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The impact of instrumentalism on British counselling and psychotherapy

Randall, Seb (2017) The impact of instrumentalism on British counselling and psychotherapy. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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This thesis explores the impact of instrumentalism on the praxis of counselling and psychotherapy in Britain, and is based on an ethnographic study of responses to state and organisational authority in the form of the social actions of therapists within several therapy-based institutions. Following a brief social history of British psychotherapy, the thesis includes an autoethnographic account of my entry into a psychotherapy habitus and my emerging self-identified role as an involved observer. This is followed by a discussion of material (from the period 2006-2015) arising from an analysis of six case studies and forty-five in-depth interviews. During this time, therapy organisations acted partly to facilitate the expected statutory regulation of counselling and psychotherapy, and partly in anticipation of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapy scheme. These actions included the codification and componentisation of therapy praxis in compliance with NICE guidelines for the empirical evaluation and approval of psychological therapy, using outcome measures and randomised controlled trials. They took place against a backdrop of neoliberal imperatives, designed to reduce welfare payments, (including the use of therapy as workfare), and the recasting of therapy knowledge within an economistic perspective. My informants include: senior therapy managers and training course directors within counselling and psychotherapy organisations who were collectively engaged in the production of monistic representations of therapy, therapy trainers subjected to numericised emotion management, and students on training courses aligned to digitally-Taylorised representations of therapy praxis. The thesis concludes with an interpretation of these actions, using a range of sources, followed by a discussion of the acts of resistance (since the beginning of 2016) by factions of therapists.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of > Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation
Depositing User: Sebastian Randall
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2017 14:08
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2017 14:08

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