How do psychological practitioners construct the meaning of parental alienation: a social constructionist approach
Cast your vote
You can rate an item by clicking the amount of stars they wish to award to this item.
When enough users have cast their vote on this item, the average rating will also be shown.
Your vote was cast
Thank you for your feedback
Thank you for your feedback
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThere is growing recognition of parental alienation [PA] amongst family courts and social workers within the United Kingdom [UK]. PA primarily occurs in family custody disputes, where there is manipulation of a child by one parent against the other. This study was developed to address the complexity of the phenomenon by exploring how aware psychological practitioners are of PA, how they meaningfully construct PA, and the implications this may have for clinical practice. A qualitative approach was utilised using a social constructionist grounded theory [SCGT]. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews in two stages, with eight psychological practitioners (including one negative case analysis). Data gathering and analysis followed the grounded theory [GT] methodology. The analysis of data reflects how psychological practitioners utilised ‘Conceptual Manoeuvring’ to develop an emerging interpretation of the meaning of PA. Three key sub-processes were identified: (1) using pre-existing knowledge to open a new interpretative space; (2) co-constructing parental alienation; and (3) becoming aware. The analysis found that there are multiple ways in which participants co-constructed the meaning of PA, which had multiple implications for the consideration of psychological interventions and practice. As part of conceptually manoeuvring PA, all participants were able to recall possible cases of PA in their clinical work with individuals. However, for seven participants, their understanding of PA was initially based on assumption, due to an identified lack of self and others’ awareness. This appeared to raise uncertainty when considering relevant psychological theory and intervention for PA; but despite this, counselling approaches appeared more favourable. It was indicated by seven participants that due to the relational aspect to understanding PA, counselling approaches (such as Humanistic and Psychodynamic) appeared more favourable in comparison to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy [CBT] approaches. However, some CBT interventions (such as cognitive restructuring) were considered helpful. A negative case analysis was purposefully sought to strengthen the GT following interviews with seven participants. The negative case analysis reflected similar conceptual manoeuvring to construct PA; however, their construction of PA and consideration of therapeutic interventions provided richer insight into the phenomenon and appropriate interventions. The implications of the research appear to highlight the gap in awareness of PA among psychological practitioners within the UK, a need for defining terminology, the construct of PA, and identification of evidence-based treatment. This research has contributed towards developing awareness of PA and provides recommendations for future research.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology.
The following licence applies to the copyright and re-use of this item:
- Creative Commons
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International