Social capital and psychotherapy: a review of data collection methods for investigating social and cultural resources used by clients

Julia McLeod*, John McLeod*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther

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Background and introduction: Although it is widely acknowledged that "extra therapeutic" factors make a major contribution to therapy outcome, there have been few attempts to conceptualise this dimension of therapy, or develop methods for investigating it. Among the perspectives that are relevant to understanding tis phenomenon can be included: cultural resources, strengths, life events, social support, and social capital. Further attention to these domains may have the potential to enhance the social relevance and effectiveness of therapy.

Nature of the methodological innovation/critique being proposed: The present paper offers a brief overview of approaches to conceptualising social capital and allied constructs, before presenting a review of methods that could be used in research on the role of social capital (and related factors) in therapy. The review identifies a number of questionnaires/rating scales and interview schedules that have been used in research in allied disciplines, such as mental health and health education, and discusses their relevance for use in studies of counselling and psychotherapy. The paper concludes with recommendations regarding research instruments likely to be most suitable for research in counselling and psychotherapy, and suggests some research questions that might be explored using these techniques.

Conclusion and relevance to counselling and psychotherapy research practice: Inclusion in studies of measures of social capital can enhance the perceived credibility of research into the effectiveness of therapy, by demonstrating that the research community has paid serious attention to the possible influence of social factors on therapy outcomes. This line of research also provides ways to incorporate social justice values in therapy research, and to promote inter-professional collaboration.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2016
Event22nd Annual BACP Research Conference: Research matters: evidence for an evolving profession - Holiday Inn Brighton Seafront, Brighton, United Kingdom
Duration: 20 May 201621 May 2016
Conference number: 22nd


Conference22nd Annual BACP Research Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Client strengths
  • Cultural resources
  • Interviews
  • Scales
  • Social capital


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