A case for taking the dual role of counsellor-researcher in qualitative research

Doreen Fleet, Amy Burton, Andrew Reeves, Mani P. DasGupta
2016 Qualitative Research in Psychology  
There is ongoing debate whether the challenges of practice-based research in counselling, with clients discourses providing the raw data, can be overcome. This article begins by considering the argument of whether taking a dual role of counsellor-researcher within case study research is a legitimate qualitative approach. A case example using sand-tray in short-term therapy with adults Downloaded by [86.183.44.82] at 09:43 27 July 2016 A c c e p t e d M a n u s c r i p t 2 from a pluralistic
more » ... m a pluralistic perspective will be provided to demonstrate how the challenges of the dual role can be managed to produce effective research findings. It is suggested that this approach closes the gap between research and practice to produce findings that are highly relevant to the counselling context. The ethical considerations of taking a dual role of counsellor-researcher are considered and finally opportunities and challenges when adopting this approach are identified. (124 words) Downloaded by [86.183.44.82] at 09:43 27 July 2016 A c c e p t e d M a n u s c r i p t 3 words" (Grafanaki, 1996, p336) and closes the gap between research and counselling practice (Rennie, 1994). In direct contrast, Green and Latchford (2012) discuss the opinion of researcher Timothy Baker who argues that there is a widening gulf between researcher and therapist. Baker's view is that the randomized controlled trial (RCT) is the method of choice for improving therapy. However, this reductionist mindset incorporating a nomothetic approach (Smith, 2003), assuming science can reveal general laws applicable to human nature ignores the psychological and emotional complexity inherent in therapeutic practice and risks underestimating the power of therapy (Green and Latchford, 2012). Salvatore and Valsiner (2010) suggest that nomothetic and idiographic notions are "complementary terms, rather than an oppositional dyad" (p817). This reliance on RCT's is not helpful and there is a need for naturalistic studies indicating more collaboration between researcher and therapist (Beutler, 2009). The concept of collaboration is central to the philosophy of pluralism and Cooper and Dryden (2016) describe this as 'an ethical commitment to valuing diversity; and a wariness towards monolithic, all consuming 'truths' (p3). Hanley and Winter (2016) discuss how the pluralistic framework for research suggests the choice of methodology should depend on the research question, goals and aims of the study. For example, an aim to quantify therapeutic effectiveness is best suited to a the use of experiments, surveys and questionnaire; whilst a focus on exploring clients' experiences and processes is more appropriately addressed through qualitative methods.
doi:10.1080/14780887.2016.1205694 fatcat:7ry3vigyi5cv5hu2afc5lcalqy