An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis Exploring the Client’s Experience of Therapy: Making Sense of Therapy
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Gillespie, Martha E
By exploring clients’ experience of therapy it is possible to uncover a novel and deeper understanding of how individuals conceptualise their experience of being a client in therapy. This insight can provide practitioners with invaluable information regarding how best to conduct sessions, as well as relevant information which addresses what it is to be a client. By using the phenomenological principles of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), it is possible to reveal a radically different understanding of how clients process and understand therapy. In this study, open ended interviews were conducted with seven female participants, all of whom had an experience of therapy. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. The transcripts were then analysed with an awareness of reflexivity to ensure the themes extracted were well grounded in the data. The master themes of “Understanding Therapy” and “Doing Therapy” were derived from the analysis, which referred to the ways clients made sense of their experience, and clients’ attitudes and behaviours towards therapy, respectively. Furthermore, secondary subthemes are suggested which account for more specific aspects of these thematisations. These are elucidated through the usage of quotes and are supported by existing literature. Implications of the results are discussed, and suggestions for further research are proposed.