How Qualities for Dialogic Therapeutic Relationship Develop: a Phenomenological Study of Therapists‘ Experiences
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This thesis is a qualitative study of psychotherapists‘ lived experiences of how they developed qualities for dialogic therapeutic relationship in themselves. The study also explored the meaning and place of the dialogic relationship in the psychotherapy practice. Dialogic therapeutic relationship is a relationship where uniqueness of the therapist and the client is valued and where open, mutual, and direct communication between people is emphasized. The review of the literature incorporates the existing theoretical knowledge on the dialogic therapeutic relationship, current scientific knowledge about client-therapist relationship in psychotherapy and its role in general, and reflection on some of the resources about development of relational qualities by therapist. Participants were experienced Gestalt therapy practitioners and trainers (n=3), who were chosen because of the dialogic approach in their work. Data was collected in open-ended interviews and phenomenological analysis of the interviews was performed. As a result of the analysis the following five themes that describe the process of the dialogical therapist development emerged: the influence of the family, friendships and culture; being attracted to Gestalt therapy; the influence of personal therapy; learning from working and training; and learning the dialogic approach. Two additional themes were the meaning and place of the dialogic therapeutic relationship, and recommendations for therapists who want to be more dialogical in their work. These key themes were discussed with relation to the literature and the major influencing experiences were delineated. The role of the dialogic therapeutic relationship was described. Applications of the results are significant for the personal and professional development of psychotherapists, and for increasing use of dialogic approach to aid in the person‘s healing.