Essay: The importance of research findings in counselling work – learning outcome 6.6
The oxford English dictionary defines research as “The systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions”.
Research has played a vital role in counselling and its importance cannot be overemphasised. It has given evidence that counselling changes lives and has helped demonstrate in a range of issues where counselling can be helpful and it’s positive impact on clients. In recent years research has become more important even though research in the development of counselling has always been there since the 1930s.
Research into the effectiveness of counselling started in the 1930s and in the 1940s Carl Rogers engaged in a study to understand the process of change in a person during counselling and this led to the birth of our approach, Person centred counselling.
I guess a better way to put this is why are there more conversations about research in counselling now and it has become very obvious that the reason is the emergence of evidence -based practice. To understand this further we have to look at the importance and benefits of research in counselling.
Research helps improve and develop our methods in counselling, helps educate us practitioners as part of our CPD education, it allows us as person centred counsellors to work within the limits of our competency using research to know when a client will not be suited to our modality, thereby helping us with referrals, helping us understand the context of our clients distress, like in bereavement situation and generally showing our commitment to ethical practice.
For me as a counselling student research is relevant for me because it helps me; know that my modality in person centred counselling works, it helps clarify how all of the theory I have learnt works in practice and it will help me know how effective my counselling service will be and if I work in an agency this will be important for funders or commissioners.
In the public eye, there is an expectation that every practice in public health is evidence based (NHS) ad there is an expectation that every health care provided has been fully researched and there is an expectation that the service is beneficial.
In looking at types of research methods, it is worth noting that in the past the most common research method used was Quantitative which suited those therapies like CBT. Quantitative research method was focused around measuring and quantifying which usual involved the use of numbers, graphs and statistics with the researcher not really part of the research but looking in from the outside.
This approach to research will be challenging in Person centred counselling because it would be difficult to use this method to capture therapeutic change.
The Qualitative approach is better suited because it is all about understanding experience through describing, observing and explaining things t...