The therapeutic relationship in psychodynamic therapy

Haskayne, Donna Brook (2012). The therapeutic relationship in psychodynamic therapy. University of Birmingham. Clin.Psy.D.

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Outcome research has shown that the experience of a rupture-repair process in the therapeutic relationship can have a beneficial impact upon symptomology, interpersonal problems and social functioning. There is a lack of qualitative research on therapeutic ruptures and how they are repaired. This study explored parallel accounts of therapeutic ruptures produced by clients and therapists during long-term psychodynamic therapy. Interviews were conducted with four client-therapist dyads. The data were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Five overarching themes and six sub-themes are presented. These included: clients’ experience of the danger of emotional experience (Emotions as dangerous); accounts of the discovery during therapy being a difficult and gradual experience (Therapeutic discovery; gradual and hard work; to and fro); the experience of problems within the therapeutic relationship (The struggle; not knowing; control and power); followed by a connection within the relationship (The positive connection; emotional sensitivity; shining a light); and the experience of the end of the therapy (Leaving and being left). The findings are discussed in relation to the literature on the emotional experience of psychodynamic therapy. The results demonstrated the importance of attunement and reciprocity within the therapeutic relationship to help maintain a positive connection in the dyads.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Clin.Psy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Clin.Psy.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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