• Living with dementia under COVID-19 restrictions Coping and support needs among people with dementia and carers from the IDEAL cohort

      O'Rourke, G.; Pentecost, C.; Van den Heuvel, E.; Victor, C.; Quinn, Catherine; Hillman, A.; Litherland, R.; Clare, L. (2021)
      Stringent social restrictions imposed during 2020 to counter the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic could significantly affect the wellbeing and quality of life of people with dementia living in the community and their family carers. We explored the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on people with dementia and family carers in England and considered how negative effects might be mitigated. We conducted semi-structured telephone interviews with 11 people with dementia and 11 family carers who were ongoing participants in the IDEAL cohort during the initial ‘lockdown’ period in May and June 2020, and follow-up interviews with five people with dementia and two carers as restrictions were eased in July. We analysed interview data and triangulated the findings with issues raised in dementia-specific online forums. Findings showed some people with dementia were coping well, but others experienced a range of negative impacts, with varying degrees of improvement as restrictions were eased. The need for clear personalised information relating to COVID-19 and the value of support in the form of regular ‘just checking’ phone calls was emphasised. This exceptional situation provides a natural demonstration of how social and psychological resources shape the potential to ‘live well’ with dementia. While some support is recommended for all, a personalised approach to determine needs and coping ability would ensure that further practical and emotional support is targeted effectively.
    • 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.
    • 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.