An Exploration of the Experience of Psychotherapists Working with Clients Presenting with Bodily Symptoms: a heuristic inquiry

Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10142/614832
Title:
An Exploration of the Experience of Psychotherapists Working with Clients Presenting with Bodily Symptoms: a heuristic inquiry
Authors:
Haghighat-Khah, Bahareh
Abstract:
The aim of this inquiry is to explore psychotherapists’ experience of working with clients who present with bodily symptoms. The research explores how psychotherapists understand and address these presentations, and how theoretical constructions of the body are utilised, or not, to enable them and their clients to make sense of their experience. Heuristic inquiry is used as the method to analyse the data, through semi-structured interviews with eight psychotherapists. A review of the existing literature highlights two schools of thought. Firstly, there is a consideration of the psychoanalytic and psychosomatic approach to understanding bodily symptoms, beginning with Freud’s (1905) earlier notions of conversion disorder and hysteria. Secondly, there is an exploration of the notion of the body through phenomenology and the work of Merleau-Ponty (1962) who uses the terms embodiment and the lived body, as a primary site of knowing and being with the world. Findings from the study highlight themes that suggest, for some, theory and dualistic explanations play a part in how the body is understood. While others work with bodily presentations through lived description, expressing how it’s through the world that the body can be understood. A critical consideration of the research method implicates the problem of using heuristics, where the method moves from a post-modern free flowing approach to a more rigorous and modern stance. Also there is a review of the experience of conducting this research and the choice of the research question. Suggestions for further research include an exploration and understanding of the body through “unknowing”, where therapists can be encouraged to hold a space of openness and uncertainty, as an attempt to deny theoretical constructs and dualistic explanations, as well as a suggestion for using poetry and poetic language to best describe the experience of the body, in keeping with a phenomenological practice.
Advisors:
Cayne, Julia
Publisher:
Roehampton University
Issue Date:
2015
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10142/614832
Type:
Thesis or dissertation
Language:
en
Description:
This thesis has been withheld from the repository. The thesis can be accessed in full at the University of Roehampton's Library.
Appears in Collections:
PhD Theses

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.advisorCayne, Juliaen
dc.contributor.authorHaghighat-Khah, Baharehen
dc.date.accessioned2016-06-27T15:42:24Z-
dc.date.available2016-06-27T15:42:24Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10142/614832-
dc.descriptionThis thesis has been withheld from the repository. The thesis can be accessed in full at the University of Roehampton's Library.en
dc.description.abstractThe aim of this inquiry is to explore psychotherapists’ experience of working with clients who present with bodily symptoms. The research explores how psychotherapists understand and address these presentations, and how theoretical constructions of the body are utilised, or not, to enable them and their clients to make sense of their experience. Heuristic inquiry is used as the method to analyse the data, through semi-structured interviews with eight psychotherapists. A review of the existing literature highlights two schools of thought. Firstly, there is a consideration of the psychoanalytic and psychosomatic approach to understanding bodily symptoms, beginning with Freud’s (1905) earlier notions of conversion disorder and hysteria. Secondly, there is an exploration of the notion of the body through phenomenology and the work of Merleau-Ponty (1962) who uses the terms embodiment and the lived body, as a primary site of knowing and being with the world. Findings from the study highlight themes that suggest, for some, theory and dualistic explanations play a part in how the body is understood. While others work with bodily presentations through lived description, expressing how it’s through the world that the body can be understood. A critical consideration of the research method implicates the problem of using heuristics, where the method moves from a post-modern free flowing approach to a more rigorous and modern stance. Also there is a review of the experience of conducting this research and the choice of the research question. Suggestions for further research include an exploration and understanding of the body through “unknowing”, where therapists can be encouraged to hold a space of openness and uncertainty, as an attempt to deny theoretical constructs and dualistic explanations, as well as a suggestion for using poetry and poetic language to best describe the experience of the body, in keeping with a phenomenological practice.en
dc.description.provenanceSubmitted by Anne Pietsch (a.pietsch@roehampton.ac.uk) on 2016-06-27T15:41:42Z No. of bitstreams: 1 Bahareh Haghighat-Khah Thesis.pdf: 5025032 bytes, checksum: 20dc606c98a5050580c0ba1111a03cd7 (MD5)en
dc.description.provenanceApproved for entry into archive by Anne Pietsch (a.pietsch@roehampton.ac.uk) on 2016-06-27T15:42:22Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 Bahareh Haghighat-Khah Thesis.pdf: 5025032 bytes, checksum: 20dc606c98a5050580c0ba1111a03cd7 (MD5)en
dc.description.provenanceMade available in DSpace on 2016-06-27T15:42:24Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1 Bahareh Haghighat-Khah Thesis.pdf: 5025032 bytes, checksum: 20dc606c98a5050580c0ba1111a03cd7 (MD5) Previous issue date: 2015en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherRoehampton Universityen
dc.titleAn Exploration of the Experience of Psychotherapists Working with Clients Presenting with Bodily Symptoms: a heuristic inquiryen
dc.typeThesis or dissertationen
dc.publisher.departmentDepartment of Psychologyen
dc.type.qualificationnamePsychDen
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoralen
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