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.
- thick description
- qualitative inquiry