Research informed service development: counselling for sight loss overview

Mhairi Thurston, Kate Smith, John McLeod, Phil Eva

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    Aim/Purpose: These studies represent a body of work identifying the emotional impact of sight loss and developing a client defined task based counselling model. They are part of a larger project aimed at developing and informing counselling service provision for people with sight loss.
    Design/Methodology: The specific methodologies reported in this overview are 1. A grounded theory analysis of semi structured interviews with 18 blind and partially sighted participants. 2. Two systematic research case studies, which collected process and outcome data. The case study data were analysed using quasi-judicial and creative consensus methodologies. All the projects were given ethical approval by the university ethics committee. Participants were recruited from sight loss groups.
    Results/Findings: The studies showed that sight loss impacted negatively on person's mood, identity and feelings of social connectedness. Helpful therapeutic tasks were identified in the case studies. An initial cross case comparison provided a starting point in the development of a client - defined, task- based model of counselling for sight loss
    Research Limitations: Whilst these projects enable us to have a deeper understanding of the emotional impact of sight loss and the helpful aspects of therapy reported by clients with sight loss, the main limitation of the studies is their small sample size. This is problematic in terms of generalizability as there are many different types of sight loss, which may affect people in different ways.
    Conclusions/Implications: A client led practice model of counselling for sight loss, based on helpful aspects of therapy is proposed. The strategic benefit of research dissemination, partnerships and engagement in sector policy is considered in terms of counselling service development.
    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


    • Counselling for sight loss
    • Systematic case study research
    • Process and outcomes
    • Therapeutic tasks
    • Counselling service provision


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