How do women experience counselling in a women-only space? : a thematic analysis of nine women’s experiences of counselling within a Women’s Centre in New Zealand.

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Theses / Dissertations
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Master of Counselling
University of Canterbury
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Gatenby, Dawn

This qualitative research project sought to explore how women experience counselling in a women-only space, namely a Women’s Centre in New Zealand.

Nine women who were former clients of the Christchurch Women’s Centre shared their experiences of therapy within this setting. This study offers detail and clarity on what draws women to seek counselling at a Women’s Centre. It also explores what women see as differences between counselling at a Women’s Centre and other counselling environments. Additionally, what was beneficial and helpful about this type of counselling is discussed along with whether counselling in this environment could be improved upon.

Rich and descriptive data was obtained from the participants through semi-structured interviews and analysed using thematic analysis. Six key themes are identified including; the impact of aesthetics and environmental factors for women when having therapy, the need for, and importance of, physical and emotional safety, the cost of counselling and the implications of this when women seek therapy, the importance of clients developing a connection with their counsellor, participants overall experience of counselling at the Centre, and limitations that occurred within this setting.

Detailed descriptions of the themes and participants’ experiences are explored in relation to existing research and literature. Overall, the findings highlight that counselling in a Women’s Centre is unique and meaningful for women for a multitude of reasons and can affect and impact on a women’s life in the short and long term in positive ways.

Given there is limited research worldwide on how women experience counselling in women- only spaces this study adds valuable data on this topic. Implications for practice, limitations of this project and recommendations for future research are offered at the conclusion of this thesis.

Ngā upoko tukutuku/Māori subject headings
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