2018 National Research Success

Our 2018 L5 HPD students continue to be successfully in being chosen to present their research at National Level.
This year four groups of our students presented their research in Poster Presentation form at the BACP Annual Research Conference held in May in London.
Their papers (seen below)can be applied for by contacting Christine.Brown@lcandcta.co.uk


The Exploration of Clients’ Experience of Counselling in Relation to Recovery from Substance Misuse

Presenters: SandeepJutla, TolisMarinos

Authors: Nicky Smiles, Kym Winup

Institution: LewishamCounselling and Counsellor Training Associates

Professional Role: Trainee Counsellors

Email: c/o Christine.brown@lcandcta.co.uk

Key Words: Recovery, Addiction, Counselling Relationship, Safety.

Title: The Exploration of Clients’ Experience of Counselling in Relation to Recovery from Substance Misuse

Aim/Purpose: To explore how recovering substance misusers experienced the counselling process/alliance during on-going recovery. Our purpose is to better inform counsellors’ working with this client group.

Design/Methodology: Four respondents, who had received counselling as part of their rehabilitation process, were audio/interviewed. Our resulting data were analysed thematically, informed by phenomenology (Smith et al, 2009). Ethical approval was granted by our College’s Ethical Research Board. Our respondents were offered six no-fee counselling sessions, should issues arise for them subsequent to their participation in our research. BACP guidelines for ethical research in counselling/psychotherapy (Bond and Griffin, 2010) were followed.

Results/Findings: Overall our findings indicate that counselling appears to promote growth for recovering addicts. It seems to provide the opportunity for such clients to work on/through underlying, pre-existing issues without the need to focus on their drug misuse. However, it seems that certain therapeutic conditions have to be met within the alliance, almost, from outset; it appears that this client group requires a high sense of safety, non-judgementalness and trust in their relationship with the Counsellor. The Counsellor’s ‘quality of presence’ (Mearns, 2003) seems to be essential. Also our findings suggest the counselling alliance needs to span a number of years and clients need to experience their counsellors as skilled professionals (whilst this rests only in the clients’ subjective opinion). Our findings also suggest that short/time-limited counselling can be useful to clients but seems to increase the clients’ vulnerability and increase their need for further/other support.

Research Limitations: This was localised research thus our findings are based on a small respondent sample, which maybe unique to the relatively few praticipants who were included in our study; thus our findings have limited generalisability (McLeod, 2003).Also the subjective respondent responses make systematic comparisons difficult.

Conclusions/Implications: It appears counselling offered to this client group needs to be long-term and the counsellor’s ability to build the trust in the alliance appears paramount to a successful therapeutic outcome with such clients. It seems counsellors are of most support/help to clients in this group when therapeutic focus is given to clients’ underlying issues, rather than to the presenting issue of addiction/substance misuse.

Word count: 349

References:

  • Bond, T, Griffin, (2010), ‘BACP Ethical Guidelines of Researching Counselling& Psychotherapy,’ Rugby, BACP
  • Mearns, D, ‘Developing Person Centered Counselling’, 2nd Edition, London, Sage
  • Jonathan Smith, Paul Flowers & Michael Larkin (2009) Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis; Theory, Method and Research. SAGE Publications Ltd
  • McLeod, J, (2001), ‘Qualitative Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy’,London, Sage, D, (2003)
  • McLeod, J. (2003) Doing Counselling Research, 2nd edn. London: SAGE Publications Ltd

How have transgender people experienced counselling and how might they wish to experience counselling?

Presenters: Allyson Devenish and Marion Sanders

Other Authors: Margherita Brichetto, Richard Hennebert, Braulio Tenza

Professional Role:Higher Professional Diploma Students

Institution/ Affiliation: Lewisham Counsellor and Counselling Training Associates

Contact details: c/o Christine Brown, Broadway House, 15-16 Deptford Broadway, London SE8 4PA

Email: c/o christine.brown@lcandcta.co.uk

Abstract type: Student Poster

Four Keywords: Transgender, Experience, Transition, Counselling

Title of presentation: How have transgender people experienced counselling and how might they wish to experience counselling?”

Aim/ Purpose: Our aim wasto explore how a number of transgender people experienced the counselling process and its effectiveness, before, during and/or after gender-transition had taken place. Our purpose was to illuminate how practitioners may offer this client group a more effective therapeutic alliance most suited to the clients’ expressed needs.

Design/Methodology: Three respondents self-identifying as post gender-transition persons, were audio-taped during semi-structured interviews. We obtained approval from LC&CTA Ethics Board to interview these respondents who were offered six sessions of ‘no-fee’ counselling if they required support after participation in our research. Throughout our research we adhered to the BACP framework for ethical research practice (Bond and Griffin, 2010). Our data was thematically analysed and informed by the principles of interpretative phenomenology (Smith et al, 2009).

Results/Findings: Respondents disclosed they had known since childhood they were in bodies of the wrong gender and needed gender-transition, regardless of obstacle/s. Counselling was resented as an “enforced” process prior to gender-reassignment being approved. Counsellors were experienced as judgemental assessors who questioned respondents’ self-knowledge and choice. Distrust of the counsellor and of the purpose of the therapeutic alliance were also expressed. Conversely, respondents identified a need for counselling and expressed how helpful counselling could have been if it had assisted them in exploring issues of gender-identity, potential reactions from friends, peers and family, and concerns about future intimate relationships. However, the compulsory nature of the counselling alliance prevented such exploration. Additionally, respondents also stated that counsellors appear to lack awareness, understanding of and training in the issues transgender clients face.

Research Limitations: Our findings may not be open to generalisation due to the limited number of respondents taking part in our research and the qualitative method we employed for data analysis(McLeod, 2003).

Conclusions/Implications: Our findings suggest a more comprehensive/holistic, and less diagnostic/evaluative, counselling approach be developed to support individuals in making their own decisions in regard to gender-reassignment.

Additionally, it seems counsellors, in general, need to develop a deeper awareness/understanding of the sensitive emotional/relational issues facing transgender clients; perhaps this could be achieved during Diversity Training specific to the Counsellor Training process or through explicit Continued Professional Development Training.

References

Bond, T. and Griffin, G. (2010) Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy: BACP

McLeod, J. (2003) Doing Counselling Research, 2ndEdition. London: SAGE Publications Ltd

Smith, J., Flowers, P., Larkin, M. (2009) Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis; Theory, Method and Research.London:SAGE Publications Ltd


An exploration of men diagnosed with an eating disorder and their experience of counselling

Name of presenters: Amelia Montague-Rendall and Julie Cully

Other authors: Richard Ellis and Chinako Mike

Institution: Lewisham Counselling and Counselling Training Associates.

Professional Roles: Higher Professional Diploma Year 2 Students.

Contact Details: C/O. Christine Brown Broadway House, 15-16 Deptford Broadway, SE8 4PA.

Email: C/O Christine.brown@lcandcta.co.uk.

Abstract Type: Student Poster

Key Words: Males/Eating-Disorders, Experiences, Counselling, Awareness

Title of presentation: “An exploration of men diagnosed with an eating disorder and their experience of counselling”.

Aim & Purpose: Strother et al, (2012) described male eating disorders (EDMs/EDs) as “under-diagnosed, under-treated and misunderstood”. As little research seems to exist on men’s experiences of EDs we aimed to gain a better understanding of this client group’s experiences, with the purpose of increasing counsellors’ awareness of the issues inherent in EDMs.

Methodology: Overall ten clients were approached and two agreed to participate in semi-structured/audio-recorded interviews. These respondents had received two or more years counselling. Common themes and anomalies were identified in the data using Thematic Analysis informed by phenomenology (McLeod, 2011). We followed BACP ethical guidelines for researching counselling and psychotherapy (Bond and Griffin, 2010). Participants were offered six ‘no-fee’ counselling sessions should they need support after participation in our research. Our College Ethical Research Board approved our research.

Results/Findings: Participants described a lack of understanding for their disorder prior to counselling however counselling appeared to address this. Findings also suggest the quality and length of the therapeutic relationship were integral to a positive therapeutic outcome for participants

Respondents disclosed that counselling assisted them in developing greater self-acceptance, awareness/understanding of their disorder and thus they were then able to develop better management of it. Trust in the therapist, counsellor/client honesty and a focus on the client as an individual - rather than the eating disorder – appeared vital to the therapeutic process.

Research Limitations: Our qualitative findings may not be open to transferability (Braun and Clarke, 2013) and the qualitative method we employed makes systematic comparison difficult as data is subjective. Males in this client group seemed adverse to play a part in our research making our participant sample small.

Conclusions/Implications: The apparent reluctance in males diagnosed with an ED to disclose/talk about their experiences (indicated in the limitations)might be an indication of why this client group remains under-diagnosed/under-treated; perhaps more needs to be done to de-stigmatise EDMs. To enhance the possibility of positive outcomes, counsellors working with this client group might attend to developing the psychotherapeutic relationship and giving focus to the client himself, rather than giving core emphasis to the EDM and its management.

Word Count: 343

References:

  • Bond, T., Griffin (2010).Ethical guidelines for researching counselling and psychotherapy. Available at: https://www.bacp.co.uk/docs/pdf/e_g.pdf.
  • Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2013).Successful qualitative research: a practical guide for beginners. London: SAGE.
  • McLeod, J. (2011). Qualitative research in counselling and psychotherapy.London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
  • Stretcher, E.,Lemberg,R., Stanford,S.C., and Turberville,D. (2012).Eating disorders in men under diagnosed, underrated, and misunderstood. Eat Discord,20(5), pp.346-55.

The experience of Muslim men as they actualise-self as gay males and how this may inform counsellors working with this clients group

Presenter(s): Neil Gittoes and Sarah Rees


Professional Role: Higher Professional Diploma Students


Institution/Affiliation: Lewisham Counsellor and Counselling Training Associates (LC&CTA)
Contact Details:Chris Brown, Broadway House, 15-16 Deptford Broadway, London, SE8 4PA


Email: c/o Christine.brown@lcandcta.co.uk Abstract Type: Student Poster


Four Keywords: Islam, Gay, Actualising-self, Disenfranchisement

Title of Presentation: The experience of Muslim men as they actualise-self as gay males and how this may inform counsellors working with this clients group

Aim/Purpose: To investigate, understand and describe the intra-personal and social world of Muslim men who self-identify as gay; specifically the religious, cultural and traditional issues that arise. Our purpose was to inform/enlighten counsellors working with this client group.

Design/Methodology: Three self-identified Muslim, gay males, were audio-recorded during semi-structured interviews. Respondents were offered six fee-free counselling sessions should issues arise specific to their participation in our research. We used thematic analysis informed by phenomenology (Smith, et al, 2009) to analyse our data. We followed BACP guidelines for ethical research in counselling (Bond and Griffin, 2010).

Results/Findings: Our findings indicated that respondents experienced fear/isolation, oppression/repression and the need to maintain an identity facade. Respondents had experienced traditional Islamic social/cultural/religious and family values since childhood, which had result in them developing a self-protective, heterosexual male facade within family/social settings; respondents consequentially experienced internalised identity-conflict . Respondents had felt an overwhelming pressure to maintain their family name through marriage and siring children. Some family members had disowned our respondents when they ‘came-out’ and it seems suicide among respondents’ peers was not an uncommon experience. Eventually, in order to actualise-self as gay men respondents had severed all family/cultural ties. However, our respondents continue to identify as Muslim and some still engage in religious practices in private. Isolation and fear of being misunderstood as Islamic and gay has thus far prevented our respondents from seeking support through personal counselling.

Research Limitations: Our findings are based on a small respondent sample, which may be unique to the relatively few individuals who were included in our study. Thus, our findings may have limited generalisability (McLeod, 2003).

Conclusions/Implications: Based on our respondents’ subjective experiences findings suggest this client-group feels disenfranchised both internally and externally to Islam. It seems the counselling profession has done little to reach out in support of such gay men. Counsellors working with this client group can be mindful that themes of fear, isolation and internalised identity-conflict are likely to arise. Building clients’ trust in the therapeutic alliance appears key, as such clients have ‘kept their lives a secret’and unlikely to have experienced external support or empathic understanding from others.

Word Count: 350

References

  • Bond, T & Griffin, G(2010) Ethical framework for good practice in counselling & psychotherapy. Lutterworth: British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
  • McLeod, J (2003) Doing counselling research, 2ndedn. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
  • Jonathan Smith, Paul Flowers & Michael Larkin(2009) Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis; Theory, Method and Research. SAGE Publications Ltd.

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