An investigation into the use of the person-centred approach to counselling in a Syrian context

Hett, Justin (2012) An investigation into the use of the person-centred approach to counselling in a Syrian context. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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It has been claimed that the person-centred approach to counselling is largely inappropriate for use in non-Western contexts due to the collectivist and hierarchical nature of many such societies. There is however little available case material through which to substantiate this claim and examine how issues of culture relate to the theoretical concepts underlying the approach.

The aim of this study is to investigate whether the approach can be effectively used in a Syrian context by presenting multiple case studies of clients who received counselling at the University of Damascus. Although predominantly qualitative in nature, quantitative data is also used for the purposes of triangulation, and the rich data sets provide opportunity for situated in-depth analysis as well as cross-case comparison.

The cases suggest that the approach can be effectively used with Arab clients, resulting in internal changes which are in line with Rogers’ predicted outcomes of person-centred therapy such as increased self-acceptance, greater confidence, and an improved ability to deal with problems. Effectual elements of process are examined, with counsellor congruence emerging as being surprisingly significant. The cases constitute some of the first of their kind to demonstrate the use of the approach in a non-Western context.

The study also contributes to an understanding of what it means to work in practice with the ‘client in context.’ It highlights the importance of the counsellor’s cultural empathy, alongside an ability to negotiate non-directivity. As well as examining issues of power in the therapeutic relationship, the impact of client expectations and religious belief are also explored.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education and Lifelong Learning
Depositing User: Users 2593 not found.
Date Deposited: 20 May 2013 11:42
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2013 08:26

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