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Male therapist-female client dyad: Emotional possibilities and relational processes in therapy

Pliakou, N (2009) Male therapist-female client dyad: Emotional possibilities and relational processes in therapy In: Annual conference of the BPS Division of Counselling Psychology, 2009-07-09 - 2009-07-11, Warwick, UK.

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Objective: While some theory and anecdotal evidence have pointed to the different feelings male therapists and female clients might experience for each other, there hasn’t been a significant amount of systematic, qualitative research actually investigating these feelings and how they are processed in therapy. Two studies were conducted to fill this gap. Design: Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), which aims to capture individual meaning making in the context of theory, was used to explore female clients’ feelings towards their male therapist. Grounded Theory (GT), which aims to elicit participants’ experiences while challenging existing theories or developing new ones, is used to analyze male therapists’ feelings towards their female clients. Method: Six women who have been in therapy with a male therapist between one to four years ago were selected for the former study and six to eight male therapists are selected for the latter through advertisements and e-mails. Results: Results from the investigation into female clients’ feelings include the significance of the masculine as embodied by their male therapist and its links with these women’s experiences of their father, as well as a difficulty in expressing certain feelings, e.g. romantic ones. Preliminary GT results point to intimate, sometimes romantic, feelings of male therapists but also to challenges in using those therapeutically and their occasional suppression or dissociation. Discussion: Implications for counselling psychologists are discussed under the notion of a ‘mutual analytical transformational process’, enriched with certain theoretical contributions. Attention is paid to the different relational processes that affect the jointly-created therapeutic reality.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Authors :
Pliakou, N
Date : 2009
Contributors :
ContributionNameEmailORCID British Psychological Society,
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 28 Mar 2017 15:27
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 15:06

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