Crossing the line: establishing counselling training in hard to reach and marginalised communities

Sandelson, Jennifer (2017) Crossing the line: establishing counselling training in hard to reach and marginalised communities. [Doctorate by public works]


This context statement is a reflexive audit of the process and development of the public works submitted to fulfil the requirements of the Doctorate in Psychotherapy by Public Works (D.Psych). The Public Works submitted include transcultural counselling trainings developed in hard to reach and marginalised communities. I consider projects established in Northern Ireland and Malta as background to the development of knowledge and experience that equipped me for the challenges of later projects. I focus predominantly on the ongoing training projects established in Karachi, Pakistan and with the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in London.

I provide a brief description of the history of the background and main projects. This is followed by an in-depth personal and critical reflection of the work, with a focus on the challenges and developmental learning that enabled the projects to succeed. Although all trainings took place in widely different contexts, several common themes emerged. These are considered in several discrete areas, including: understanding the general cultural context, working in a different political context, the impact and meaning of therapeutic exercises and theory in different cultural contexts, the impact of cultural contexts on group processes, my otherness in relation to group processes, and lastly, envy and destructive attacks.

The critical reflection is informed by insights from psychoanalytic relational theory, particularly from the British object relations school, where unconscious processes and dynamics provide a framework for understanding and analysis. The statement includes the outline of a model for developing transcultural counselling training. This model lays the foundation for a practice framework.
Finally, the statement outlines the impact of the public works. In addition to the learning generated, the work has established training and grown the profession of counselling in communities previously untouched. This has impacted not only the students who have undertaken the training, but also the clients in marginalised and hard to reach communities, with whom the students and graduates work.

JSandelson Thesis.pdf - Accepted Version

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