An exploration of the helpful and hindering aspects of counselling and psychotherapy with Middle Eastern clients in England
AuthorsBin Hasan, Noof
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AbstractOver the last few decades, there has been exponential growth in the demographics of diversity within British society. As a result, Britain is home to many ethnic groups, including at least half a million Middle Eastern individuals. However, when it comes to counselling and psychotherapy with Middle Eastern clients, there appears to be a lack of counselling and psychotherapy literature around the topic in Britain. Therefore, it is becoming more pertinent than ever for the mainstream profession of counselling and psychotherapy to understand the needs of the Middle Eastern population in Britain. This research explored the helpful and hindering aspects of counselling and psychotherapy with Middle Eastern clients living in England. The research aimed to understand the attitude of Middle Eastern individuals towards accessing counselling and psychotherapy support; to explore the helpful and hindering aspects of counselling and psychotherapy for Middle Eastern clients; and to identify the specific ways of relating and attributes utilised by counsellors and psychotherapists in delivering therapy for Middle Eastern clients in England. This research utilised a mixed-methods approach consisting of three distinctive phases. Phase One involved quantitively surveying (online) Middle Eastern individuals in England. This was conducted by employing the Short-Form (Fischer & Farina, 1995) of the Attitude Towards Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale (Fischer & Turner, 1970). 66 survey responses were analysed using the Online Bristol Survey. The purpose of Phase One was to understand the attitude of Middle Eastern individuals towards accessing counselling and psychotherapy support in England, as well as recruiting participants for Phase Two. The survey identified four contactable interviewees who had a lived experience of engaging with counselling as clients. The four interviewees participated in qualitative semi-structured interviews conducted in Phase Two to explore the helpful and hindering aspects of counselling with Middle Eastern clients in England from the client's perspectives. Phase Three focused on counsellors' and psychotherapists' perspectives who have engaged therapeutically with Middle Eastern clients in England. This involved qualitative, semi-structured interviews with six counsellors and psychotherapists who had self-selected to partake. Data gained from the interviews for Phase Two and Phase Three were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The main findings identified a sense of reluctance towards accessing counselling and psychotherapy support; a cultural stigma attached to mental health and counselling; cultural identity factors (i.e., language, religion and gender) that influenced the therapeutic process and relationship; challenges and helpful therapeutic practices; and the importance of cultural sensitivity when working with Middle Eastern clients. The findings of this research are transferable and significant in delivering culturally competent and congruent counselling and psychotherapy support to Middle Eastern clients in England. The findings also have implications for Middle Eastern clients, practitioners, trainers, supervisors, professional bodies, practice, therapy services and policies which need to be considered. Finally, the research findings generated knowledge to enhance our understanding of working effectively with Middle Eastern clients and delivered a sense of justice within the British counselling and psychotherapy literature in England. The research proposes recommendations for future research to consider.
CitationBin Hasan, N. (2022). An exploration of the helpful and hindering aspects of counselling and psychotherapy with Middle Eastern clients in England [Unpublished doctoral thesis]. University of Chester.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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