Focusing for a change: a study of Experiential Focusing and the processes that lead to personal growth.

Langsdon, Martin (2021) Focusing for a change: a study of Experiential Focusing and the processes that lead to personal growth. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This study arose in the light of theoretical and practical criticisms of Focusing and Focusing-oriented Therapy. It evaluates and develops the theory of Focusing and Focusing-oriented Therapy as an integrative approach to therapy and explores the process of personal growth for individuals within therapy and Focusing partnerships. It then develops the teaching and learning model for counsellor education.

The thesis examines the theory and practice of Focusing and of Focusing-oriented Therapy since its inception and other therapeutic disciplines such as mindfulness-based interventions. It explores the experiences of people learning Focusing and Focusing-oriented Therapy within the context of professional training in counselling.

Review and analysis of the literature suggested that Focusing should be re-described as a process of attending to, symbolising and exploring a range of human responses to life events and that the different techniques of Focusing-oriented Therapy should be understood as different facets of that core endeavour. A comparison with Emotion-focused Therapy, Mindfulness-based interventions and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy suggested that radical acceptance of emotion, cognition and bodily experiences is a key part of what Focusing and Focusing-oriented Therapy offer. The thesis examined the range of techniques and strategies that feature in psychotherapy and recommended that emotion, cognition and behaviour should be experienced and understood as interrelated aspects of the human person.

An Interpretative Phenomenological Analytical approach (IPA) was adopted. The research involved the participation of 11 former counselling students from a British university who had participated in a training programme in Focusing and in Focusing partnerships. Data was collected through the method of audio-recorded semi structured interviews over a period of 9 months. It is presented in the form of super-ordinate themes that capture research participants’ insights and correlate these with the research aims of the study.

The thesis concludes that Focusing and Focusing-oriented Therapy can be disseminated as a plurality of change processes that integrate emotion, cognition and behavioural change within the human person and that therapy training programmes can usefully incorporate the key lessons from the study. Indeed, the thesis proposes that Focusing should feature as a core part of the professional skills training for counsellors and psychotherapists as well as an aspect of the personal development aspect of their training.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education and Lifelong Learning
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2022 10:24
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2022 10:24

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