"Not a neutral event": Clinical Psychologists and gifts offered in therapeutic relationships

Prof Doc Thesis

Willingham, Bethanne 2007. "Not a neutral event": Clinical Psychologists and gifts offered in therapeutic relationships. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsWillingham, Bethanne
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Gifts have scarcely been attended to in psychology or clinical psychology
literature, despite attracting considerable interest in other social science
disciplines. Only a very small quantity of empirical studies has
researched gifts given within therapeutic relationships. An interdisciplinary
approach was therefore used in this study to investigate
clinical psychologists' experiences of being offered gifts by clients within
therapeutic relationships, drawing on theoretical literature from
anthropology, sociology and psychoanalysis.
The study was situated within a critical realist epistemology and used
both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Part I was a survey of
chartered clinical psychologists, designed to map gift experiences
descriptively, whilst Part II involved group discussions to seek to
understand their meaning. Thematic Analysis (TA) was used to analyse
both responses to the open-ended questionnaire items and the data from
group discussions. Themes arising from the thematic analysis of the
questionnaires included: Acceptance as the 'correct' response,
Potency of the gift, and Professional matters. Those arising from the
group discussions were Refusal as the 'wrong' response and Utility of
guidance and the importance of autonomy.
The vast majority of gifts reported in the research were accepted, and
acceptance was seen as a culturally 'normal' response. Gifts were
understood as indicating gratitude and many participants in the survey reported experiencing pleasure at being offered a gift. Although givers
were positioned as 'needy' and 'needing' to give, participants also drew
on a construction of the gift as a reciprocation. Finally, participants
reported using NHS guidelines, although it was emphasised that clinical
psychologists are autonomous and seek to understand a gift's meaning,
which was contrasted with 'other' professionals.

Publication dates
PrintMay 2007
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Jun 2014
Additional information

This thesis supplied via ROAR to UEL-registered users is protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights, and duplication of any part of the material is not permitted, except for your personal use for the purposes of non-commercial research and private study in electronic or print form. You must obtain permission from the copyright-holder for any other use. Electronic or print copies may not be offered, for sale or otherwise, to anyone. No quotation from the thesis may be published without proper acknowledgement.

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