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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26374

Title: Motivational Factors and Frameworks for Counsellors and Psychotherapists
Authors: McCann, Paul Francis
Advisor: Piran, Niva
Department: Adult Education and Counselling Psychology
Keywords: Work Motivation of Counsellors and Psychotherapists
Self-determination theory; therapeutic alliance, process factors in counselling and psychotherapy, effectance feedback, self-esteem of counsellors and psychotherapists
Issue Date: 23-Feb-2011
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the lived experience of the day-to-day and continuing work motivation of professional counsellors and psychotherapists. A life history methodology was employed to distill discrete motivational factors and to construct broader motivational frameworks. Nine professional mid-career counsellors/psychotherapists (6 women, 3 men, 3 psychologists, 3 social workers, 2 counselling psychologists and 1 privately trained PhD) drawn from private practice (3) and institutional workplaces (6) were given in-depth interviews to delve into the motivational experience occasioned by their work. Employing a series of guided questions each of the research participants were interviewed about the overall experience of the gratifications, satisfactions, and motivations occasioned by their work and discrete motivational experiences in session, in-the moment. Other questions delved into the experience of dissatisfaction and de-motivation, the factors that allowed them to persist in adverse circumstances, changes in their work motivation from the time they first entered the profession, and the effects of their work on their feelings of self-esteem and well-being. Through a grounded theory analysis of the interview transcripts and informed by work motivation theory, the research participants’ observations on their motivational experience were used to construct three models. The first model demonstrated that the overall work motivation of the research participants was generated by the opportunity to simultaneously meet the three universal needs postulated by self-determination theory – autonomy, competence, and relatedness. The second model was based on the phenomenon of privilege experienced by the research participants. In essence, the research participants were motivated to return the gift of intimacy, honour, and trust accorded to them by vulnerable clients in the establishment of the therapeutic bond and alliance, which allowed them to meet their own needs for relatedness and competence and generated feelings of responsibility and obligation to safeguard trust and protect vulnerability. The third model was generated from the research participants’ experience of the process of counselling and psychotherapy, incorporating goal-setting with clients, privilege, in-the-moment experiences of efficacy, and effectance feedback to the realization of proximal goals within the process, which reinforced the motivation to work towards the distal goals of positive outcome. The three models were incorporated into an integrated framework, describing the factors and processes underlying the work motivation, work satisfaction, self-esteem, and well-being of the research participants. The research may be useful for professional counsellors and psychotherapists and the institutions which employ them.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26374
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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