• 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.