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The background to the research I have been involved in was my frustration with the dominance of CBT within statutory therapy services within the UK and a continued lack of recognition for TA. To me, as to most TA therapists, I could see in my day to day practice that TA was indeed an effective approach, but was afraid that that unless we as a community start to quickly accumulate research evidence supporting our convictions that TA would continue to be marginalised. As a result of an informal conversation with Professor John McLeod- a respected counselling and psychotherapy researcher- I was inspired to engage in research and to enrol with the University of Leicester to begin a PhD investigating the process and outcome of TA psychotherapy. I am now four years into my doctoral research, and have found it to be a deeply enriching experience which has brought me a great deal of personal and professional satisfaction. As my research has developed, I have become clearer in my vision and aim. My vision is to see TA recognised as an Empirically-Supported Therapy by the year 2020. This is an entirely realistic vision, and I hope that in reading this that many of you will be encouraged to join in and make this vision a reality.
At this point, it is perhaps worth exploring a little bit about what research means to many within our community. My sense is that many of you will be able to identify with the following statement;
‘I know research is important… to help us to understand how therapy works, to improve how we do therapy, to contribute to our profession and to promote wider acceptance of TA and psychotherapy’
Is this true for you? I also suspect that many of you will be able to identify with the following statement;
‘My negative impression of research is that it… Isn’t for people like me, it is complex, boring and time consuming, it is not relevant to the practice of therapy and is an ethically dubious activity’
Is this statement true for you also? I would imagine that many of you will be able to identify with much of the second statement. I am basing my speculation about your views of research on some recent research which I conducted which investigated the perceptions that 16 TA psychotherapy trainees had of psychotherapy research. (for more information on the results of this research, see; Widdowson, M. (2012a).
As I see it, if this second statement is common amongst members of the TA community, then unless this is addressed, the vision I described above will not become a reality. It is part of my intention in writing this article to highlight that research does not need to be complex, boring or time consuming, can be conducted by people like you and can produce findings which are highly relevant and applicable to the realities of the consulting room.
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Widdowson, M. (2012d) 'TA Treatment of Depression - A Hermeneutic Single-Case Efficacy Design Study - "Tom".' International Journal