Professional knowledge in therapeutic practice: Clinical reasoning as a "hazardous journey"

PhD Thesis

Runcorn, Nigel Alan 2004. Professional knowledge in therapeutic practice: Clinical reasoning as a "hazardous journey". PhD Thesis
AuthorsRuncorn, Nigel Alan
TypePhD Thesis

This thesis explores the therapist's use of professional knowledge in their relationship with patients. It addresses a gap between theory and practice and the challenges to therapist expertise in a postmodern climate in which there are a multiplicity of competing perspectives about psychological problems. In semi-structured interviews eight NHS Psychodynamic Psychotherapists revealed narratives that underpinned their practice about the nature and treatment of psychological problems. These were organised as narratives about living the `good life' psychologically, and the origins and treatment of psychological problems. The central finding of this thesis is that, rather than relying on professional knowledge conceived as conventional psychodynamic theory, therapists engage in a largely intuitive process I have termed `clinical reasoning' which is practice-based, `reflection-in-action' that involves tacking principally between their professional knowledge base, their experience with the patient and their personal beliefs and experience. Such a process, I argue, constitutes a `hazardous journey' in a postmodern climate in which the value of a psychodynamic perspective cannot be taken for granted. A key implication is the value of therapists becoming more explicitly aware of their own particular narratives and the effect these have on the therapeutic encounter.

KeywordsTherapy; Therapist knowledge ; Psychodynamic perspective
PublisherUniversity of Derby
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Web address (URL)hdl:10545/279058
File Access Level
File Access Level
Output statusUnpublished
Publication process dates
Deposited05 Apr 2013, 08:53
Publication dates2004
Permalink -

Download files

File access level: Open

  • 26
    total views
  • 23
    total downloads
  • 0
    views this month
  • 1
    downloads this month

Export as