The Reciprocal Influence of Person Centred Counselling Students and Trainers

  • Sandra Taylor

Student thesis: Phd


The University of ManchesterSandra TaylorDoctor of PhilosophyThe Reciprocal Influence Of Person Centred Counselling Students And Trainers2013This research has explored the reciprocal influence of counselling students and trainers in the UK, through the researcher's lens of being a Person Centred trainer. The methodology evolved into relational heuristic research, an adaptation of heuristic research which is itself a contribution to knowledge. It is a qualitative approach that holds the researcher/trainer's heuristic experience as its core whilst including and valuing the experience of others. Six pairs of former counselling students and trainers were interviewed together, followed by eight interviews between the researcher and her former students. The interviews provided the opportunity for the co-creation of a coherent story of their reciprocal influence and enabled clarification, corroboration, disagreement, memory jogging, and the emergence of surprises. Participants in the six interviews were gained through the researcher's professional networks and so were convenience sampling. The eight former students were from the 22 invited whom the researcher had worked with two years previously. As is typical of heuristic research the analysis was a long, iterative and creative process of incubation and illumination.The main finding, available only because of the former students and trainers being interviewed together, is the uniqueness, complexity and richness of counselling student-trainer relationships. The three other substantial findings are: the huge impact of the transferential/countertransferential relationship between students and trainers; the nuances of liking and favouritism between students and trainers; and an invaluable insight into challenges and difficulties within the student-trainer relationship and their impact.In addition to the findings and discussion the researcher also offers a creative synthesis and a summary of learning, not to be turned into general principles and procedures but for each reader to resonate with their own experiences and see what does and doesn't fit. This is in keeping with the complexity and uniqueness of experience found in the research. Specific contributions of this research for past, present and future counselling students and trainers as well as for course development are also discussed.
Date of Award31 Dec 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorWilliam West (Supervisor) & Olwen Mcnamara (Supervisor)


  • pair interviews
  • heuristic
  • lesbian trainer
  • challenging relationships
  • student-trainer relationship
  • counselling training
  • reciprocal influence
  • favouritism

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