Just published in Counseling Psychotherapy Research

Searching for safety: Building meaning bridges using digital imagery in school counselling with a female adolescent, ‘Sally’

First published: 24 March 2020

Contributing authors: William B. Stiles (stileswb@miamioh.edu), Evi Chryssafidou (e.chryssafidou@metanoia.ac.uk).

Abstract

Objectives

According to the assimilation model, psychotherapeutic progress involves building semiotic meaning bridges between disconnected parts of the person. Previous research with a young male client, who was diagnosed with ASP, showed that digital imagery can serve to build inter and intrapersonal relating during counselling. This project aimed to further elaborate that theory with a client of a different gender and with different presenting issues.

Design

This was a qualitative theory‐building case study.

Method

The client was a 16‐year‐old teenager seen in school counselling for 10 sessions who presented with a range of issues: problems with eating, depression and anxiety. She self‐harmed and had suicidal ideation and continued using counselling services after the end of the research project. Assimilation analysis used screen and accompanying voice recordings of the ten sessions, during the research project where she participated in an evaluation of cybertherapy software designed for therapy and coaching.

Results

The client created three main digital scenes. The first scene represented difficulties she experienced in her everyday life; the second scene represented a longed for experience of safety, and the third her attempts to connect the two. The imagery and meanings evolved across this segment of treatment, providing a channel of interpersonal and intra‐personal communication.

Conclusions

Observations showed how digital imagery can serve as meaning bridges between client and counsellor and between internal parts of the client.

Publication in Counselling and Psychotherapy Research

First page image

 

Our article is published as part of a Special Section: Therapists and Knowledge. Guest Editors: Sofie Bager‐Charleson, Alistair Mcbeath & Simon Du Plock

Digital images as meaning bridges: Case study of assimilation using avatar software in counselling with a 14‐year‐old boy

First published: 24 May 2019   https://doi.org/10.1002/capr.12230

Abstract

Objectives

According to the assimilation model, psychotherapeutic progress involves building semiotic meaning bridges between disconnected parts of the person. Previous research has focused on verbal meaning bridges; this case study investigated whether and how digital imagery might serve as well.

Design

This was a qualitative theory‐building case study.

Method

The client was a 14‐year‐old boy with autism spectrum disorder seen in school counselling for 60 sessions. Assimilation analysis was applied to screen recordings and accompanying voice recording nine sessions, drawn from an early part of his treatment, during which he participated in an evaluation of video game‐like software designed for therapy and coaching.

Results

The client created avatars representing aspects of himself and significant others, and scenes representing his problems and coping. The imagery and meanings evolved across this segment of treatment, providing a channel of interpersonal and intra‐personal communication.

Conclusion

Observations showed how digital imagery can serve as meaning bridges between client and counsellor, and between internal parts of the client.

Publication in British Journal of Guidance & Counselling

BRITISH JOURNAL OF GUIDANCE & COUNSELLING
https://doi.org/10.1080/03069885.2018.1506567
Published by Routledge

Avatar-based counselling for psychological distress in secondary school pupils: pilot evaluation

Mick Cooper, Biljana van Rijn and Evi Chryssafidou

Abstract:
This study is a pilot evaluation of a new avatar-based therapeutic tool,
ProReal, with psychologically distressed young people within a school
setting. In total, 54 young people, aged 12–18 years old, participated in
face-to-face avatar-based counselling. Young people used the software to
represent themselves and others, their problems and emotions. The
primary outcome measure was the Young Person’s CORE (YP-CORE). The
avatar-based counselling intervention was feasible to implement and
acceptable to clients, with 90% rating the help that they received as
good, and less than 20% dropout. The intervention was associated with
small to medium reductions in psychological distress, psychological
difficulties and conduct problems. These improvements, however, were
significant for male clients only. Outcomes were greater for counsellors
who spent more time in training and using the ProReal software.

Keywords:
Computer-assisted therapy;
avatar-based therapy;
adolescents; treatment
outcome

 

 

Sage Handbook of Counselling and Psychotherapy

The SAGE Handbook of Counselling and Psychotherapy
Fourth Edition, edited by Colin Feltham – Emeritus Professor of Counselling & Psychotherapy, Sheffield Hallam University; Terry Hanley – University of Manchester, UK; and Laura Anne Winter – University of Manchester, UK.

“At over 600 pages and with more than 100 contributions, this Fourth Edition brings together the essentials of counselling and psychotherapy theory, research, skills and practice. Including new content on assessment, theory, applications and settings, and with new chapter overviews and summaries, this continues to be the most comprehensive and accessible guide to the field for trainees or experienced practitioners.”

You can find my contribution in Part 3: Therapeutic Skills and Clinical Practice, Chapter 3.3 Assessment.

See Sage Publishing for more details and a preview.

 

SPR Conference 2017 in Oxford

Society for Psychotherapy Research
UK & European Chapters
4th joint conference
20 – 22 September 2017
Examination Schools, Oxford
“Psychotherapy practice and research: Finding the common ground”

I am taking part in a structured discussion ‘The SPRISTAD Study of Psychotherapist Development in Training – Experiences and challenges of data collection in different countries and its impact on research activity’ on Wednesday the 20th

On the 21st I am presenting a paper in a panel:
‘New directions in assimilation research: Theory-building case studies on the therapist’s activities in setbacks, assimilating the experience of dementia, and using digital images as meaning bridges’
The title of the paper is ‘Digital images as therapeutic meaning bridges. Case Study research into the use of avatar-based software by adolescents in school counselling’, van Rijn, B., Falconer C., Chryssafidou. E., Stiles, W.B.