Hope Springs Internal: Counsellors' Experiences of Hope in the Counselling Relationship

  • John Prysor-Jones

Student thesis: Phd


ABSTRACTThe University of ManchesterJohn Glynne Prysor-JonesDoctorate in CounsellingHope Springs Internal: Counsellors' Experiences of Hope in the Counselling Relationship2015The purpose of this research was to explore counsellors' experiences of hope in the counselling relationship in a number of counselling contexts, early in the twenty-first century in the United Kingdom. This research takes place against the background of considerable changes in mental health policy affecting counselling in both England and Wales. The wider political, social-cultural and economic context was marked by recession and uncertainty. A lack of research into counsellors' experiences of hope in the UK context was identified.A phenomenological perspective was taken as appropriate for exploring human experience with a social constructionist approach to the creation of knowledge complementing realist ontology with a pragmatic under pinning. Semi-structured interviews were conducted individually with seven participants chosen using purposive and convenience sampling in both England and Wales from within professional networks and a variety of counselling settings. The transcribed data was analysed using Thematic Analysis and identified themes evidenced with quotations from the data.The main findings were in the context of hope identified as a common human experience. Participants' found difficulty in accessing their experiences of hope and it was found to be an intermittent and liminal experience varying in intensity and part of a meaning making process. Characteristics of this liminality were found to be placing participants at the limit of what they knew, living with uncertainty and waiting for new knowledge to emerge. This created vulnerability for some participants. Hope was also found to be an embodied relational experience within counsellors which they also saw in their clients.Implications of the findings suggested that counsellors could more actively cultivate awareness of their own hope as a resource for clients within an understanding of counselling as a social and liminal process. It is recommended that professional training and Continuing Professional Development workshops provide opportunities for exploring hope in the context of liminality. Future research opportunities include encouraging counsellors to use case study method to explore their own experiences of hope in counselling relationships and that of clients. These findings are presented as specific to this context and not as general truths.
Date of Award1 Aug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorWilliam West (Supervisor) & Elizabeth Ballinger (Supervisor)


  • hope, hopelessness, counselling relationship

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