Unseen dance: subtle interactions and their implications for the therapeutic relationship
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date31/12/2019
Cameron, Rose Ann
This thesis examines an aspect of embodied relationship that is recognised in colloquial figures of speech but is not theorised, nor even much acknowledged in the psychotherapeutic literature. It argues that when we experience subtle sensations of extending towards another person, as we might when our "heart goes out" to them, and of pulling away, as we might when we "draw back", this seemingly internal experience is snesed by the other. Using a phenomenological-hermeneutic methodology underpinning by Merleau-Ponty, van Manen and Todres, exercised were used to bring such experiences to the awareness of several cohorts of experienced and inexperienced therapists attending a training course. Verbal and written accounts of what was felt during the exercised, and of similar experiences from more naturalistic settings, were collected along with the researchers' own accounts. These accounts are discussed within the framework of a Gadamerian Conversation with a view to making explicit the implication for Person-centred therapy with regard to practice, supervision and training. The conversation speaks of the the impact of these experiences upon whether or not clients perceive therapists as authentic, unconditionally accepting and empathic. Assumptions are uncovered and challenged and an alternative narrative emerges from a consideration of multiple contexts. The conversation also speaks of an unseen dance of closeness and distance that arises as each moves towards and away from the other. Conversation (and silence) is inevitably accompanied and impacted by this dance, which happens in the background of every interaction. The unseen dance impacts not only the relationship, but also each person's organismic state.