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A Duoethnographic Study of Power and Privilege in the Psychotherapeutic Space: Dialogical Research as Professional Development

Hills, John ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6852-8261, Christodoulidi, Fevronia and Charura, Divine ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3509-9392 (2023) A Duoethnographic Study of Power and Privilege in the Psychotherapeutic Space: Dialogical Research as Professional Development. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 22.

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We are three psychotherapists, also trainers at different universities in the United Kingdom, who came together to explore the application of duoethnography as a research method in the context of counselling and psychotherapy. The focus of our dialogues was on privilege and power as experienced between client and therapist in the therapeutic relationship, mirroring the social worlds we each come from and return to. The article presented here is written largely in the form of ‘speaking turns,’ reflecting the dialogical nature through which data were generated. We met periodically through Microsoft Teams to record our dialogues and furthered our exchange via email communications and other text messages. We came together explicitly mindful of and valuing our differences – one woman and two men; our ethnocultural heritages being Greek, African, and English, with different trajectories towards our professional positions; and we highlight differentials in privilege emerging along lines of gender, race, and class. Emergent themes include: ‘the visible – invisible spectrum of privilege,’ ‘the historic present,’ and ‘power with versus power over.’ As an ongoing, highly relational form of encounter, this project highlighted the benefits this approach can bring in the ongoing development of therapists. Participation facilitated the revelation of more unconscious or unarticulated material. We found the duoethnography depended upon our mutual negotiation of trust and preparedness to be vulnerable in the encounter. Recognising that each dialogue brings unique configurations of similarity and difference, we thus argue for greater uptake of duoethnography methods in counselling and psychotherapy training and research.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/16094069231199903
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/8830

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