European Journal for Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy

A publication of the Anglo-Norwegian Collaboration

in association with the European Centre for Psychotherapeutic Studies (France and UK)

The European Journal for Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy (EJQRP) was originally  the initiative of the Anglo-Norwegian Collaboration involving the Scarborough Psychotherapy Training Institute, UK and the Norwegian Gestalt Institute in Oslo, Norway. In April 2008 day to day management of the journal  continued to reside with Ken Evans, Co-Senior Editor but  was relocated to the European Centre for Psychotherapeutic Studies ( France and UK)

The European Journal for Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy is an online publication committed to encouraging and facilitating psychotherapists to engage in research relevant to their clinical practice, or closely related issues. originally the journal was sold online for 15 euros but Eurocps is now in a position to offer issues free of charge.

STOP PRESS: The Journal is  re-launched with free access to old and future issues of the journal from July 7, 2011.
Please read below:

Together with the Norwegian Gestalt Institute and the Scarborough Psychotherapy Training Institute,  Eurocps co-sponsored the online European Journal for Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy in 2005 and several Eurocps Associates were members of the original editorial board. Each issue of the journal   included 4 to 5 research articles of approximately 5,000 words (now 6,000 words) together with some smaller ‘work in progress’ and an editorial. From July 7, 2011 the journal was incorporated into the Eurocps web site and old and new issues of the journal made available to download free. For access to the journal and to print off issues free of charge please see below.

We acknowledge and appreciate the encouragement, and financial sponsorship for the initial set up, we have received from the

  • European Association for Gestalt Therapy
  • European Association for Integrative Psychotherapy
  • Norwegian Gestalt Institute
  • Scarborough Psychotherapy Training Institute in the UK.

We also acknowledge the many therapists and psychotherapy training institutes who expressed their support and enthusiasm for readable and clinically relevant research.

Why the need for an online research journal?

Over the past 25 years an increasing distance has emerged between clinical practice in the field and specialist researchers who are largely university based. (McLeod, J, 2001). Relatively few psychotherapists read research (Sargent, M. M, & Sechrest, L.B, & Cohen C.H, 1986) Consequently much contemporary research appears:

  • excessively technical and difficult to read
  • objectifies the client
  • fails to describe in depth the experiences of the client
  • fails to address the co-created and relational dimension of therapy
  • gives little regard to the cultural, socio-political, ecological and spiritual dimension of human experience
  • largely ignores issues of oppressive practice in psychotherapy and psychotherapy training
  • generates suspicion among many therapists about research bias toward certain modalities

The European Journal for Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy is committed to publishing readable and interesting research that:

  • is relevant to clinical practice and/or closely related issues
  • demystifies research
  • describes the experiences and feelings of clients and therapists
  • addresses the impact of societal and global change on the therapeutic endeavour
  • encourages exploration of a range of dimensions to psychotherapy -physical, intra-psychic, inter-personal, cultural, ecological and spiritual
  • challenges the manualisation of therapy
  • critically reflects on oppressive practice in psychotherapy and psychotherapy training 
  • further develops the notion of the psychotherapist as a reflexive practitioner
  • supports other publications and projects that seek to further a research community within the profession

The journal is published free online in order to be accessible to a wide readership across Europe. In this way distribution and storage costs are kept to a minimum.

The European Journal for Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy (EJQRP) is devoted to publishing original and peer reviewed papers which are empirical in nature rather then purely speculative.

Submission of qualitative research papers on psychotherapy practice are particularly welcomed although critical papers that explore the interface between qualitative and quantitative methodologies are also invited.

Of particular relevance are papers, from the diverse relational oriented psychotherapies, that promote critical reflexivity, and those seeking to foster links with research initiatives in the broader context of psychiatry, psychology and philosophy.

Interdisciplinary submissions are also welcome from other professionals who have contact with the human psyche in a psychotherapeutic context across European communities.

It is the aim of this journal to further critical reflection on clinical psychotherapy practice cross-culturally by exploring similarity whilst respecting cultural difference and diversification.

In order to elucidate areas for further empirical investigation papers are encouraged from practitioners representing the diverse schools of psychotherapy thought who are motivated to explore the interface of ideas arising from their unique therapeutic practice.

For further elucidation of the ethos of the journal please visit the home page.


Editorial Team

Daan van Baalen

Gro Skottun


Ken Evans

Paul Barber

Joanna Hewitt Evans

Linda Finlay



European Editorial Board

  • Dragica Kozaric-Kovacic, Croatia
  • Jan Roubal, Czech Republic
  • Jean Michel Fourcade, France
  • Gonzague Masquelier, France
  • Charlotte Christophe Lemke, Germany
  • Panos Asimakis, Greece
  • Katia Hatzilakou, Greece
  • Nurith Levy, Israel
  • Margherita Spanuolo Lobb, Italy
  • Rytis Stylingus, Lithuania
  • Lydija Pecoctic, Malta
  • Jan Rademaker, Netherlands
  • Dick Lompa, Netherlands
  • Agnieszka Kaflinska, Poland
  • Natasha Lebedeva, Russia
  • Gregor Zvelc, Slovenia
  • Pedro de Casso, Spain
  • Sean Gaffney, Sweden
  • Lars Berg, Sweden
  • Peter Schultess, Switzerland
  • Maria Gilbert, United Kingdom


Consulting Editors


  • Heward Wilkinson, United Kingdom
  • Malcolm Parlett, United Kingdom
  • Philip Brownell, USA



Correspondence and papers for submission to the Editorial Team should be sent, in the first instance, to Ken Evans, 44 Rue De L' Europe, 50850 Ger, Normandy, France (with cd version) or email

Material for Publication

Material for publication is invited from the wide range of relational oriented psychotherapy approaches and shall include:

  • an original paper typed, double-spaced and in 12-point font arial (western). 
  • the name of the author(s), job title, postal and email address 
  • page numbers and word count 
  • provide references listed in alphabetical order in a separate reference section at the back of the paper. Harvard reference system required, see following examples:

    Creswell, J. W. (1998) Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Traditions. California USA: Sage
    McLeod, J. (2001) Qualitative Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy. London: Sage
    Parlett, M. (2000) Creative Adjustment and the Global Field. In: British Gestalt Journal, Vol. 9, No. 1
    Orlinsky, D. E., Grawe, K. & Parks, B. K. (1994) Process and outcome in psychotherapy – Noch Einmal. In Hougaard, E. (1996) Psykoterapi teori og forskning. København: Dansk psykologisk forlag

  • include any illustrations, tables, diagrams or figures (please send in .jpg or .gif format) separate from the paper but indicating where in the text they are to be located 
  • papers must be sent in electronic format (pc compatible email attachment, floppy disc or cd). Hard copy may be sent by post normal with a cd or floppy disc. Email delivery is preferred where possible.
  • authors are responsible for obtaining permission from the copyright owner if they include an illustration or lengthy word count (+ 100 words) that has been published elsewhere. Authors should include both the publisher and author of such material, requesting non exclusive world rights in all languages for use in the article/paper and future editions of it

Following receipt of the paper a member of the editorial team will respond to confirm whether or not the paper is being considered for publication. The final decision will follow after a paper is peer reviewed and normally within 3 months of date of submission.

A standard form is used for peer review. the form is available for download in PDF format here. (Form will open in a new window).

Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view this PDF form. If you do not have this plugin It can be downloaded for free from the Adobe site here.

Inevitably any paper will require some revision and all final artwork - illustrations etc., must be submitted by the author in publication ready format. Prior to publication an author (s) will receive page proofs for them to scrutinise.

Ethical and legal issues for the protection of a co-researcher (research subject) must be carefully considered by the author(s) and all reasonable steps taken to protect anonymity. Where a research paper includes material from children then authors must ensure that consent was secured from the children’s legal guardian.

Length of paper

Papers shall be in the range of 3,500 to 5,500 words (inc references) or in the form of a brief report between 1,500 to 2,500 words (inc references) and may include:

  • research into psychotherapy practice 
  • papers exploring the philosophical and theoretical aspects of psychotherapy research 
  • critical papers on the qualitative - quantitative paradigms 
  • research into the application of psychotherapy across the range of mental health and social work professions
  • research based case studies
  • research in all dimensions of psychotherapy practice including the body, the intrapsychic, interpersonal, cultural ,ecological and transpersonal
  • research into the ethical and moral aspects of psychotherapy practice


Copies of the journal can be viewed and downloaded from this site.


In return for the European Centre for Psychotherapeutic Studies publishing any paper in the journal an author(s) agrees the following:

  • to grant A&N Collaboration the right to publish, royalty-free, the article/paper in the EJQRP
  • the article may be published in whole or part and on it’s own or in combination with other articles
  • the editor(s) have the right to edit the text and/or alter the format to comply with the journal ‘house-style’
  • the article is original and/or does not infringe any existing copyright
  • other than the production of a copy(s) of the article for personal use the author shall not place the paper/article for publication with any other publisher until six months after the date of publication in the EJQRP
reviewer_form.pdf21.24 KB

Issue 1 Contents


Anne Gilbert

A phenomenological exploration of the impact of a traumatic incident (death of a child) on Social Services Staff

Anne Gilbert holds a Masters degree in Gestalt Psychotherapy and runs a private practice. She is also a qualified Social Worker and is employed as a Counsellor in a large Social Services department. She has a special interest in the impact of trauma on people's lives.

For contact regarding this article or related issues:

Joanna Hewitt Taylor, Stella Poole, Rosalind Rodway & Rob Tyson

Parallel Process in Supervision: A qualitative investigation

Joanna Hewitt-Taylor is Course Leader for the UKCP accredited Diploma in Gestalt Psychotherapy run at the Scarborough Psychotherapy Training Institute, where she is an Associate Teaching Member and a member of the Board of Directors. Jo has Masters Degrees in Gestalt Psychotherapy and in Social Work and runs as a private practice in psychotherapy and supervision based in Leicester and Scarborough and has recently published two research articles. Jo has also been a trainer for Leicestershire Area Child Protection Committee and taught on the MA Social Work course at the University of Leicester. Jo works part time for fsu Leicester and is particularly interested in transcultural work.

Rosalind Rodway is an MBACP (Accred) practitioner and has worked as a counsellor in Primary Care for 10 years. She has been in private practice for 15 years, working as an Integrative therapist. She is a qualified Supervisor.

Stella Poole was born in Ireland but has spent most of her adult life in the UK. She qualified as a counsellor eight years ago and works an integrative counsellor for a local charity. She also has her own busy private practice in Peterborough, and recently qualified as a Supervisor.

Rob Tyson is a registered nurse for people with mental health problems, a UKCP registered Gestalt Therapist and a Supervisor of counsellors, counselling psychologists and psychotherapists. He works in the NHS and has a private practice in the north east of England he is a qualified Supervisor and is an Associate Teaching Member of the Scarborough Psychotherapy Training Institute.

For contact regarding this article or related issues:

Gro Skottun

Before and after: A Phenomenological Exploration of the Impact of a Four-Year Training in Gestalt Therapy

Gro Skottun (MSc) is Norwegian, trained as a social worker and gestalt psychotherapist. She is the cofounder (1986) and co leader of Norsk Gestaltinstitutt (NGI) where she also is a trainer and supervisor. She is the cofounder and co editor of Norsk Gestalttidsskrift. She has written several articles about different aspects of gestalt therapy. She also practices as a therapist where she works with individuals, couples and groups.

For contact regarding this article or related issues:

Ken Evans

An experiential approach to teaching qualitative research

Ken Evans is Director of Training at the Scarborough Psychotherapy Training Institute. Ken has been the primary author of four separate Masters programmes in psychotherapy and co-author of a doctoral programme in Humanistic and Integrative psychotherapy. His interests span a range of psychotherapies and he is currently President of the European Association for Gestalt Therapy and Registrar for the European Association for Integrative Psychotherapy. He is a past President of the European Association for Integrative Psychotherapy and also the European Association for Psychotherapy.

For contact regarding this article or related issues or

Geoff Thompson

What Are the Experiences Of Team Leaders Whose Manager Adopts a Dialogic I-Thou Attitude In Relating With Them?

Geoff Thompson is the Director of Interhuman Limited and an Associate of the European Association for Gestalt Leadership and Organisational Development. He works in organisations and as a Gestalt therapist in private practice.

For contact regarding this article or related issues:

Journal2006i1.pdf361 KB

Issue 2 Contents


Isha McKenzie-Mavinga

Understanding Black Issues in the Therapeutic Process

Isha McKenzie-Mavinga BSc, MA, is a psychotherapist, writer and poet. She has published ‘Creative Writing in a Black Woman’s Group’ in Dupont Joshua A, (ed) Working Inter-Culturally in Counseling Settings (Brunner-Routledge) and ‘Linking Social History and the Therapeutic Process in Research and Practice on Black Issues’, CPR June 2003.

For contact regarding this article or related issues:

Ann Scott

Integration in Practice. How do they do it?

Ann is a UKCP registered Integrative Psychotherapist and currently works as a psychotherapist, trainer and supervisor in Brussels. She is studying for a PhD at Manchester University where her interest is in therapists’ experience of integrating spirituality into clinical practice.

For contact regarding this article or related issues:

Ashild Krüger

An Introduction to the Ethics of Gestalt Research with Informants

Ashild Kruger holds a Masters Degree in both Gestalt Psychotherapy and in Special Education. Her full time practice as a Gestalt Therapist and Supervisor is situated in Oslo, Norway. She is a member of staff of Norsk Gestaltinstitutt (NGI) both as a teacher and as a co-editor of the Norwegian Gestalt Journal.

For contact regarding this article or related issues:

Kate Wilkinson

A Study to Explore the Emergence of Shadow Phenomena in Integrative Psychotherapy Training Institutes

Kate is a UKCP registered Integrative Psychotherapist who has also completed a full training in Gestalt Psychotherapy. She has a Masters degree in Integrative Psychotherapy and recently successfully completed a clinical doctorate with the University of Derby. She has spent many years working to progress the profession of counseling and psychotherapy in the North East of England and has held several offices in professional associations.

For contact regarding this article or related issues:

Rita Westwood, Juliet Harris, Paul West & Lynne Walker

A Phenomenological Exploration of the Loss of a Parent in Childhood

Rita Westwood: Rita is working toward registration with the UKCP as an Integrative Psychotherapist. Her background is in social care working within a children and families service. She has a personal and professional interest in bereavement and trauma and is a member of a regional Major Incident Response Team. Contact:

Juliet Harris: Juliet is in her final year of study for registration with the UKCP as an Integrative Psychotherapist. She is Service Manager for the Scarborough & District Mediation Service and The Meeting Place, a child and family contact centre. She is a member of the regional Domestic Abuse Forum and is also a member of a group psychotherapy practice in Hull, UK. Contact: via

Paul West, BSc (Hon) Psychology, Diploma Applied Social Sciences. Paul is working towards registration as an Integrative Psychotherapist with UKCP and is a student at the Scarborough Psychotherapy Training Institute. He has a private practice in Weardale in the North East England.  He has almost 20 years military experience, with a special interest in the family dynamics of Service separation due to military conflict.  In 2008 Paul hopes to progress his training by enrolling on a proposed European wide doctoral programme. Contact:

Lynne is currently in the final year of training in Integrative Psychotherapy at the Scarborough Psychotherapy Training Institute. She is a BACP accredited counsellor and has worked for the Humber Mental Health Trust in primary care counselling and PTSD, for the past 5 years. She also has a private therapy practice and supervises counsellors in training. She is particularly interested in early childhood trauma and loss and posttraumatic stress disorder. Contact:

Ken Evans

Relational Centred Research: A Work in Progress

Ken Evans FRSA is the Director of Training, Scarborough Psychotherapy Training Institute and Co-Senior Editor of the European Journal for Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy.

For contact regarding this article or related issues:

Journal2007i2.pdf419.5 KB

Issue 3 Contents


Masa Zvelc

Working with Mistakes in Psychotherapy - A Relational Model

Masa Zvelc is certified integrative psychotherapist (EAIP) and Master of Science of clinical psychology. She has Diploma in Integrative Psychotherapy awarded by Scarborough Psychotherapy Training Institute. She is co director of Institute of Integrative Psychotherapy and Counselling, Ljubljana (Slovenia), where she has private psychotherapy practice and leads the training in integrative psychotherapy. She also teaches at the Faculty of psychotherapy and Faculty of Education in Ljubljana. She is interested in research of psychotherapy process; which elements in psychotherapy contribute to change.  She is co-author of Picture Test of Separation- Individuation, instrument for measuring separation and individuation process in adolescence and adulthood.

Ann Scott

The Effect of Doing Qualitative Research on Novice Researchers

Ann is UKCP registered and holds a MA Integrative Psychotherapy
She works currently as a psychotherapist, trainer and supervisor in Brussels and is studying for a PhD at Manchester University.

For contact regarding this article or related issues: Tel/Fax: 0032 23973140

Anne Thériault and Nicola Gazzola

Feelings of Incompetence among Experienced Clinicians: A Substantive Theory

For contact regarding this article or related issues: Anne Thériault, Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5. E-mail:

Joan Fletcher

Epiphany Storytelling as a Means of Reinforcing and Embedding Transformational Therapeutic Change

Joan Fletcher is a lecturer in social work at Goldsmiths, University of London. Alongside the twenty years she has spent training social workers, Joan has maintained close links with practice by training and working as a psychotherapist and consultant, specialising in the areas of; “working with difference and diversity”, internalised oppression; conflict management and group work with survivors of sexual abuse. Her current research relates to relationship based social work, service users’ experiences of change moments in therapeutic encounters, and a Department of Health funded study into diversity and progression on social work courses.

Robert Cvetek, Mateja Cvetek & Christian Gostecnik

Action research in the light of integrative practice of marital and family therapists and some other research problems

Robert Cvetek, PhD, is a researcher and specialist in marital and family therapy. He is currently the Secretary General of Slovenian Psychological Association (SPA).

Mateja Cvetek, PhD Candidate, is a specialist in marital and family therapy and Vice – President of Slovenian Psychological Association (SPA).

Christian Gostecnik, PhD. Frančiškanski družinski inštitut, professional director, marital and family therapist.

Journal2008i3.pdf477 KB

Issue 4 contents



Ken Evans and Linda Finlay

To be, or not to be… registered: a relational-phenomenological exploration of what State Registration means to psychotherapists

Little qualitative research has been carried out on psychotherapists’ perspectives on statutory regulation and the personal meanings they bring to bear to the current debate about professional registration. This research sets out to address this gap by exploring the lived experience of what state registration means to ten psychotherapists drawn from person-centred, gestalt and integrative approaches.


Little qualitative research has been carried out on psychotherapists’ perspectives on statutory regulation and the personal meanings they bring to bear to the current debate about professional registration. This research sets out to address this gap by exploring the lived experience of what state registration means to ten psychotherapists drawn from person-centred, gestalt and integrative approaches. A collaborative relational-phenomenological approach was undertaken using a focus group to collect data. Phenomenological and reflexive analysis highlighted the relevance and pervasive power of shame processes in four emergent themes: feeling pride-feeling shame, belonging-isolation, credibility-ineligibility and fight-flight. While formal regulation offers personal rewards around belonging, status and esteem, a shadow side lurks. Reflexive discussion suggests that unconscious parallel processes may be playing out in the wider professional arena.


Dr Ken Evans
44 Rue de L’Europe, 50850 Ger, France

Dr Linda Finlay
Academic Consultant
29 Blenheim Terrace, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UKYO12 7HD

Linda Finlay

Embracing researcher subjectivity in phenomenological research: A response to Ann Scott

All researchers experience times of confusion and uncertainty and risk getting lost in the complex ambiguity of the research journey. We are inevitably challenged by the research process especially when it comes to trying to disentangle ourselves from our participants given the relational context of the research. There is a clear need for researchers be reflexive and to critically interrogate the impact of their subjectivity on the research and of the research on them. In this paper Linda examines some of the ways that phenomenological and heuristic researchers in particular manage – and even embrace - their subjectivity. Practical research examples to illustrate how theory can be applied in practice.


All researchers experience times of confusion and uncertainty and risk getting lost in the complex ambiguity of the research journey. We are inevitably challenged by the research process especially when it comes to trying to disentangle ourselves from our participants given the relational context of the research. The research process both profoundly affects and is affected by the researchers. Research can never be a ‘value-free’ zone - researcher subjectivity is always present. There is a clear need for researchers to be reflexive and to critically interrogate the impact of their subjectivity on the research and of the research on them. This process mirrors our work as psychotherapists where we reflect on clients’ stories while analysing our own responses and the dynamics of the evolving relationship between ourselves and our client.

In this paper I examine some of the ways that phenomenological and heuristic researchers in particular manage – and even embrace - their subjectivity. Two processes are especially involved: the epoché and reflexivity. Both these concepts are briefly described here to act as a guide for researchers wishing to explicitly work with their subjectivity. I also offer practical research examples to illustrate how the theory can be applied in practice.

Dr Linda Finlay
Academic Consultant
29 Blenheim Terrace, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UKYO12 7HD

Anna Madill

Construction of anger in one successful case of psychodynamic-interpersonal psychotherapy: Problem (re)formulation and the negotiation of moral context

This paper provides a worked exemplar of psychotherapy research using the approach of conversation analysis inspired discourse analysis (CA/DA), sometimes known as discursive psychology (Edwards & Potter, 1992; Potter, 2003; Potter & Wetherell, 1987). The aim of the paper is to explore the potential usefulness of discursive analysis for qualitative psychotherapy research within a relational centred ethos. The paper presents an analysis of extracts from a case of psychodynamic-interpersonal psychotherapy based on Hobson’s (1985) conversational model. This model has a particular relational focus in assuming clients’ problems arise from relationship disturbances and that the therapeutic encounter is a vehicle for the manifestation, exploration, and modification of such problems. The model is conversational in that intervention consists of therapists’ use of strategies such as negotiation, metaphor, and development of a ‘common feeling language’.


This paper provides a worked exemplar of psychotherapy research using conversation analysis inspired discourse analysis with the aim of exploring the usefulness of discursive analysis for qualitative psychotherapy research within a relational centred ethos. The analysis examines how a client came to describe herself as feeling anger towards her mother having previously rejected this understanding earlier in therapy. Specifically, the analysis explicates the process of successful problem (re)formulation, identifying the rhetorical strategies utilised by the therapist and demonstrating how client change may be approached as a discursive achievement. The central tension between discursive and relational centred qualitative psychotherapy research rests on the different understandings of subjectivity at the core of the two perspectives. The paper concludes, however, that the findings of discursive psychotherapy research may still be utilised in the service of relational centred practice. A detailed analysis of psychotherapy dialogue may be revealing in terms of how therapeutic meaning is co-constructed, how change is enabled through talk, and how cultural resources are mobilised within the practices of therapy. Such knowledge has a function, not least, in enhancing the ability of relational centred psychotherapists to be reflexive practitioners.

Dr Anna Madill
Senior Lecturer, Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
Tele: +44(0)113 343 5750      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Nicola Gazzola & Anne Theriault

Supervisee Experiences of Broadening and Narrowing in Counselling Supervision

This study investigated supervisee perspectives of broadening (thinking, acting creatively, being open to new ways of being) and narrowing (experiences of perceiving choices as limited). Implications for supervision are suggested.


This study investigated supervisee perspectives of broadening (i.e., thinking and acting creatively and being open to exploring new ways of being) and narrowing (i.e., the experience of perceiving one’s choices as limited) processes in their supervisory experiences. Ten supervisees who completed all requirements for a master’s degree in counselling were interviewed using a semi-structured interview. Data were analyzed using a variation of the consensual qualitative research method developed by Hill, Thompson, and Williams (1997). Participants described their experiences of broadening and narrowing and their perceptions of their supervisors’ contributions to these processes. The findings include four categories of broadening and five categories of narrowing, each with subcategories. Implications for the process of supervision are offered.

Dr Nick Gazzola
Associate professor
Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa

Dr Anne Theriault
Associate Professor
Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa.

Nick Bowles, Beatriz Moreno, Celia Psaila, and Andrew Smith

“Nicknames: a qualitative exploration into the effect of nick-names on personal histories.”

Name-calling, unkind nicknames and other forms of verbal harassment represent some of the most prevalent forms of bullying. As researchers, we found out immediately that there is very little literature on the subject, particularly within the field of psychotherapy. We found that name-calling, and nicknames in particular, are ambiguous social events that can serve positive as well negative goals, and their adverse consequences can be difficult to identify.


This piece of qualitative research explores the impact of nicknames upon the researchers. The research shows that nicknames function positively and negatively, and can either disturb contact on the Gestalt Cycle or benefit contact. This research highlights its limitations, and suggests ways of building upon its findings.

To contact the authors of this article please address correspondence to:

Andrew Smith

Journal2009i4.pdf1.35 MB

Issue 5 contents


Linda Finlay

Editorial: Celebrating new ‘voices’

'The articles in this issue are diverse in terms of their focus, style and substance. The authors, too, come from different fields of psychotherapy and they vary in their experience. What links the papers is that all the authors are all relatively new voices in our academic/research/writing world. For most, indeed, this is their first ever published paper. ...'

Linda Finlay, The Open University, UK


Kate Evans

Writer’s Block: a reflective literature review


For a significant proportion of therapists, the mere thought of writing up research academically and then perhaps striving to publish any writings is anxiety provoking. These therapists may be suffering from ‘Writer’s Block’ – a process, I suggest, that gets in the way of meaningful and relevant research being completed by practitioners which could help inform and develop our way of working. Through this review of the literature on Writer’s Block, intertwined by personal reflections on my own experience, I aim to explore possible causes and offer some tentative solutions.

Kate Evans, Scarborough Psychotherapy Training Institute, UK


Helen Germaine

Lived Experience of a Permanent Rupture Between Mother and Daughter


This research explores the lived experience of the rupture in the relationship between Jenny (a pseudonym) - an 18 year old, pregnant, unmarried, young woman in Britain in 1968 - and her mother. In a relational-centred research interview, Jenny shares her experience proceeding the rupture, the narrative point of the rupture itself and the occurring experience of her relationship after the rupture. Phenomenological analysis reveals Jenny’s experience is one of shame and guilt in relation to her mother. She feels exposed, humiliated and ‘at fault.’ Jenny misses a shared sense of pride with her mother and instead experiences rejection not only of herself, but also through the new life she has created. She develops a number of ways to protect herself from her own painful internal experience. Notably she protects her mother from criticism by taking responsibility for her mother’s feelings and behaviours. Yet there is a sense of a desperate internal confusion of experience as Jenny continually returns the question of the ‘why’ of her mother’s behaviour. The pain of rejection and isolation is felt deeply by Jenny within the relationship rupture with her mother. She feels her own deep sadness and loss as interwoven into her mother’s.

Helen Germaine, Scarborough Psychotherapy Training Institute, UK


Vivien Sabel

‘Life After Delivery’: a phenomenological enquiry into one woman’s experience


The massive shifts in emotions and upheaval of social roles women are likely to experience following the birth of a child have been well documented. And yet, it is still not possible to predict how each individual woman will respond. This research explores one woman’s experience using a phenomenological, relational-centred research approach. My aim was to try to witness and ‘give voice to’ her unique, special and particular experience of life after delivery in a relatively unstructured interview. Analysis revealed four emergent themes: Protection-Desertion; Contact-Isolation; Belonging-Shame; and Anxiety-Ambivalence. Throughout the interview there was a sense that Kate wished to be seen as the same as other mothers, rather than as a ‘mother-with-deficits’. She goes to some lengths to hide herself from her family and professionals to give them no reason to doubt her ability.

Vivien Sabel, Scarborough Psychotherapy Training Institute, UK


Alex Adamson

A Phenomenological Exploration of Tattooing: A Personal and Meaning-filled Experience


This paper explores the personal and meaning-filled experience of what one woman’s tattoos subjectively mean to her in the context of her life. Merging a dialogical-relational Gestalt theoretical base with a relational-hermeneutic phenomenological approach, I collected data by interviewing my participant in a 45 minute open-ended depth interview exploring her life experience. Analysis based on iterative re-readings of the transcript drew on narrative, reflexive and creative metaphorical forms. Findings reveal that my participant’s experience of her tattoos seems to link - in simple but profound ways - with grief. Having been confronted by the ending of two of the biggest relationships with males (her father and ex-husband), she made the somewhat unconscious choice to mark the transitioning between the roles of daughter and ex-wife and reclaim her own sense of skin. Her tatoos of two lizards seem to symbolise and represent her African home, sexuality, resourcefulness, survival and ultimately a reclaiming of her own self.
Alex Adamson, Scarborough Psychotherapy Training Institute, UK


Tami Avis

The Value and Cost of Mandatory Personal Therapy


Counselling psychology trainees, in the UK, are obliged to undertake a minimum of 40 hours of personal therapy as part of their DPsych course requirements. This requirement creates some stress and remains controversial in the profession at large. This paper constitutes part of a wider doctoral study on how this mandatory therapy is experienced from the perspectives of both trainees and counselling psychologists who have trainees as clients. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was employed to access the lived experience of four trainees and four qualified psychologists. Four overarching categories common to the two groups were identified in the broader study: impact of mandatory therapy on therapeutic process; the therapeutic performance; the value of therapy and; boundaries. Whilst many trainees felt that therapy should remain a compulsory course requirement, they also highlighted that it costs them both emotionally and financially. I had not included questions regarding finance in my original interview schedules and did not anticipate that both trainees and therapists would mention finance so often and so fervently. Consequently in this paper, I am selectively focusing on the financial and emotional side of mandatory personal therapy. This article will concentrate solely on the findings related to the emotional and financial impact of mandatory personal therapy on trainees and their therapists.
Tami Avis, City University, London


Lydia Noor

“It’s because of what we did that I’m going to university”: A qualitative exploration of the experience of growing through a school’s therapeutic programme.


This study aimed to ‘give voice’ to the lived experience and perceptions of seven students (aged 15 to 17) who have used a therapeutic service in school. Group or individual interviews were employed, transcribed and then analysed using a phenomenologically-orientated relational research methodology. The students all expressed valuing a confidential one-to-one space where they could express and explore their worries and uncertainties. They benefitted from feeling understood and having their perspective validated as ‘normal’. The opportunity to express feelings that distracted them from learning at school opened up new skills of reflection, negotiation and being able to reach out for support. Through their therapeutic experiences they learned to invest in their own success and resist potentially destructive peer pressure. A short discussion raises wider issues around the provision of therapy in secondary school settings.
Lydia Noor, Scarborough Psychotherapy Training Institute


Usha Srinath and Vijendra Kumar S.K.

Supervision and Training of Psychotherapists in an Indian Therapeutic Community


The process of getting therapy supervision while working in a therapeutic community setting with persons suffering from chronic mental illness differ from those working in other clinical settings. In therapeutic communities, the demands on therapists are much more complex, multidimensional and result in significant emotional stress or ‘burn-out syndrome’. For this reason, the therapists need to undergo intensive training, supervision and personal work on a regular basis. The present article applies a descriptive-single case study method, focusing on the process of supervision of psychotherapists in a therapeutic community in India. We explore the process of practical training and supervision of psychotherapists and describe our approach to developing a budding therapist’s skills and sense of autonomy.
Usha Srinath and Vijendra Kumar S.K., Athma Shakti Vidyalaya, Bangalore, India.
Journal2011_i5.pdf1.05 MB

Issue 6 Contents



In each of the five articles in this December 2012 issue of the research journal relationship features strongly in one way or another. This was not by design but was noticed only following the peer review of the final article chosen for publication. This field emergent occurrence likely reflects the significant contemporary interest in the co-created nature of clinical practice and relational centred research. The articles were sent from Sweden, the United Kingdom, Malta and France.


1. Renewing Experience. page 1

Ole Lindgren, Per Folkesson and Kjerstin Almqvist

In their research article the authors interview nine psychotherapists with different theoretical approaches about their thoughts on what is effective in their work. Data was collected and analyzed according to Grounded Theory. The results are presented as a grounded theory of therapists’ thoughts on what is effective in psychotherapy. New experiences in psychotherapy are seen as adding to and placing earlier life experiences in a new perspective, modifying and renewing existing and maladaptive conceptions of reality and making available new life alternatives to patients. The authors conclude that the process of renewing experience is a cumulative one where the therapist’s ability to individualize interplay is decisive.


2. Clients Experience of Psychodynamic Therapies. A Phenomenological Study. page 8

Jodie Louise Fellows, Camilla Watters and Amanda Gatherer.

Six adults were interviewed about their experiences of psychodynamic/brief psychodynamic therapy at varying stages of the process. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis with peer review was used to analyse the transcripts. The therapeutic relationship was central to the experience of therapy and the process of making change, while experienced as difficult and frustrating, was ultimately seen as worthwhile. Ending therapy was followed by a development of self-reliance.


3. Addictions as a Defence Against Relationship? Relationship as an Antidote to Addictions? A Phenomenological Exploration of the Significance of Relationship in Recovery. page 20

Joanna Hewitt Evans and Andy Ryan

This paper is a joint project, undertaken by Andy, an Integrative psychotherapist and recovered alcoholic and Joanna, a Gestalt psychotherapist, supervisor and trainer. Working together as co-researchers, they tell Andy’s story. Some of the details contained in the story are shocking but the authors believe that sharing them offers the reader the opportunity to enter more fully into Andy’s experience and adds a further dimension to the relational model of the research. They conclude that relationship is the key to healing and that developing relational approaches in the field of alcoholism and addiction is the way forward.


4. A Model Combining Psychotherapy with Spirituality and Religion in the area of Palliative Care and Bereavement. page 29

Benna Chase

This paper presents a model for working with the dying and the bereaved within the Maltese context arising from many years of practice in oncology and palliative care. The relationship between the psychotherapeutic and the spiritual and religious is addressed, within a culture where the Roman Catholic Religion is a dominant tradition. The use of the self of the practitioner is considered a crucial element and the model advocates practising authentic presence and inclusion (advanced empathy) and the willingness stay with the client in the sometimes lengthy experience of grief, with its dearth of figure-formation. This requires a deep level of conviction that sustains the practitioner in the ‘between’ of the relationship with the grieving person thereby allowing a natural figure to eventually emerge with the potential growth for both practitioner and client.


5. Falling Down a Deep Hole. The Experience of an Identity Crisis as a Gestalt Therapist. page 39

Ken Evans and twenty five co-authors.

Between February 25 and 26, 2012, around thirty Gestalt Therapists from five European nations (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands and the UK) gathered together in Stockholm to engage in an experientially based learning weekend on research in gestalt therapy. The weekend was a research seminar but with a ‘hands on’ collaborative engagement involving all participants. Each participant became an active co-researcher. The group decided the research focus for the weekend and they also agreed the suggestion to send each of them a draft of the research article for their scrutiny and comment, prior to publication. All who engaged in the research are acknowledged as co-authors of the article, based on the fact that they were the co-creators of the research, unless of course they chose not to be identified to maintain confidentiality. The research is interesting not only for the topic explored, crisis of identity, but also for the challenging and ambitious nature of the collaborative endeavour.


Journal2012_i6.pdf5.6 MB

Issue 7 Contents



In this 7th issue of the research journal we begin with a follow up to the article in issue 6 that focussed on the therapist’s exploration of what is considered effective in psychotherapy. In this issue the same authors, Ola Lindgren, Kjerstin Almquist and Per Folkesson, explore the theme of effectiveness but this time from the perspective of eight clients. The research methodology is grounded theory. The results suggest responsive acceptance as the core concept emerging in the interplay between therapist and client. This same theme of effectiveness is then explored by Dawn Gwilt and from the perspective of a single trainee psychotherapist/client who is struggling with deep issues of shame. The methodology is phenomenological and the notion of the fluid past emerges as a key phenomenon along with vulnerability (rather than empowerment) as the key aspect of client agency. The third article is an exploration of 16 trainee therapist’s experience of a residential five day training work-shop during which ‘regression’ emerged as a key aspect of the residential encounter. The relevance of this experience to the development of reflexive practice, i.e. the capacity for being inside an experience and outside simultaneously is highlighted. The methodology is a mix of participant observation, phenomenology, feminism and dialogue. The final article by Rose Falzon focusses on creativity and innovation in group supervision using narratives and case vignettes and is a welcome and timely reminder of the challenge and efficacy of the group experience when trainee psychotherapists appear to be increasingly discouraged from being in group supervision in favour of individual supervision.


Patients’ thoughts on effective psychotherapy    4

Ola Lindgren, Kjerstin Almqvist and Per Folkesson

Earlier studies of patients’ experiences in psychotherapy identify relationship factors as being significant for patients. Our aim in this study conducted in accord with grounded theory, was to explore in some depth patients’ thoughts about what is effective in psychotherapy and thereby increase our knowledge about the process of psychotherapy from a patient perspective. Data were collected in open interviews that provided rich and varied information. Several informants had been in more than one therapy and thus, eight interviews provided data about sixteen psychotherapies. The core concept that emerged from the data was that of the therapist’s responsive acceptance. This concept provides an answer to the question “What do patients think is effective in psychotherapy?” If the therapist is responsive and accepting, the mutual interplay between the patient and the therapist becomes productive and collaborative. On the other hand, if responsive acceptance falters, the whole therapy process is at risk.


Research Project    22

Dawn Gwilt

As I began planning my research project as part of my Gestalt psychotherapy training at WPP, my initial interest centred around the question of ‘what works in therapy?’ I started my literature review by looking into rupture and repair, challenge and support, and what facilitates change in therapy. Much of the existing research is from the perspective of the therapist, and I wanted to redress this balance by exploring the client’s experience. What eventually emerged was the need for more research into the ways that clients make use of therapy to overcome obstacles to change, and the ways in which they make meaning of significant events in therapy. In my own experience of therapy, difficult moments have been key to deepening my understanding of myself in relationship, so
I decided to narrow the focus of my project to a difficult moment in the therapeutic process, from the perspective of the client.


Walking in Quicksand An exploration of trainee’s experience of a five day residential training workshop     31

Dr Ken Evans, Co-authors: Heath Abbott, Danica Abbott, Albert Albertson, Jean Allen, Micheline Barker, Georgia Carter, Hannah Clarke, Anastasia Gire, Sarah Horner, Christopher Journeaux, Lindi Lawrenson, Sarah Lee, Elizabeth Leech, Hildur Magnosdottir, Claire Mitchell, Cliodhna Smith. Co-Trainer: Joanna Hewitt Evans. Programme Manager: Annmarie Clarker Ken Evans, Co-authors: Heath Abbott, Danica Abbott, Albert Albertson, Jean Allen, Micheline Barker, Georgia Carter, Hannah Clarke, Anastasia Gire, Sarah Horner, Christopher Journeaux, Lindi Lawrenson, Sarah Lee, Elizabeth Leech, Hildur Magnosdottir, Claire Mitchell, Cliodhna Smith. Co-Trainer: Joanna Hewitt Evans. Programme Manager: Annmarie Clarke

Between June 26 to 30th, 2013, sixteen Integrative psychotherapy trainees attended a five day residential training workshop to introduce them to qualitative research. The trainees were half way through the third year of a four year training programme run by the European Centre for Psychotherapeutic Studies, which is a European accredited training institute of the European Association for Psychotherapy and a Full Training Member of the European Association for Integrative Psychotherapy. This was the second residential workshop for the trainees following their first experience of one in June 2012, during their second year of training. The workshop was on this occasion primarily facilitated by Dr Ken Evans who has a particular interest in phenomenological and relational oriented research in and with groups (Finlay and Evans, 2009).


Group Supervision: A reflective and creative space    54

Rose Falzon

In this article, I enquire about the perception and use of creativity and innovation in group supervision, taking into account also the setting and culture one works in. I come from the cultural framework of a densely populated small island, embracing both the westernized realm as well as
that created through the multi-layered historical and social traditions. The following are experiential narratives from supervisors and supervisees, working in diverse settings but in the same tight community. All names and some particular aspects leading to any identification were changed to protect confidentiality.

Journal2014_i7.pdf1.26 MB


I am delighted with the contributory articles in this issue which are written by therapists drawn from the modalities of integrative psychotherapy, existential psychotherapy, counselling psychology and Gestalt. The articles address in turn, therapist development toward integration, the evolution of an integrative training programme, trainee reaction to sexual attraction from clients, grief and mediation.
Many therapists embrace an integrative perspective in their practice and in the first article Tomas Rihacek and Ester Danelova, from the Department of Psychology, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic explore what motivates therapists’ development towards integration. Fifteen integrative therapists’ autobiographic narratives are analysed using grounded theory analytic procedures. The study received support from the Czech Science Foundation Grant GAP407/11/0141.

In a case study exploring the formation of an integrative psychotherapy training programme Jana Kostínková and Jan Roubal, also from the Department of Psychology Masaryk University, describe the unfolding process which eventually led to the formation of an integrative training concept. The case study focuses on the formation of Masters level integrative training programme by therapist-trainers who had each evolved their integrative position gradually over time, supported by the assimilation of their clinical practice alongside their psychotherapy education.

In the third article trainee therapists’ moralistic reactions and defensive handling of client sexual attraction in therapy is the focus of a very interesting article by Maria Luca, Regents University London. Her study explores how trainee therapists react to and handle client sexual attraction in their work and will be of particular interest to psychotherapy trainers and supervisors. Transcripts from twelve interviews are analysed using constructivist grounded theory. The research highlights the difficulties trainees experience in relation to client sexual attraction including a climate of fear that client sexual attraction could potentially influence the therapist into behaving unethically.
‘There is no therapist and no person immune to the inherent tragedies of existence’. (Yalom, 2002, p.8). Therapeutic work in the midst of grief is the fourth article and is a literature review by Matilda De Santis and Linda Finlay providing a brief but comprehensive overview of the theory and existing literature in the psychotherapy field which explores the nature of therapeutic work while the therapist is the midst of grief. Current knowledge is critically examined with a view to informing practice and further research.

The final article by Mike Talbot explores and analyses, via autoethnography, the application of his skills and experience as a gestalt psychotherapist to the field of mediation. The transfer and application of a psychotherapeutic perspective to this field is a welcome addition to the journal widening the scope beyond the clinical room.

A brief biography for each author, together with contact details, is provided on the last pages of the journal.

Dr Ken Evans, F.R.S.A.
Senior Editor EJQRP, Co-director, European Centre for Psychotherapeutic Studies. Professor of Theoretical and Applied Psychology, Union University.

journal2015_i8.pdf5.11 MB

Anglo-Norwegian Collaboration

The European Journal for Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy was initially a collaborative endeavour between the Norsk Gestaltistitutt AS and the Scarborough Psychotherapy Training Institute




1. GestaltResearch listserv

GestaltResearch is a listserv discussion group devoted to research focused on Gestalt therapy theory and practice. It's purpose is to provide a dynamic eCommunity through which to nurture, encourage, support, and expand the efforts and interests of those doing or contemplating such research. It also exists to support those interested in utilizing sound outcomes evaluation procedures with which to help substantiate their practice of Gestalt therapy.

The List manager is Philip Brownell, M.Div., Psy.D. If you would like to participate, contact Phil ( to be subscribed.

The European Journal for Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy is not responsibility or in control of the external web sites listed below: