Therapists' perceptions of the processes and outcomes of contemporary person-centred creative practices with children and young people

  • A Azizah Binti Abdullah

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This study empirically examines creative practices in the field of person-centred therapy with children and young people aged 5 to 18. It builds on and integrates the works of key scholars in child-centred play therapy, person-centred art therapy and person-centred expressive arts therapy. The aims of the study were to examine person-centred practitioners' perspectives on: 1. Helpful processes in these practices; 2. Unhelpful processes in these practices; 3. Helpful effects of these practices; and 4. Unhelpful effects of these practices. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with 40 person-centred therapists: 30 in the United Kingdom and ten in the United States of America. Systematic qualitative analysis was carried out with the aid of Nvivo software. With regards to the nature of helpful processes specific to person-centred creative practice, two major conceptual frameworks were established: developing and maintaining the therapeutic alliance, and achieving and accomplishing a productive therapeutic working process. The way creative practices can foster the helpful processes were identified by practitioners, including those aspects involving the therapist, those aspects involving the clients, and those that occur during the therapeutic processes. With regards to the emergence of unhelpful processes, three factors were identified: the negative aspect from the therapist, the negative aspect from the clients, and the factors from the environment. Practitioners also reported that the nature of unhelpful processes manifested from two distinct categories, namely, process difficulties, and personal limitations. The study also found that there were two categories of the ways to handle these unhelpful processes: improving therapist's way of handling, and improving the way of processing the therapeutic session. In addition, practitioners identified numerous immediate (within therapy) and ongoing (after therapy) helpful effects of person-centred creative practice. Similarly, a number of unhelpful effects of creative practice were also identified. These included increasing unwanted emotions or unpleasant thoughts, and generating unnecessary reactions. Finally, this study identified several gaps in the existing literature. Hence a few suggestions and implications for person-centred practitioners and others were put across regarding the directions of the future research and development, and a framework for refining their methods of creative practice for the benefits of clients was also provided.
Date of Award2 Jun 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorMick Cooper (Supervisor) & Robert Elliott (Supervisor)

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