New technology : How do child and adolescent psychotherapists understand it and is it illuminated by the concept of transitional objects?

Gilhooley, Rhona (2020) New technology : How do child and adolescent psychotherapists understand it and is it illuminated by the concept of transitional objects? Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust / University of Essex. Full text available

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Abstract

In the last 30 years, new technology and the use of the internet has increasingly become part of people’s daily life and this is even more evident within the lives of young people. However, little research has investigated the impact of technology on young people and on psychotherapy practice. The research explored child and adolescent psychotherapists understanding of new technology in their therapeutic work with children and young people, and if their understanding of technology is illuminated by the concept of transitional objects. The research was conducted using the qualitative method approach, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) (Smith, Flowers and Larkin, 2009). Eight child and adolescent psychotherapists reflected on their therapeutic work with young people, during individual semi-structured interviews. The IPA method requires an in-depth analysis of interview data, as it focuses on participant’s experience of an individual phenomenon. The analysis of the interviews retrieved 4 recurrent super-ordinate themes; Therapeutic task, Relating, Shortcuts and Transitional Objects. The analysis of the interviews also found 4 sub-themes; Technology as defence, Exposure, Identity and Technology as positive. The results found that child and adolescent psychotherapists had wide ranging views on technology and whether it is illuminated by the concept of transitional objects. The majority of the participants viewed that for young people, their use of technology is intertwined with their identity, attachments and their attempts to manage stages of development and emotions. Technology is illuminated by the concept of transitional objects, based upon the commonly shared function of relieving anxious feelings and helping to manage feelings of aloneness. Some child and adolescent psychotherapists view that technology does not have the same qualities that fulfil the traditional concept of transitional objects. Irrespective of these differences, child and adolescent psychotherapists employ their psychoanalytic technique, to work with what a young person brings, technology or not.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Essex for the degree of Professional Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
Subjects: Emotions, Affective Psychology > Transitional Objects
Research, Tests, Assessments > Psychotherapy Research
Research, Tests, Assessments > Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
Research
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2276

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