There's always this sense of failure'. An interpretative phenomenological analysis of primary care counsellors' experiences of working with the borderline client.

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This qualitative study explores the experiences of five primary care counsellors working in the NHS with clients identified as diagnosable with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Participants completed a semi-structured interview about their experiences of clinical work with BPD clients. Interview transcripts were analysed via Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and three master-themes were identified: recognition and implications; managing feelings of inadequacy; and managing dilemmas in the primary care context. Despite struggling to manage feelings of failure evoked by these clients, counsellors described feeling a sense of ethical responsibility, and adapted the traditional short-term model of counselling to ensure clients received ongoing, supportive work. Whilst guidelines propose that BPD is best managed and treated in secondary care and specialist services, this study found that counsellors are working with this complex group of clients in primary care and require specialist supervision and support in managing unconscious process issues emerging from the work. 

© 2011, Taylor & Francis. This is an author produced version of a paper published in the Journal of Social Work Practice, uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link below. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-54
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2011

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