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Therapist Experiences of Congruence in School-Based Counselling

Scott, K, Blundell, P and Dougan, L (2023) Therapist Experiences of Congruence in School-Based Counselling. European Journal of Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy, 13. pp. 63-79. ISSN 1756-7599

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Congruence is a key counselling concept, cited as the most important of the therapist provided conditions (Rogers, 1967). Whilst literature on congruence and its use within the therapeutic relationship is rich, there is a lack of research exploring how counsellors understand and experience congruence with children in school-based counselling programmes. This study explored how counsellors perceive, experience, and offer congruence with children in school-based counselling. Using phenomenology and hermeneutics as a philosophical basis, semi-structured interviews were conducted with three person-centred counsellors and one integrative counsellor who currently work with children in a school-based counselling service. The data was analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). This analysis found the following themes: (1) Intrapersonal Congruence and (2) Navigating Multiple Terrains. Participants identified intrapersonal congruence of paramount importance when working with children. Moments of insightful non-disclosure of therapist process are common and serve to enhance the therapeutic relationship with children. The ‘self’ of the therapist, and the presence of certain aspects of self in the therapy room, can impact upon congruence. Therapist personal self-disclosure was essential in facilitating a strong therapeutic alliance with children; this paper argues it should be considered a central aspect of congruence with children. Finally, lack of clarity around the unique roles and responsibilities of working in a school setting as a counsellor affected the way therapists experience and offer congruence with children and young people. Implications for training and practice are also considered.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Psychology (from Sep 2019)
Publisher: European Association for Integrative Psychotherapy
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2023 10:22
Last Modified: 10 May 2023 08:30
Editors: Finlay, L
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/19420
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