Creating relational ripples: the interconnectedness of relational space between client and therapist and within the therapist
Subject Categories::C890 Psychology not elsewhere classified
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AbstractThe therapeutic relationship is an area that has been studied extensively, especially in the field of systemic practice. My inquiry focuses on the relational space in the therapy room. The relational space is a concept that may appear in different forms and include words, emotions, non-verbal communication, objects within the context of space and time. The way I use this concept gives me the freedom to describe where, how and in what way interaction happens. As a systemic practitioner researcher, I find the process, and, potentially, the outcome of therapy to be largely defined by: the relational space between myself and my client; the relational space within my different selves; and the interconnectedness of these relational spaces. By being both self-reflexive and relationally reflexive, my research addresses the question of how the relational space between client and therapist interconnects with the relational space within the therapist. My interest in the area emerged as in my practice I observed that when I bring more of myself in the therapy room, more of the client is in there, too. In order to study the complex encounter in the therapy room I use dialogical processes and autoethnography through storywriting: dialogical processes capture the relational nature of my research, and autoethnography gives access to research material from an insider’s perspective. I use stories from practice in a literary style and in an ethical manner, where the focus is neither on the therapy techniques nor on the client’s difficulties. Instead, the focus is on the relational conversation between my client and me, as well as my inner dialogue and thoughts and feelings. The seven stories featured in this doctoral portfolio show the relational flow of the therapeutic process and allow me to articulate more clearly the interconnectedness of relational space between client and therapist and within the therapist. In this way, I hope the readers will feel they are in the room with my client and me. This doctoral portfolio contributes new knowledge to the field of psychotherapy: From a theoretical perspective, I aim to expand systemic thinking by bringing to the fore the relational space within myself as a therapist. The perspective I bring allows us as systemic practitioners and practitioner researchers to: think differently both about the practice of psychotherapy as well as the research; talk about the things that we do not normally talk about; and question what we know and how we know it. From a research perspective, I encourage practitioner researchers to incorporate new ways of researching psychotherapy in an ethically and relationally reflexive manner. From a practical perspective, my research opens up new possibilities in therapy, as it shows a way of improving practice and introduces a new experience of therapy for both the client and the therapist. In a way, what I am trying to do is create a professionally employable space for the personal. Writing autoethnographic stories and using them in my inquiry is a methodological tool, a resource for practitioners who want to make the not-yet-said part of psychotherapy.
CitationKaramatsouki, M (2020) 'Creating Relational Ripples: The Interconnectedness of Relational Space Between Client and Therapist and Within the Therapist'. PhD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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