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Reverie and research interviews: a theoretical and empirical investigation

Holmes, Joshua T (2015) Reverie and research interviews: a theoretical and empirical investigation. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Research procedures can create emotional distance between researchers and participants, thereby rendering inaccessible the information which the research seeks to elicit. Qualitative researchers look to psychoanalysis for solutions. The thesis falls into three parts. The first traces an intellectual journey establishing the notion of 'relational reverie'. In Bion's theory of maternal reverie inner awareness becomes the pathway to relational understanding. Ogden developed the notion of reverie as a co-created intersubjective phenomenon, distinct from both analyst and patient. The thesis turns to consider reverie can be used in qualitative research. Reverie - preconscious waking dreaming - is ineffable and spontaneous, and could be seen as inherently antithetical to the defined and systematic ethos of research. Conceptualising the interview as an emotional entanglement of personalities, leads to the idea of it as an arena for 'reverie conversations' (both verbal and imagic). The third aspect of the thesis is empirical. The data start from the author's own reverie. Two studies are presented. First, in two face-to-face interviews with adolescents who had received therapy for depression, reverie is shown to help overcome impasse, and instigate hypotheses about the origins of the depression. Second, in analysis of interview scripts, visualised reverie introduced symbolism into impoverished narratives. These experiences raise the question of whether reverie as a research adjunct can be taught and used by researchers. The third study looked at 'reverie teaching groups', exploring how researchers understand, and attempt to bring reverie into their research repertoire. Using reverie in this way tapped into intersubjective communication, giving voice to unspoken narratives. This provided data for further conceptualising the nature of adolescent depression. Theoretically, the thesis develops the concept of 'relational reverie', and suggests a methodology for the enrichment of qualitative research which stays close to clinical realities.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Joshua Holmes
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2015 12:09
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2016 12:43

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