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Counsellor conflict in managing the frame: Dilemmas and decisions.

By C. Symons and S. Wheeler


An essential feature of psychodynamic counselling is a secure frame for the work that holds boundaries as sacrosanct, both to ensure ethical practice and to provide a vehicle through which unconscious processes can be recognized and understood. Conscious or unconscious attacks on the frame are inevitable in any therapeutic relationship, and provide an opportunity for exploration and insight. However such incidents also have an impact on the therapist who must decide how to respond. In order to understand more about the therapist process when there is an attack on the frame, an investigation was carried out into ways in which psychodynamic counsellors manage the difficulties and dilemmas that arise as they try to hold a secure therapeutic frame. Ten counsellors were interviewed using a semi- structured interview format during which they were asked about an instance when the frame was challenged and the process by which it was resolved. The resulting dilemmas were categorized using grounded theory. Three categories of dilemmas emerged a) prior to making a decision about how to deal with it, b) after making a decision, and c), as a result of the outcome of the action taken. The nature of the dilemmas and the process of resolving them are reported and discussed

Year: 2005
DOI identifier: 10.1080/14733140512331343859
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/1078
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