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Phenomenology for Therapists: Researching the Lived World

ISBN: 978-1-119-97512-0
304 pages
July 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
Phenomenology for Therapists: Researching the Lived World (1119975123) cover image


This book provides an accessible comprehensive exploration of phenomenological theory and research methods and is geared specifically to the needs of therapists and other health care professionals.
  • An accessible exploration of an increasingly popular qualitative research methodology
  • Explains phenomenological concepts and how they are applied to different stages of the research process and to topics relevant to therapy practice
  • Provides practical examples throughout
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Table of Contents

About the Author vii

Preface ix

Part I The Phenomenological Project: Concepts, Theory and Philosophy 1

Introduction to Part I 3

1 Phenomenology: Bridging the Practice–Research Divide? 5

2 The Phenomenological Project 15

3 The Body in Lived Experience 29

4 Philosophical Foundations 43

5 The 'Phenomenological Attitude' 73

Part II Phenomenological Research Approaches 85

Introduction to Part II 87

6 Descriptive Empirical Phenomenology 93

7 Hermeneutic Phenomenology 109

8 Lifeworld Approaches 125

9 Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis 139

10 First-Person Approaches 149

11 Reflexive-Relational Approaches 159

Part III PhenomenologicalMethods in Practice 177

Introduction to Part III 179

12 Planning the Research 181

13 Gathering Data 197

14 Relational Ethics 217

15 The Process of Analysing Data 227

16 Producing the Research 247

17 Evaluating Research 261

Appendix 273

References 275

Index 295

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Author Information

Linda Finlay is a freelance Consultant offering training and mentorship on how to apply qualitative research in health care. In addition to her psychotherapy practice, she also teaches psychology and writes with the Open University. Her books include Groupwork in Occupational Therapy (1993), The Practice of Psychosocial Occupational Therapy (3rd edition, 2004), Qualitative Research for Health Professionals: Challenging Choices (ed. with C. Ballinger, Wiley Publishers, 2006), and Relational-Centred Research for Psychotherapists (with K. Evans, Wiley-Blackwell, 2009).
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“As a dominantly clinical practitioner who nonetheless retains an active interest in research, and particularly phenomenological research, I found this book both useful and informative.”  (The Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, 1 May 2013)

“Phenomenology – when it is done well –discloses, transforms and inspires. That is why it excites me, why I am passionate about it . . .  Fortunately, this does not need to stand in the way of readers making use of this otherwise excellent book in their own way and for their own practice-relevant research needs.”  (Counselling Psychology Review, 2 June 2012)

"The many current research examples provide a useful and easy-to-read description of what is possible in phenomenological research. This book is a wonderful addition to qualitative methodology texts and I would recommend it as a standard text for anyone considering counselling/ psychotherapy research." (Therapy Today, 1 December 2011)

This excellent text provides a lively and accessible read which is certain to encourage and inspire the increasing number of therapy practitioners who seek to undertake research of immediate relevance to their professional field. Finlay is passionate about the crucial role practitioners can play in shaping and enhancing their work through rigorous research. She makes clear how the knowledge and wisdom of therapists embedded in the real world can be harnessed, and indeed must be harnessed, if we are to create meaningful research capable of making a genuine impact on psychological healthcare provision. Phenomenology for Therapists is required reading for all therapist researchers who want to make a difference to therapeutic practice in the real world; I am certain it will become a classic in the field.
—Simon du Plock, Professor of Psychology, Metanoia Institute and Middlesex University, UK

Linda Finlay invites readers to engage with the world of phenomenology in lively, intellectually stimulating, and moving ways.  She is a trustworthy guide who provides a good conceptual map of the area. In addition, she provides a very practical sense of the territory when walking its major routes. Using many relevant examples that therapists will recognise, this book demonstrates how a phenomenological approach to research is consistent with core therapy values and practices. 
—Les Todres, Professor of Qualitative Research, Bournemouth University, UK

Finlay does a superb job of demonstrating how phenomenological research and therapeutic practice complement each other. She provides powerful examples of qualitative research that deepen our understanding of human existence and inform clinical practice. Psychotherapists who read her book are likely to be enticed by the possibility of doing research, no longer viewing it as a practice better left to academics.
—Steen Halling, Professor of Psychology, Seattle University, USA

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