|dc.identifier.citation||Sliedrecht, S. (2007). Counselling Patients with a Spinal Cord Injury (Thesis, Master of Counselling (MCouns)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2426||en
|dc.description.abstract||The aim of this study was to improve current counselling services at the Auckland
Spinal Unit. This purpose was achieved by co-researching the topic with people
who have extensive experience of living in the community with a spinal cord injury
to reveal what they believe was helpful, or believe would have been helpful, in
terms of the counselling, when they were newly injured.
Listening to the stories of the research participants, through supervision of my own
practice, doing a literature review and writing a journal became sources that
provided rich knowledges to reflect on my current counselling practice.
A qualitative study was conducted using aspects of action research, feminist
research and post-structuralist methods.
In November 2005, an information pack was mailed to the sixteen patients who had
been discharged from the Auckland Spinal Unit between June 2002 and June 2004,
who were under the age of sixty -five and lived in the Auckland area, inviting them
to participate in this research. Seven people agreed and were available to
I interviewed these seven participants, using unstructured interviews. All the
interviews were audio-taped and then transcribed verbatim. These verbatim
transcripts were then sent back to the participants for any
additions/deletions/alterations they chose to make.
To initiate the reflecting process, I then went through all the interviews and
identified common themes. I understand that if the research participants had been
involved in this process, other themes might have emerged for them.
The themes identified were loss and grief as a result of a spinal cord injury,
sexuality, family (whanau) involvement and how counselling services should be
positioned in a setting such as the Auckland Spinal Unit. These themes formed the
foci of the chapters, with an additional chapter on weaving cultural threads into
The main findings of the study centre on the very important role of counselling at
the Auckland Spinal Unit. In particular, the study highlighted the importance of
counselling as a place for conversations that make room for multiple positionings
and multiple versions of events, a space that respects a patient's hopes, beliefs and
dreams for his/her life (which often does not include wheelchairs, catheters and
caregivers) but that also supports the patient to make meaning of living life with a
spinal cord injury.
The study also identified the importance of sexuality counselling. Not including
sexuality as a topic in the rehabilitation services provided perpetuates dominant
discourses that a person with a spinal cord injury does not want sexual intimacy or
cannot be sexually intimate and cannot have children.
Family (whanau) involvement in and family's becoming part of the rehabilitation
team was very important to most participants. This study looks at how this
involvement can be achieved and explores some of the structures currently in place
at the Auckland Spinal Unit to facilitate this involvement. Participants in this study
expressed a desire for counselling to be highly accessible to both themselves and
their families (whanau). They would prefer the counsellors to get to know the
patients in their own environment first (in their rooms), so that the patients are
positioned to have agency to make choices about how they would like to use the
available counselling services.
The study concludes with my personal journey of working as a counsellor at the
Auckland Spinal Unit and how this research has shaped and fine-tuned my practice.||en_NZ
|dc.publisher||The University of Waikato||en_NZ
|dc.rights||All items in Research Commons are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.||
|dc.title||Counselling Patients with a Spinal Cord Injury||en_NZ
|thesis.degree.grantor||University of Waikato||en_NZ
|thesis.degree.name||Master of Counselling (MCouns)||en_NZ
|pubs.place-of-publication||Hamilton, New Zealand||en_NZ