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Client at the Heart of Therapy

In 2000 and 2001 I conducted a qualitative study titled 'The Client at the Heart of Therapy' as part of my MSc in Counselling Studies. I was keen to expand my understanding of what it is that people get out of going to see a counsellor. I wanted to know more about what counselling meant to people and what they found in counselling that helped them cope with their problems. While investigating the literature as part of my dissertation, I found a substantial amount of research into the client's process and outcomes of therapy. However, the majority of this work was related from either the therapist's or the expert's viewpoint. Very few studies actually asked the clients themselves what therapy had meant to them in their own words. This motivated me further to try and put aside the various theories that I had been taught in order to discover from the client's perspective what had made a difference to them.

The presentation and papers below are the result of this inquiry. They cover both the study itself, and also the review of the literature at that time. I have also included a reflective paper which may be of interest to new researchers about to undertake a qualitative study. It gives an insight into the personal process that can go hand in hand with undertaking an in-depth investigation.