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Same-sex couple counselling : a qualitative study of client perspectives

The voice of same-sex couple clients has been largely absent from the academic literature. In this thesis, I contribute to this literature by exploring these clients’ experiences of counselling. My aim is to contribute to good practice in counselling and psychotherapy through reflecting on client experiences, and identifying more effective ways of enhancing the therapeutic process. The research in this thesis adopts a predominantly qualitative approach, drawing on three different episodes of data collection: exploratory interviews, an internet survey, and, finally, follow-up interviews with both individuals and couples. I examine the data using thematic analysis, descriptive statistics and discourse analysis. In the exploratory interviews, participants’ narratives showed that they were conscious of, and took the responsibility for managing the potential impact of stigma in their counselling sessions. The internet survey helped to clarify the criteria couples used in their search for counselling, and the ways in which the power of the therapist could both silence the couples and facilitate positive change. In the follow-up interviews, participants positioned their relationships as both the same as, and different from, different-sex relationships, and were sensitised to respond to counsellors’ expressions of power, particularly in relation to the reinforcing of heterosexual norms. Same-sex couple relationships need to be acknowledged by counsellors both as ‘just another relationship’ and as a relationship that is validly different from heterosexual relationships. More specific publicity, stating the extent of the counsellors’ experiences with same-sex couples would enable same-sex couples to make more informed choices in the search for therapy. In addition, counsellors need to develop the knowledge and ease necessary for working with issues of sameness and difference, and to be alert to the impact of power imbalances on clients’ progress in therapy.

Identiferoai:union.ndltd.org:bl.uk/oai:ethos.bl.uk:634386
Date2014
CreatorsGrove, Janet Ann
ContributorsWheeler, Susan; Pugh, Valerie
PublisherUniversity of Leicester
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation
Sourcehttp://hdl.handle.net/2381/31368

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