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Seminars & Speakers 2017 - Day 3

DAY 3 – Wednesday 7th June 2017 Research and Evidence

09:00-10:00   Keynote Lecture with Professor John McLeod

Evidence and Research’

Then choose ONE(1) Methodology for the rest of the day 

Option 1

Case study Research

John McLeod

Option 2

Quantitative Research

Evi Chryssafidou

Option 3

Mixed Method

Alan Priest

Option 4

Philosophy in Research

Rupert King


Option 1: CASE STUDY RESEARCH– Speaker: Professor John McLeod

Case study research is a crucial source of evidence for the development of theory and practice. One of the key developments in the field of research into counselling and psychology, over the past 15 years, has been a significant increase in the number of research-based, systematic single case studies that have been published. Two case-oriented journals have been established: Clinical Case Studies, and Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy. Case studies are also regularly published in journals such as Psychotherapy ResearchPsychotherapy, and Counselling and Psychotherapy Research.  Case study archives have been established, and procedures have been developed for undertaking different forms of rigorous case-based inquiry.

Case study research can be used to pursue several different research goals or questions:

Narrative questions. This genre of case study research explores questions such as:

  • What was it like to be the client or therapist in this case?
  • What is the story of what happened, from the client or therapist point of view?
  • What themes or meanings can be identified in the narrative account provided by the client or the therapist who participated in a case?

This type of investigation is the case study equivalent of qualitative research which uses in-depth interviews to allow participants to describe and give voice to their experience.

Pragmatic questions. The aim of a pragmatic case study is to document the strategies, methods and professional knowledge used by a therapist in a specific case, and to reflect on how these interventions contributed to the eventual outcome. Such a case study might also consider such questions as:

  • How were therapeutic methods adapted and modified to address the needs of this specific client?
  • What are the principles of good practice that can be derived from this case?

Outcome questions. Case studies can be used to evaluate or demonstrate the effectiveness of a new form of therapy, or the effectiveness of an existing model of therapy with a new client group. Such studies play a crucial role in establishing the potential significance of new interventions, in advance of conducting a large group study. The questions that might be addressed in such a study include:

  • How effective has therapy been in this case?
  • To what extent can changes that have been observed in the client be attributed to therapy?
  • To what extent is this approach to therapy potentially relevant for this group of clients?

Theory-building question. Case studies can be used to test the validity of existing theories, and as means of building new theories. This form of case study research explores questions such as:

  • How can the process of therapy in this case be understood in theoretical terms?
  • How can the data in this case be used to test and refine an existing theoretical model?

Case studies represent a form of knowledge that is highly relevant for practice.  Studies have shown that practitioners are more likely to report that their work has been influenced by reading case studies, in contrast to other types of research article. The experience of being involved in analysing and writing up a case is personally and intellectually rewarding, and has the potential to make an important contribution to professional learning and development.

Professor John McLeod biography:

Department of Psychology, University of Oslo

Institute of Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy, Dublin

 Dr John McLeod


The facilitator of this seminar, John McLeod, is a leading figure in case study research and, in addition to being co-author for several published case studies, he is the author of Case Study Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy (Sage, 2010) and many chapters and papers on aspects of case study methodology. In particular, practical guidelines for the carrying out a publishable case study can be found in Doing Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy (3rd edn., Sage, 2013) and case study reports as evidence to inform practice are discussed in Using Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy (Sage, 2016).


The aim of the workshop is to introduce some of the main principles and techniques, asscoiated with case study research in counselling, psychotherapy and related disciplines. Participants wil have the opportunity to enagage in practical activities using anonymised case study data and will be provided with follow-up eading to support further private study.

The workshop will also consider ways in which involvement in case study inquiry can be used to inform therapy practice, and implications for the training of counsellors and psychotherapists.



Option 2: QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH, CORE CONCEPTS -  Speaker: Dr Evi Chryssafidou.

Using Quantitative Research to follow the Progress of Clients

Researcher at the Faculty of Applied Research and Clinical Practice, Metanoia Counselling and Psychotherapy Service (MCPS)    




Evi has an interdisciplinary research background (BA in Media, MSc in Human Computer Interaction, University of Sussex, PhD in Educational Technology at the University of Birmingham) and a long experience in research projects that employ quantitative methods. She is currently training at Metanoia Institute (MSc in Integrative psychotherapy) and working part-time as researcher at the Metanoia Institute Research Centre and Research Clinic.

Evi's research has always focused on quantifiable outcomes in a range of areas, such as counselling, social interaction  skills and academic writing. Hr current research focuses on evaluation that is conducted using standardised sessional measures processing large data from routine outcome evaluation at Metanoia Counselling and Psychotherapy Service (MCPS) in order to inform evidence-based practice.          At MCPS she is also working in the evaluation of avatar-based counselling in secondary schools. She has previously taken up research posts at the Birmingham University Medical School, at the UCL London Institute of Education and at Roehampton University.                




Option 3: MIXED METHOD RESEARCH– Speaker: Dr Alan Priest

It is rare to encounter straightforward, so-called “unidimensional,” relationships between variables in psychotherapy research. For example how would one define “relationship” in the context of the similarly complex notion of “outcome?”

Research is arguably more robust when it draws upon qualitative and quantitative approaches, utilising different data collection methods such as interviews and questionnaires (Tashakkori and Teddlie, 2010). The researcher is able to use one method to contextualise or illuminate findings arising from another (Onwuegbuzie & Teddlie, 2003).  McLeod (2011) uses the metaphor of a jigsaw, each individual piece adding to an overall picture or pattern.

A definition

"The collection or analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data in a single study in which the data are collected concurrently or sequentially, are given a priority, and involve the integration of the data at one or more stages in the process of research"

(Creswell, Plano Clark, Gutmann, Hanson, 2003, p. 212).

Five purposes of mixed method studies

Mixed method studies can be classified as having one or more of these five purposes

  1. triangulation (i.e., seeking convergence and corroboration of findings from different methods that study the same phenomenon);
  2. complementarity (i.e.,seeking elaboration, illustration, enhancement; clarification of the findings from one method utilising data from the other method)
  3. development (i.e., using findings from one method to develop another method)
  4. initiation (i.e., discovering paradoxes and contradictions that lead to a re-framing of the research question)
  5. expansion (i.e., seeking to expand the breadth and range of inquiry).

(Greene, Caracelli & Graham, 1989)

However, mixing methods is not without its challenges. Analysis must be account for within-case and between-case narratives.  Managing multiple data sources and types is often not easy. Furthermore, in mixing methods, the researcher is potentially also mixing methodologies, crossing paradigms and therefore trying to accommodate different perspectives on the nature of “knowing”. 

For example, when scientific method meets, constructivist or phenomenological perspectives, the result can, according to some, be highly controversial – even untenable (Creswell, 2011 p. 275).  Mixed methods researchers need to have a clear understanding of the potential tensions that underlie the benefits of having different perspectives on their enquiry, explicitly stating this awareness and identifying the theory/ies which provide the guiding framework for the study.

Dr. Alan Priest, biography:

MA, DPsych(Prof), FHEA.



Alan Priest is a UKCP registered integrative psychotherapist, BACP registered and accredited counsellor and lecturer in Counselling & Psychotherapy at the University of Salford, Manchester. He has over 20 years experience working in both the NHS and private practice in Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire. In 1986 he founded social and market research organisation Quaestor, based in Leeds, running it until 1993 before resigning to focus full-time on psychotherapy training and research.

Throughout life, he has been fascinated by the nature and meaning of dialogue with self and our capacity to talk about “me, myself, I” as a separate component of our awareness.  His research focuses on conceptions of self, in particular, the way that clients relate to self in the language they use in therapy and the impact of this on process and outcome.

Drawing upon his doctoral research and subsequent studies concerning self reflection, this workshop aims to illuminate the benefits of adopting multiple perspectives on the same research problem, whilst also providing a practical guide into the potential difficulties and “watch outs”, especially when researching one’s own clients. There will be an opportunity for participants to engage with real mixed methods data in order to understand the challenges of analysing and interpreting data from qualitative and quantitative methods, particularly in the context of “co-created” versus so-called “objective” measurement.

Working with mixed methods, according to Alan, requires a particular type of attention, a free-floating relationship with the data, a mind so open that it can live with the tensions of such analysis, without – in the words of Carl Sagan – “your brains falling out!”

These and other qualities such as pragmatism and a focus on the value of the research in a “real world” context will be explored in this practical, fun and “hands on” workshop designed to guide the less confident or experienced researcher through the supposed theoretical and academic perils of a mixed methods approach.



Further Reading:

Creswell, J. W. (2011). 'Controversies in mixed methods research'. In J. W. Creswell, N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.). The Sage handbook of qualitative research. (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage Publications, p. 269-283.

Creswell, J. W., Plano Clark, V. L., Gutmann, M. L. & Hanson, W. E. (2003). Advanced mixed methods research designs. In A. Tashakkori and C. Teddlie (Eds), Handbook on mixed methods in the behavioral and social sciences (pp. 209-240). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Greene, J. C., Caracelli, V. J., & Graham, W. F. (1989). Toward a conceptual framework for mixed-method evaluation designs. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 11(3), 255–274. doi:10.3102/01623737011003255

McLeod, J. (2011). Qualitative research in counselling and psychotherapy (2nd ed.). London: SAGE Publications.

Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Teddlie, C. (2003). A framework for analyzing data in mixed methods research. Handbook of mixed methods in social and behavioral research, 2, 397-430.

Tashakkori, A. & Teddlie, C. (2010). Handbook of mixed methods in social and behavioral research (2nd Edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.



Option 4: THEORY, BELIEF AND PHILOSOPHY – Speaker: Rupert King

Phenomenology and creative use of philosophy in research

How often do we, as researchers, turn to philosophy for inspiration? Such texts offer a rich seam of material to contextualize our thinking and inform our practice. Yet as a primary source, philosophy can be perceived as elusive and inaccessible.   What did Heidegger actually say about phenomenology? What does ‘to the things themselves’ really mean? Why is the phenomenological attitude so important in research? These are some of the questions that we will explore in the workshop. Phenomenology shares with philosophy a love of questioning – questions stimulate and challenge. In turn they help clarify our world-view, as Heidegger says “Questions are paths towards answers” (Heidegger). By engaging with philosophical texts we create a bridge between clinical epistemology and research knowledge.

Philosophers have sought answers to their questioning through writing. As they wrestled with complex ideas, they committed to paper trains of thought and lines of argument we can still follow to this day. Like Heidegger infamous Holzwege (wooded paths) some lead nowhere while others unlock and open up fields of inquiry helpful to our research. In this workshop we shall a creative approach to engaging with philosophical texts.  It will be done a way that is designed to overcome the fear such texts can evoke. There is no ‘right’ interpretation rather the aim is to discover how the text speaks to you? To explore how philosophy can develop your thinking in relation to research. As van Manen says “Doing phenomenology means developing a pathos for great texts” (van Manen, 2014: 23).

Following on from the philosophical texts we shall explore the art of phenomenological writing (van Manen, 2014) an essential component of phenomenological research.

“Phenomenological writing is not just a process of writing up or writing down the results of a research project. To write is to reflect; to write is to research. And in writing we may deepen and change ourselves in ways we cannot predict.” (van Manen, p.20)

We discuss the practicalities of using such an approach as a method in research. Participants will be given a chance to write about a chosen phenomenon. The task will be to describe without interpreting, to evoke without labelling and to communicate life without reifying it.

Rupert King biography:



Rupert King is an existential-phenomenological therapist and supervisor in private practice. He studied at Regents University and is a graduate of the ADEP program. He was first recipient of the Hans Cohn prize. He started his career as a student counsellor at Brunel University.

Over the years he has taught existential philosophy on a number of psychotherapy training courses. He is in the final stage of a DPsych. at Metanoia Institute. His research interests include: the use of images and writing in phenomenological research, Heidegger’s later works and their relevance to psychotherapy. As a keen gardener he takes a creative and embodied approach towards engaging with philosophical ideas, which in turn he brings to his practice and teaching.




Further Reading:

Van Manen (2014). Phenomenology of Practice. Meaning-Giving Methods in Phenomenological Research and Writing. CA: Left Coast Press