Being in-between

the relevance of ethnography and auto-ethnography for psychotherapy research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims: This paper proposes that ethnography and auto-ethnography can make important contributions to counselling and psychotherapy research. Auto-ethnography is a recent methodological approach that focuses on the subjective experiences of the researcher. It is informed by anthropology, which encourages the researcher to journey alongside the persons being observed and to make meaning of complex symbolic systems in their lives. Method: Examples from a study of therapeutic processes in a mental health setting for women are examined. Discussion: If auto-ethnography situates the researcher with the insider's perspective and ethnography is from the outsider's perspective, the researcher is caught ‘in-between’ these two approaches. Acknowledging the concept of ‘in-between-ness’ can both cause discomfort and transform the experience of all who engage in the process and enhance the quality of the research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-316
Number of pages7
JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
Volume11
Issue number4
Early online date11 Jan 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011

Fingerprint

Cultural Anthropology
psychotherapy
Psychotherapy
ethnography
Research Personnel
Research
Anthropology
Counseling
counseling
anthropology
Mental Health
experience
mental health
Ethnography
Autoethnography
cause
human being

Keywords

  • aut-ethnography
  • anthropology
  • in-between-ness
  • thick description
  • qualitative inquiry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "Aims: This paper proposes that ethnography and auto-ethnography can make important contributions to counselling and psychotherapy research. Auto-ethnography is a recent methodological approach that focuses on the subjective experiences of the researcher. It is informed by anthropology, which encourages the researcher to journey alongside the persons being observed and to make meaning of complex symbolic systems in their lives. Method: Examples from a study of therapeutic processes in a mental health setting for women are examined. Discussion: If auto-ethnography situates the researcher with the insider's perspective and ethnography is from the outsider's perspective, the researcher is caught ‘in-between’ these two approaches. Acknowledging the concept of ‘in-between-ness’ can both cause discomfort and transform the experience of all who engage in the process and enhance the quality of the research.",
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AB - Aims: This paper proposes that ethnography and auto-ethnography can make important contributions to counselling and psychotherapy research. Auto-ethnography is a recent methodological approach that focuses on the subjective experiences of the researcher. It is informed by anthropology, which encourages the researcher to journey alongside the persons being observed and to make meaning of complex symbolic systems in their lives. Method: Examples from a study of therapeutic processes in a mental health setting for women are examined. Discussion: If auto-ethnography situates the researcher with the insider's perspective and ethnography is from the outsider's perspective, the researcher is caught ‘in-between’ these two approaches. Acknowledging the concept of ‘in-between-ness’ can both cause discomfort and transform the experience of all who engage in the process and enhance the quality of the research.

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