Counselling for adults with diabetes

Kate Smith, Mhairi Thurston, P. Eva, Julia McLeod

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    Aim/Purpose: This research study explores counselling for adults with diabetes. Emotional wellbeing and the absence of mental health problems is strongly associated with glycaemic control, but despite this NHS services in the UK leave this aspect of the disease unaddressed.
    The project aims were to explore these emotional needs, and to use case-studies to ascertain how these needs may be met by counselling tasks undertaken during therapy. This approach was used to develop a task-based model for counselling adults with diabetes, which can be used in practice and training.
    Design/Methodology: The study used thematic analysis of interviews, and group-based collaborative consensus analysis for case-study data. Twenty adults with diabetes, and twenty NHS staff underwent semi-structured interviews focussing on perceived need for emotional support. Case-studies were carried out on transcripts pluralistic therapy for three counselling clients.
    Results/Findings: The findings highlighted the needs of adults with diabetes which related to their experiences of managing the disease, and other issues such as relationships, emotional management, ongoing support and understanding their condition. NHS staff, reported feeling unprepared to manage interactions with patients seeking emotional support. A common theme of breakdowns in communication and attendance for medical care was present for both interviewee groups. Case-study data revealed evidence for the role of counsellors in validating the difficulties experienced by adults with diabetes, and in filling the gap between patient need and NHS provision.
    Research Limitations: This exploration of diabetes care provision examined a relatively small group of people. Because of the large range of experiences of people with diabetes, the findings should be considered an illustration of some of the needs and available support, and as such a contribution to the argument for counselling provision for long-term health conditions.
    Conclusions/Implications: This study shows the potential of counselling to fill an identified gap in support provision for adults with diabetes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2015
    Event21st Annual Counselling and Psychotherapy Research Conference: Understanding professional practice: the role of research - East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham, United Kingdom
    Duration: 15 May 201516 May 2015
    Conference number: 21


    Conference21st Annual Counselling and Psychotherapy Research Conference
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


    • Diabetes
    • Long-term conditions
    • Pluralism
    • NHS
    • Qualitative research


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