Just between the two of us: clinical intuition as a non-conscious process.

Swanepoel, Lucia (2008) Just between the two of us: clinical intuition as a non-conscious process. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.


Intuition is a phenomenon widely acknowledged within psychological therapy, and yet it remains poorly understood. Historically its subjective and nonrational
nature has prevented it from entering into mainstream psychological research, and to date studies of the phenomenon have concentrated on; proving the existence of intuition, anecdotal or descriptive accounts, and the
measurement of accuracy. Research attempting to provide a comprehensive understanding of the process of intuition within the therapeutic dyad, and a theory of how information arrives in the unconscious mind of the therapist, is sparse. An argument is put forward for the importance of pursuing research in this area.
Using grounded theory and unstructured interviewing of experienced practitioners, this study explores the emergence and process of intuition in the therapeutic dyad. A case is made for the importance of recognising the
contributions of the advances in the study of neuroscience and for considering the intersubjective nature of the therapeutic process in understanding the phenomenon. Using examples from participants it explores their subjective experiences and offers a theory of intuition as a
non-conscious process, emerging between client and therapist, and experienced on a physiological, affective and cognitive level. Furthermore it suggests that intuition might be understood as a convergence of many systems and that this may be best explained through an application of
complexity theory. The limitations of the study are discussed and suggestions are put forward for future research.
Lastly the implications of this study are discussed from the viewpoint of clinical practice and the training of practitioners, and the importance of the acceptance of the process of intuition as a natural and integral process within the therapeutic relationship is explored.


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