• Practitioner-based research and qualitative interviewing: Using therapeutic skills to enrich research in counselling and psychotherapy

      McVey, Lynn; Lees, J.; Nolan, G. (2015-06)
      The researcher’s reflexive use of self forms part of a well-established tradition in counselling and psychotherapy research. This paper reviews that tradition briefly, with particular reference to an approach known as ‘practitioner-based research’ that has developed from it. In this approach, researcher-practitioners use their therapeutic skills and judgement and thereby enrich their understanding of research participants, themselves and their relationship. Aim: The paper aims to contribute to the practitioner-based approach by showing how it can impact on data collection, using an example from a qualitative interview. Methodology: A moment of interaction between a participant and a therapy researcher in a qualitative interview is examined, framed within psychotherapeutic intersubjectivity theory. The researcher’s reflexive awareness of micro-aspects of the relationship with the participant is reviewed, captured in their language and the split-second daydreams or reveries that arose as they interacted. Findings: The authors argue that the approach enhanced this small-scale study by intensifying the researcher’s engagement with the participant and enriching her understanding of their relationship and the subject under investigation. Implications: The paper highlights the unique value and contribution that this approach offers to therapy research and practice.
    • The predictive moment: reverie, connection and predictive processing

      McVey, Lynn; Nolan, G.; Lees, J. (2020-07)
      According to the theory of predictive processing, understanding in the present involves non-consciously representing the immediate future, based on probabilistic inference shaped by learning from the past. This paper suggests links between this neuroscientific theory and the psychoanalytic concept of reverie–an empathic, containing attentional state–and considers implications for the ways therapists intuit implicit material in their clients. Using findings from a study about therapists’ experiences of this state, we propose that reverie can offer practitioners from diverse theoretical backgrounds a means to enter the predictive moment deeply, making use of its subtle contents to connect with clients.
    • Reflective‐verbal language and reverie in a qualitative interview

      McVey, Lynn; Lees, J.; Nolan, G. (2016-06)
      Background: in contrast to dominant approaches to therapy research that look at outcomes and focus on large samples, another primary strand of research considers microphenomenal processes and focuses on small samples. This paper contributes to the latter genre in regard to the implicit impact of language. Aim: this paper aims to apply relational psychotherapeutic thinking about empathic dialogue, specifically the concepts of reflective-verbal language and reverie, to qualitative interviewing. Methodology: an example from a small-scale study about emotionally-evocative language is reviewed in detail, focusing on the interviewer’s phenomenological experience of her conversation with a participant in a qualitative interview. Findings: the authors argue that the interviewer’s reflexive awareness of her reveries and the reflective-verbal nature of the research dialogue, gave her an alternative perspective on the participant’s (and her own) experience. Implications: the paper highlights the value within research and practice of maintaining awareness of language at a microphenomenal level, using techniques based on the principles of psychological therapy.