Some call it love: Exploring Norwegian systemic couple therapists' discourses of love, intimacy and sexuality

Øfsti, Anne Kyong Sook (2008) Some call it love: Exploring Norwegian systemic couple therapists' discourses of love, intimacy and sexuality. DSysPsych thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. Full text available

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Abstract

This thesis is a qualitative study based on interviews and video material, of five therapists conducting couple therapy. Norwegian systemic couple therapists’ discourses about love and intimate relationships have been explored with the aim of shedding light on couple therapy as a professional field in which discourses about love, sexuality and intimate relationship are drawn on, exchanged and negotiated. The method of analysis is discourse analysis, and poststructuralist theory has informed the design and underpinned my epistemological stance. A main issue has been to explore how systemic couple therapists occupy a position of power as clients’ expectations of them as professionals are linked to notions of objective knowledge. This is simultaneously a challenge because most couple therapy issues are discursive. I have looked specifically at how a discursive dynamic has unfolded in couple therapy and how dominant discourses of love, as for instance ‘the romantic’, stabilize and reproduce heteronormativity. This analysis is intended to provide new insight into the field of systemic couple therapy practice in relation to the importance of self-reflexivity. The limitations of the study are discussed, reflexivity issues are explored and ideas for further research are proposed. The implications of the study for therapeutic work with couples and training of couple therapists has been elaborated.

Item Type: Thesis (DSysPsych)
Additional Information: A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of East London in collaboration with the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust for the Professional Doctorate in Systemic Psychotherapy
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Systemic Psychotherapy
Subjects: Couple & Family Therapies > Couple/Marital Therapy
Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Systemic Couple Therapy
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2246

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