Situating the researcher in qualitative psychotherapy research around spirituality

West, William (2009) Situating the researcher in qualitative psychotherapy research around spirituality. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 22 (2). pp. 187-195. ISSN 0951-5070

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This paper explores how the culture of the researcher can influence the interpretation of data collected using interview transcripts from a study into psychotherapy and spirituality. In the original study 18 psychotherapists and counsellors who were also members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) were interviewed about how their faith impacts on their therapeutic practice. The researcher was white, male, British, a humanistic therapist and a Quaker. Five out of the 18 interview transcripts were randomly selected and were given to seven researchers, from a variety of religious backgrounds who also analysed the interviews and commented on their experience of doing the analysis. Their reactions to the data were subjected to a heuristic thematic analysis drawn from Moustakas' heuristics. The main themes that emerged were: researchers' religious and spiritual reactions to the data; researchers' reactions as therapists; and researchers' reactions to the interviews and interview process. The implications for the standpoint of the researcher in qualitative research are explored.

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