Constructions of Clinical Psychology in Adult Mental Health: A Discursive Thematic Analysis

Prof Doc Thesis

Fernandez-Catherall, Daniela 2015. Constructions of Clinical Psychology in Adult Mental Health: A Discursive Thematic Analysis. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London Psychology
AuthorsFernandez-Catherall, Daniela
TypeProf Doc Thesis

In face of the current economic-political changes facing the UK and its State institutions and of the new evidence about the impact of social inequality on human distress, this study attempts to understand the increasing practice of delivering psychological therapy by the British clinical psychology profession.
A review of the critical histories of the profession in the UK identified the need for a more detailed study of the “history of the present” to reveal the discursive operations that construct professional practice. A discursive thematic analysis (DTA) based on the theoretical concepts of the late post-modern scholar Michel Foucault was used to explore public available documents produced by British clinical psychologists between 2010 and 2014.
Two dominant professional discursive themes were identified: alternative and leadership. These themes were found to be supported by the discursive sub-themes of applied science, well-being, Cognitivism and therapy which align the aspiration of the profession with those of the State. The tension between the applied scientist and the therapist role - specifically the need to establish simultaneously the profession’s scientific credibility and its therapeutic abilities in order to respond to market pressures – showed recurrences of the conflicts of the early history of professionalization of clinical psychology.
The positioning of clinical psychology against the use of functional psychiatric diagnosis and the challenges and opportunities identified by the opening of the NHS market to ‘any willing provider’ revealed how professional discourses operate to maintain the status quo. This study recommends that the socio-historical construction of the profession should be investigated further, in particular through the subjugated discourse identified here

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Publication dates
PrintFeb 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited03 Aug 2016
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