption that the lived experience of hearing TSD may be more nuanced and complex than has previously been outlined in academic literature. For this study, the definition of TSD was outlined as a statement made by the therapist that reveals something about their life outside of the therapy room. Using semi-structured interviews with eight participants who had experienced TSD, and who were also therapists themselves. The transcripts were analysed twice using a novel approach that employed a combination of interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) and discourse analysis (DA). While in IPA the emphasis is on understanding and gaining a sense of how participants describe their internal life world, by contrast in DA, the analytic emphasis is on the discursive resources used to create or construct those descriptions, and how these are mobilised by participants in terms of subject position and associated rights, duties and responsibilities of these positions. The findings were then synthesised at the post-analytical stage. Six superordinate themes emerged: i) the therapeutic relationship prior to the disclosure; ii) the disclosure content; iii) the disclosure process; iv) the short-term impact; v) the longterm impact, and vi) meaning making. Within these superordinate categories, 17 subordinate themes were identified. The DA analysis explored how, after their experiences as clients, the participants construct their own use of self-disclosure as therapists. The findings illustrated a variety of rhetorical devices that were needed to carefully manage the ethical dilemmas that can potentially accompany a therapist’s decision to disclose (or not) to their clients. These findings support extant research, but also provide fresh interpretations and many opportunities for future research.
    • An exploration of the emotional demands made on clergy wives in the New Testament Church of God tradition in the UK

      Gubi, Peter; West, William; Gardner, Deanne (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-09-30)
      In the context of this research, a ‘clergy wife’ is defined as the wife of a clergyman. The role of clergy wives in the New Testament Church of God (NTCG) involves substantial emotional demands. Emotional demands are aspects of a job, or role, that require continual emotional effort. Clergy wives in the NTCG tradition offer congregants emotional support and spiritual guidance. Each clergy wife is one part of a two-person career in which the wife is inducted into her husband’s career, even though she is not employed in her own right by the organisation. Whilst the emotional demands and their impact on male clergy are welldocumented in research, almost no research has been conducted on the emotional demands made on clergy wives within the NTCG tradition in the UK, and on the support that they may need to enable them to conduct their role effectively and survive its impact emotionally. This qualitative study seeks to explore the lived experiences of wives whose husbands currently serve, or have served, as pastors in the NTCG, in order to identify their current support systems and discover what further support they may need. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants (n=14). The data were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The data reveal that wives experienced many emotional demands as a result of the implicit nature of the position of being a pastor’s wife. Emotional demands arose from: the role and difficulties; exposure to the personal suffering of others; and exposure to experiencing a high level of distress over a prolonged period. The research discusses the impact of emotional demands upon pastors’ wives and the necessity for developing a greater awareness of the needs of this group within the counselling, supervision and pastoral care community. Current support systems are discussed, and further support systems are recommended to enhance better pastoral care of pastors’ wives within the NTCG tradition in the UK.
    • British Military Veterans and the Criminal Justice System in the United Kingdom: Situating the Self in Veteran Research

      Mottershead, Richard (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-11)
      The 21st Century has seen the continuation of armed conflict, exposing military personnel to the rigours of warfare and the challenges of transition back to a civilian identity. There has been a renewed realisation that there exists a sub-group within the criminal justice system (CJS) of veterans and whilst the exact figures are debated, their presence is not. This thesis seeks to capture the perspectives and experiences of veterans who are identified as exoffenders and those having been employed in the CJS as practitioners. The super-structuralist concept of the CJS collectively represent services of a ‘total institution’ that have shared similarities and differences to life within the ‘total institution’ of the Armed Forces. The life stories of the participants indicated that whilst one veteran life story trajectory (veteran practitioner) appeared to be able to adapt during the transition to a civilian identity successfully, there was evidence that the other veteran life story trajectory (veteran exoffender) found themselves segregated and isolated from a familiar veteran identity with few resources to survive the experience unscathed. This exploratory qualitative study provides emancipatory evidence that the process of entering the CJS as offenders often fails to address the origins of their criminal behaviour or from the wider social context that creates a cyclical response. The veteran practitioners appear to hold a crucial insight into the issues and seek to progress the CJS’s need to expand its knowledge base on the identification, diversion and management of veteran offenders. The study was theoretically informed through the use of reflexivity to articulate the internal and external dialogue of what is known and how it is known in understanding the lived experiences of 17 participants. Life stories were collected from in-depth interviews across the United Kingdom. The life stories were analysed thematically, providing insight and understanding through the elicitation of narratives derived from the contours of meaning from the participants’ (veterans) experiences and enunciating the two separate life story trajectories into the CJS. The findings of this study indicate the participants need to belong and explores how their veteran identity instilled in them both a source of strength and a feeling of anguish, as their new lives could not offer the same security and sense of belonging. The negative consequences of being identified as an offender often resulted in the emergence of stigma and associated shame upon themselves and their families. The life stories demonstrated disparities between the attempted empowering philosophies of the veteran practitioners and the practices imposed generally by the CJS. There were numerous examples of how the veterans’ prior exposure to the institution of the Armed Forces had shaped their experiences and engagement with the institutions of the CJS. Both sub-groups of veterans constructed positive ownership of their veteran identity which at times served to counterbalance their negative experiences of transition from military to a civilian identity. These constructions of their experiences highlight the vulnerability of this sub-group within the CJS and the failure of the system and wider society to address the consequences of military service on some veterans. This research raises the issue of the ‘fallout’ from the recruitment of youth from communities where established socio-economic deprivation has created fertile recruitment grounds for the Armed Forces. The analysis identifies a pragmatic need to address the gaps within the research literature as well as multi-agency working, in order to expand veteran peer support schemes. The voice of the veteran has been overlooked within the positivist research approach, this study seeks to capture the viewpoint of the veterans through reflexive exploratory research undertaken by a veteran researcher to understand the phenomena. Researching the experiences of veterans’ experiences of the CJS presented ethical and methodological challenges. The study has provided new knowledge and understanding that can be disseminated and used to improve current practices and policies.
    • Post-mortem consciousness: views of psychotherapists and their influence on the work with clients

      Gubi, Peter; West, William; Nielsen, Claudia (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-08)
      The aim of this study was to explore the views of psychotherapists on postmortem consciousness and whether these views influence their work with clients. The mixed-methods approach used an online survey in stage one, which invited counsellors and psychotherapists to answer questions about their views on post-mortem consciousness. The sole participation criterion was that that participants must be experienced and accredited. Replies were gained from 103 participants. The survey yielded demographic information and included questions allowing for free-text responses for participants to expand on their comments. These were analysed thematically. Participants from stage one, who were willing to be interviewed for this project, were invited to make contact in order to take part in stage two of the research and 12 practitioners were interviewed. The transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Almost 70% of the survey participants indicated that questions about post-mortem consciousness influence the way they live their lives and also the way they work with clients. Additionally, just over 52% of the participants declared a belief in life after death. However, the findings from the interviews showed that 10 out of the 12 therapists who were interviewed were not aware of their clients bringing issues around death or post-mortem consciousness in their work. This may be due to: (1) therapists not having worked on issues relating to their own mortality; (2) a fear of losing credibility if the issue of post-mortem consciousness were to be discussed in the work; (3) confusion between imposing their views and allowing exploration of the topic of postmortem consciousness in their work; (4) the absence of this theme in their professional training; or (5) the possibility that the topic of death and postmortem consciousness was not part of clients’ overt or covert presenting issues. It is suggested that the current scientific paradigm on which counselling and psychotherapy is based, represses the presenting of more open and speculative views about what it means to be human, thereby limiting issues that clients might otherwise bring to therapy. These may include belief in post-mortem consciousness. The research suggests that therapists, supervisors and trainers need to assess their own views about post-mortem consciousness to become more open to, and able to work with, the potential presence of underlying issues that may stem from clients’ views about post-mortem consciousness in clients’ presenting issues.
    • Bridging the Gap: Developing an Adapted Model of Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy for Boys (Aged 11-16 Years) Who Present with Specific Learning Difficulties

      Reeves, Andrew; Gubi, Peter; Tebble, Gary (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-09-30)
      Objective: Young people who present with specific learning difficulties face many challenges and barriers when accessing effective, adjusted and helpful therapeutic intervention and mental health support. The objective of this research was to develop and produce a theoretical model of adapted pluralistic therapy and to address the practice and research gap, through using this therapeutic intervention and the use of therapeutic feedback with boys in psychotherapy. Design: The philosophical underpinning of the study was grounded in a pluralistic and social constructionist stance, which dovetailed and guided the selected systematic case study design (Cooper & Dryden, 2016; Widdowson, 2011).A concurrent mixed methods design was implemented, with a concurrent embedded strategy and an integrative method used for combining the data sets (Iwakabe & Gazzola, 2009; Creswell, 2009). A dual role paradigm of therapist/researcher, client-participant was adopted and embedded within a multiple case study approach, which utilised a grounded theory analysis (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). The dual role was ethical and professionally managed through evaluating the ethical risks of researching with own clients, exploring issues of informed consent including the use of parental consent, the use of rolefluency, strong boundaries, working with levels of self-disclosure, protecting children and avoiding harm, managing confidentiality, outlining benefits for participating in the research and through ongoing clinical and research supervision. Findings: A theoretical framework established from the grounded theory process, indicated that an adapted pluralistic approach had been approved and implemented. This included the development of collaboration and shared understanding through a meta-therapeutic communicative approach (shared-decision making), where therapeutic focus, activities and concepts were also established, in order instigate a reduction of psychological distress and mental health concern. Alongside the pluralistic framework, the use of therapeutic teaching and the emergence of a therapeutic-educational stance was identified as an essential feature of the process. The theoretical model identified consisted of various elements of therapeutic practice, but was centred on four distinct pillars; therapeutic foundation and the creation of a collaborative and pedagogical culture, the development of construction and learning, the development of assimilation and expression and the emergence of therapeutic change and development through the awareness of therapeutic insight. Four key pathways were also highlighted throughout the grounded theory process, which included the empowerment pathway, the engagement pathway, the expression pathway and the enhancement pathway, all of which give the therapeutic process direction and movement. The adapted pluralistic model of practice resulted in a reduction in participant’s psychological distress relating to their presenting issues, with quantitative findings suggesting that both therapeutic reliability change and clinical change was present for most of the participants. Implications: The study has noteworthy relevance for both the psychological professions and the allied fields, including the educational setting. It is also particularly relevant for any professionals working with boys who present with specific learning difficulties and are in the special educational needs grouping, who may be willing to adopt a more pluralistic and adaptive approach.
    • Humanism and the Ideology of Work

      Rigby, Joe; Harrison, Katherine; Ogden, Cassie; Cox, Peter; Mercer, Samuel J. R. (University of Chester, 2018-08)
      This thesis argues that humanism, despite being subject to a sustained critique within the social sciences over the past fifty years or more, continues to limit the critical and explanatory power of the sociology of work, preventing a fuller understanding of the nature of work under contemporary capitalism. Developing Louis Althusser’s (1996) critique of humanism and ideology, humanism is shown to be an ideological problem for the sociology of work insofar as it brackets, obfuscates or mystifies key social relations of work and, by extension, the class struggles reflected in those relations. Humanism presents a persistent and pervasive problem for the sociology of work, as both an explanatory and critical framework. Because of the persistence of humanism in the sociology of work, the problems of contemporary work – and the proposed ‘solutions’ to these problems – are located not in an analysis of the social relations of these realities, but in ideological discourses of human alienation and human self-affirmation. The thesis explores the extent of this ideological problem across three contemporary debates within the sociology of work: ‘postcapitalist’ discourse (Srnicek & Williams, 2015) and the emergence of a contemporary post-work imaginary; feminist discourses on the ‘bioeconomy’ (Cooper & Waldby, 2014) and theories of social reproduction in the context of sex work, tissue donation and surrogacy; and the figuration of labour and work within contemporary social scientific discourses of the ‘Anthropocene’ (Bonneuil & Fressoz, 2016). In each of these areas, the thesis demonstrates how much of the sociology of work continues to rely on humanistic ideas to provide a normative theoretical foundation and a critical edge. If the sociology of work is to provide a genuinely critical orientation for understanding the changing world of work, this thesis argues, then the critique of humanism remains a central task.
    • An exploration of the experiences of working with the topics of sex and sexuality within counselling and psychotherapy training and practice.

      Gubi, Peter; Constantine, Anna (University of Chester, 2019-07)
      Narratives relating to sex and sexuality, expressed explicitly or implicitly, can surface within the therapeutic space. Practitioner training programmes, including the individuals who deliver training, can play a significant role in assisting therapists-in-training to develop competence and reflective self-awareness to enable them to work with these topics. This PhD thesis explores the experiences of, and adequacy of training for, working with the topics of sex and sexuality in counselling and psychotherapy. The aims of this research are to gain insight and understanding into: • The experiences of working with the topics of sex and sexuality from therapists’ and trainers’ perspectives. • The attention given to the topics within counselling and psychotherapy training programmes. • The adequacy of training in this sphere. A hermeneutic phenomenological methodology was employed to conduct the research, informed by the work of van Manen (1990). For Stage I of the study, nine therapists were recruited. The training approaches of the therapist participants included person-centred and integrative modalities. For Stage 2, nine experienced trainers who are currently teaching on a variety of counselling and psychotherapy training programmes, ranging from Diploma to Professional Doctorate were recruited. Individual audio-recorded, semistructured interviews were undertaken and subsequently transcribed. Data were analysed by a thematic approach. The analysis of data for Stage 1 yielded six overarching themes: 1. Sexual taboos. 2. Feeling unprepared. 3. Independent learning. 4. Looking inwards. 5. Beyond training. 6. Sexual diversity. Stage 2 yielded four overarching themes: 1. Personal and professional expressions. 2. Approaches to teaching. 3. Heteronormativity within training. 4. Challenges within training. This research found that the therapists and trainer participants experienced a dissonance in experience in relation to working with sex and sexuality within the training environment. However, there were also similar experiences between the two stages including an agreement of the importance of the topics of sex and sexuality within a therapeutic context. In terms of the efficacy of training in the areas of sex and sexuality, this research found the training to be inadequate. This was particularly clear within Stage 1 of the study and was also evident, to a lesser degree, within Stage 2. The findings reveal that the inadequacy of training may have manifested for a variety of reasons: e.g. the socially constructed taboos around sex and sexuality in the wider socio-cultural environment; an individual’s personal relationship with sex and sexuality and its potential to restrict engagement with the topics, both in training and practice alike. It is important that the counselling and psychotherapy professions take heed of these findings and are proactive in considering better ways to assist therapists-in-training, qualified therapists and psychotherapeutic educators to work with the topics of sex and sexuality in ways that are helpful to the client.
    • A critical exploration of why some individuals with similar backgrounds do or do not become involved in deviant street groups and the potential implications for their future life choices.

      Corteen, Karen M.; Morley, Sharon; Boran, Anne; Garratt, Dean; Hesketh, Robert F. (University of Chester, 2018-08-30)
      This thesis will primarily address the issue of street gang involvement and non-involvement in gang prevalent areas of Merseyside. Specifically, it will address why some individuals with similar backgrounds do or do not become involved in deviant street groups and the potential implications for their future life choices. Reporting for the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) Cordis Bright Consulting (2015) have observed that when assessing young people bout whom there is concern because of violence and street gang involvement, practitioners should consider both risk and protective factors in five key domains: individual, peers, community, school and family. In determining the vulnerability and resilience of young people to gang membership on Merseyside, the study attempted to identify prominent variables within each of these domains and the research was undertaken with participants from a variety of marginalised locations of Merseyside. The study applied a hybrid approach consisting of Biographical Narrative Interpretive Method (BNIM, Wengraf, 2001) as the means of data collection with Grounded Theory (GT) as the form of analysis (Strauss and Corbin, 1990). Two samples of participants were drawn from marginalised areas of Merseyside consisting of a total of 44 males age range 18-25 (one consisting of 26 gang involved participants (termed Deviant Street Group Members (DSGs)), and the second containing 11 non-gang participants (termed ‘Non-group Participants’ (NGPs) and 7 individuals identified as ex-gang participants (termed ‘ExDeviant Street Group participants’ (EDSGMs)). The findings draw attention to the considerable amount of social commentary and government policy that has intensified, pathologised and problemised the issue of gangs, gang membership and gang non-membership in the United Kingdom (UK). Moreover, they identify the effects of marginalisation and limited opportunity as the over-riding protagonists and highlight how young disenfranchised people, some more resilient than others cope with growing up in marginalised areas of Merseyside. In particular, contrary to the EIF’s observations that “family and peer group risk factors are not found to be strongly associated with gang membership as individual risk factors” (2015, p. 7), the study finds evidence that quality of parenting by fathers/father figures (family domain) and friendship networks (peer domain) together with the development of social capital can be key variables in the decision to become involved in or abstain from gang membership on Merseyside. Other factors identified, include the application of demonising government policies, the existence of edgework risk taking including criminal eroticism (individual domain) in young men and the impact of social migration (neighbourhood domain) on the decision to become involved, disengage or completely abstain from gangs was also noted to be significant.
    • An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the lived experience of traumatic bereavement on therapists’ personal and professional identity and practice

      Gubi, Peter; Mintz, Rita; Broadbent, Jeanne R. (University of Chester, 2015-10)
      The self of the therapist is widely recognised as being a crucial component in the therapeutic relationship. However, comparatively little is known about the therapist as a person, or of how life-changing events in therapists’ personal lives may impact on their professional identity and practice. The aim of this phenomenological study was to explore the impact of traumatic bereavement on the personal and professional lives of qualified humanistic therapists in order to shed further light on this under-researched area. Underpinned by a phenomenological-hermeneutic philosophy, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was selected as the methodology most appropriate to reveal participants’ lived experience. Purposive sampling was used to recruit a homogenous sample of eight humanistic therapists who had experienced traumatic bereavement while practising. Data comprised interview transcripts, participants’ reflective writing and researcher field notes. IPA’s idiographic approach facilitated the creation of a detailed and nuanced thematic analysis of the phenomenon, grounded in participants’ voices. Five super-ordinate themes were created from the interpretative phenomenological analysis, each of which provides a complementary ‘lens’ through which to view participants’ holistic experience: ‘Significance of context’, ‘Confronting a changed reality’, ‘Re-learning the world’, ‘Facing professional challenges’ and ‘Personal and professional reciprocity’. Findings reveal the unique contextual and multi-faceted nature of traumatic bereavement, and suggest that this experience can profoundly impact on therapists’ personal and social identities and beliefs. The professional challenges faced by grieving therapists are also highlighted. Findings illustrate that through a reciprocal process of personal and professional integration, the experience of facing, and living through grief, can lead to therapists’ increased self-knowledge, understanding, empathy and authenticity that informs and enhances their therapeutic practice. Supportive supervision and continued self-reflection are evidenced as significant mediating factors. The research demonstrates that the process of integrating the experience of traumatic bereavement into the therapist’s personal and professional life is a continuing and oscillating process. It is crucial that therapists carrying this burden have opportunities to reflect on this process in supportive supervisory relationships in order to pre-empt and ameliorate difficulties they may face in client work. A greater understanding of therapist bereavement is needed across the profession.