Sharing my journey

As something of a foreword, I suppose the following blog serves two purposes, firstly to cement my own inchoate ramblings and serve as a way of documenting my journey or learning process. Secondly, to share observations that I see as interesting in the hope that there are others out there that are like-minded and have a shared interest.

Changing focus

My research path and direction has recently straightened itself out as I move from examining the highly individual engaging, satisfying flow experiences to a focus on exploring shared decision-making between clients and practitioners in counselling and psychotherapy. That is, examining how therapeutic goals and methods are decided upon in a way that sees patient involvement as key, whilst at the same time utilising the expertise of the practitioner as well as encouraging open communication and the exchange of information within the therapeutic relationship.

Shared decision making

Shared decision-making can be seen to hold an important place within what is known as the pluralistic approach to counselling and psychotherapy (Cooper & Mcleod, 2011), which is there area where most of my reading has been directed lately. Adopting a philosophical stance of pluralism, this framework for counselling and psychotherapy asserts that there are may be different methods or a series of different techniques, as well as the way they are delivered, that might be more preferable and work best for each individual client and the meeting of their therapy goals.

A different approach

On the surface this seems like quite a topic shift, and you’re probably raising an eyebrow right about now. Yet, I see a natural progression occurring as I begin to apply my knowledge gained of motivation and activity/goal pursuits in a new sense, towards observations of how such an important part of the therapeutic process is created and managed. Immersing myself in this pluralistic world of psychotherapy reflects the stance that some positive psychologists have begun to adopt; that there is a need to remove the ‘positive’ label, resulting in a merged approach to research and practice that acknowledges there are multiple answers to any one question or difficulty. One example of this is reflected in Positive Psychology 2.0, a proposed balanced, interactive approach involving both positive and negative traits and outcomes (Wong, 2011). In this sense I feel there has been something of a naivety, which I am also guilty of, in assuming a question can be answered from a single stance.

Potential answers

In taking this new stance it is my hope that potential answers to new questions put before me and old questions I’ve been trying to surmount like a stumbling child for some time, can receive some clarity. Questions such as: How we experience and maintain motivation in something difficult, yet truly beneficial to ourselves? How goals, and decisions generally, are decided upon within a relationship in a shared, open manner? What the process or series of processes leading to this are? And what is it that underpins such a process?

I’m truly curious to see where this research direction takes me and what fruits it may bear, and I’ll be documenting this journey as I progress through.

Adam Gibson

Please feel free to get in touch: Cooper, M., & Mcleod, J. (2011). Pluralistic counselling and psychotherapy. London: SAGE. Wong, P. T. P. (2011). Positive psychology 2.0: Towards a balanced interactive model of the good life. Canadian Psychology, 52(2), 69-81


‘We Are The Positive Psychology People’

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