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Video-recording for therapeutic purposes in couple counselling

The challenges of producing fair and respectful relationships sometimes takes couples to counselling. Problematic and taken-for-granted, individualistic, adversarial and gendered discursive practices continue to get in the way of fair and respectful relationships, with studies showing that in heterosexual relationships women are often expected to do most of the work required to maintain and repair couple relationships which continue to centre men’s experiences. When couples get to counselling, counsellors may also struggle to address individualistic and gendered relational processes and, may reproduce them despite their best intentions. In response, narrative therapists work with clients to externalise and deconstruct discursive practices to make visible the operation of power in relationships and to make available other readings, ways of being and identities, which better position members of a couple to collaborate in order to produce solutions. This study employed narrative therapy co-research and video technology in order to investigate the researcher’s own narrative therapy counselling practice with couples. Three couples, all heterosexual, in marriage or marriage-like relationships, were recruited from the researcher’s counselling practice. Together the couples and researcher reviewed and co-researched the video records of the counselling meetings. Practices of co-research with video made visible and unfamiliar some previously unseen and taken-for-granted territories of life. Co-research of these territories generated understandings and proposals for action, which the couples then experimented with and reviewed. As well, the couples all began to imagine how their actions might appear on video and to adjust their actions and thinking to better fit with their values. The video records also provided a text for further deconstructive analysis. Within the counselling, re-membering conversations, taking-it-back practices and definitional ceremonies, were employed and enhanced by using the video in order to support preferred developments and to strengthen the contributions of children, family and communities to the couples’ preferred ways of being. This approach was used to investigate: the ways the couples shared and conducted their conversations in counselling; their parenting; an anger problem; and the sharing of property and income. Ongoing analysis of the video records and transcripts developed and extended the theoretical tools available in the moments of the counselling, producing a richer telling of a practice that was effective at the time. This retelling involved thinking with Derrida and deconstruction as justice in order to cast counselling as an hospitable, collaborative process of co-research which has as its focus addressing justice in the complex, relational, gendered, cultural and contextual territories in which couples’ relationships are played out. The thesis argues that the positioning of counsellor and couples as co-researchers, using hospitable and deconstructive perspectives, greatly reduced conflict and equipped the counsellor and couples to review and research their own experiences, and to collaborate in order to produce more effective problem solving strategies, which addressed their situations and their hopes for justice.
Type of thesis
Depree, J. (2016). Video-recording for therapeutic purposes in couple counselling (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10566
University of Waikato
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