The Utility of Post Traumatic Growth in Clinical Practice, From the Perspective of Therapists Working With Refugees in the UK: A Thematic Analysis

Prof Doc Thesis

Rai, T. 2021. The Utility of Post Traumatic Growth in Clinical Practice, From the Perspective of Therapists Working With Refugees in the UK: A Thematic Analysis. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsRai, T.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This thesis presents a qualitative analysis that may support psychological therapists make sense of the phenomenon of PTG, in an era of rapidly growing refugee populations where there is a need to reduce psychological therapy waiting lists. Refugees in the UK represent a large part of the clinical population. Research and practice suggest that refugee clients face a multitude of challenges post and pre migration. Thus far there has been research and clinical practice that has delineated how these practices have developed within western constructs and therapeutic models of understanding and helping refugee clients. More recently, there have been attempts to shift this focus away from the level of the symptoms. It is argued that the symptom focused approach alone, does not adequately address the therapeutic needs of the refugee clients and furthermore does not include this understanding in the existing therapy models. With this clinical debate focusing on trauma and the reduction of associated symptoms, less focus has been placed on growth within therapeutic practice.
From a moderate social constructionist epistemology and critical realist ontological position the PTG phenomenon was explored. I report the results of a qualitative study of six therapists using in-depth thematic discourse analysis. Therapists that are working with refugees in the UK were asked questions on the five-factor PTG model to understand their perception and perspective of the model. The challenge of working from this perspective is to remain mindful of the wider context of the client experiences and so allow new thinking to emerge. I measured the main themes in the area of growth with a view to generalising the findings yet remain close to the particular in this type of therapy when working with refugees. To my knowledge this study is the first to examine PTG from the perspective of therapists working with refugees in the UK. It takes a deeper look at therapeutic mechanisms and how the theoretical ideas may affect therapy outcomes.
To preview the results, the themes indicate that counselling intervention is required early on with a greater focus on managing painful emotions. After presenting the results I discuss implications for therapy research, training and clinical practice.

KeywordsPTG; Refugees; Therapy
PublisherUniversity of East London
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Publication dates
Online19 Jul 2021
Publication process dates
Submitted06 Dec 2020
Deposited19 Jul 2021
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