A phenomenological study of clients' experiences of counselling in a pastoral setting
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AbstractIn this study four people were interviewed about their experiences of counselling in a pastoral setting. The setting is a Counselling Service which is one of the many projects under the auspices of the Church of England's Committee for Social Responsibility. Semi-structured interviews were used to obtain relevant information. The transcribed interviews were analysed in terms of the constant comparative method of qualitative analysis. The analysis of these interviews reveal that the Christian context of the counselling experience was by far the most reflected on by clients. This study provides evidence that the accommodation of Christian beliefs and values within the counselling process was instrumental for therapeutic change to occur for these particular individuals. The quality of the counselling relationship was of central concern to all the participants in the study and clearly underpinned the therapeutic process. Counsellors were reported as being, open, friendly, caring people without pretentious expertise. Feeling safe and comfortable, being accepted, and not being judged by the counsellor were reported as important aspects of the relationship and set the foundation for a positive therapeutic outcome. As discussed, the aim of this study is not to propose any 'universal truths' about clients' experience. However, this glimpse into the subjective experience of clients provides valuable learning about the nature of counselling from the point of view of the client and raises some implications for the Diocesan Counselling Service and for the practice of the counselling profession in general.
TypeThesis or dissertation
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