This thesis explores the life world of twelve occupational therapists. Interpretivist, phenomenological methodology has been employed to capture the central features of what it means to be an occupational therapist. Assumptions arising from phenomenological, social constructionist and hermeneutic theories underpin the methodology. Data gathered from nine in-depth interviews, three participant observations and personal reflection, were analysed in an attempt to understand the therapists' own view of their reality. Four global themes emerged through analysing the findings both phenomenologically and reflexively : 1. Who am I?: The fraught search for an occupational therapy identity; 2. The mission to make a difference : Enacting the therapists' craft; 3. Negotiating the boundaries : The caring-power relationship; 4. Safe haven or battleground? : Collaboration and conflict within the team. Analysis revealed that whilst the therapists' sense of professional identity is profoundly confused, these professionals are committed to holistic, person-centred values and sustained by a belief that occupational therapy promotes health-enhancing change. Therapists are challenged by caring-power relationships as they struggle to negotiate degrees of involvement and are damaged by pressures, abusive people and lack of professional recognition. Their sense of achievement when they make a difference helps them to regenerate themselves and they are 'healed' when valued in relationships with both patients/clients and team members. Throughout their various challenges, struggles and satisfactions, therapists are engaged in a search to find themselves and to cope in their uncertain world. Whilst the findings largely confirm the existing literature, they also offer some challenges. Therapists' experience has been found to be more complex (intense, ambivalent and contradictory) in practice than the literature indicates. A discussion explores the implications of the research for professional practice. The thesis also critically examines the use and value of phenomenology and reflexivity as research methods.
A Phenomenological Investigation of the Lived Experiences of African American Adults in Individual Mental Health CounselingMartin, Jessica 01 January 2015 (has links)
African Americans continue to access non-emergency mental health care at a lower rate than White Americans, despite have equal risk for mental health issues. Currently, literature in counseling focuses on this deficit and why African Americans do not attend counseling, as opposed to those African Americans who do choose to go into counseling. The purpose of this heuristic phenomenological study was to investigate the lived experiences of adult African American mental health counseling clients. Two types of purposive sampling, criterion and snowball, were used to identify and recruit participants. Six African American women were selected for inclusion in this study. Data for this study were collected through two face-to-face audio-recorded interviews with each participant, a demographics questionnaire and researcher field notes. Experiences and meanings identified in this study included: Navigating Crisis, Stigma of Counseling, Counselor and Client Relationship and Acceptance of Self and Others. This study adds a counter-narrative to the counselor literature that highlights African Americans who do choose to become counseling clients, their experiences, and the meanings they take away from that experience.
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