Beauty and the Beast: Clients' Experience of Counselling Within a Narrative Framework, Considering Concepts of Containment and Freedom
The experience of opposition between what could be contained in my internal world, and what I wanted freedom from containing while a client in counselling led to the conception of this research. Containment and freedom seemed to form a polarity (Jung 1961; 1969) in that each notion became as necessary as the other. Clients who became participants were in counselling with other counsellors and were asked to keep journals on their thoughts and feelings after counselling sessions and these formed the data for the study. My interest in poetry guided this process as the journals were created by short phrases forming each line and this seemed to influence the writing and analytic process. The journals produced by the participants encouraged the original heuristic (Moustakas 1990) design to surrender the richness that was hidden within it as it became a narrative inquiry. Containment, freedom and the possible polarity between them are investigated as constructs of emotional opposition experienced by the client. The construct and categories which emerge from the data suggest aspects of containment and freedom that demonstrate how emotional movement may occur within the participants through the opposition between containment and freedom. The data also seems to image established theory within the journal stories. A relationship between poetry and the counselling experience is drawn together within the research process as the unconscious and the use of metaphor seem to elicit the discovery of the self. My experiences of personal life events that impact upon the study are held alongside the project as such experiences and the research develop my voice which is relevant to the process and outcome of the work.