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 Mary Lister

Mary Lister

PhD student


  • analytical psychotherapist
  • dreams,
  • Jung,
  • kleinian thought,
  • narcisism



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Research projects

Project Title: A study of the Interface between psychoanalytic and other orientations of therapy and counselling in a low cost scheme.

Supervisors: Dr Jean Knox and Dr Janet Smithson

Funding Body: Colliton Street Psychotherapy Services

Project Description:

The Aim
The Dorchester Trust for Counselling and Psychotherapy is a low cost scheme which offers counselling and psychotherapy on a once a week basis for up to two years.  Although the management team is predominantly psychoanalytic by training and orientation, many of the practitioners who work for the scheme come from different theoretical trainings.  The research plan is to find out the DTCP practitioners’ views of the importance of three psychoanalytic tenets, namely the therapeutic alliance, transference and containment and the relevance of these tenets to their practice.

In an organization where the hierarchy is predominantly psychoanalytic and many of the practitioners have had different trainings, what currently tends to happen is a psychoanalytic influence from the top down with mentor input and training days.  The option proposed is to study from the ground force up the nature of this interface between the theoretical approaches at DTCP.  The DTCP’s personnel’s experience, views and attitudes towards certain tenets of psychoanalytic theory will be recorded in focus groups. 

The intention is to hold these focus groups with the groups that already exist within DTCP i.e. the trustees, the management team and the mentor groups. It is proposed to tape the discussion and my colleague will be present to assist me and to give an additional account of the discussion. The contents will be anonymised and stored in a secure place away from DTCP’s premises.  Any references to client material should be anonymised in the usual way that clinical discussions occur within the DTCP.

There are no hidden agendas and no right or wrong answers.  In order to allow for the possible bias caused by the Clinical Director being the researcher and moderator of the focus groups, each practitioner will also be asked to complete anonymously a Q-sort questionnaire.  This will involve one meeting with our administrator, Davina Taylor, to complete the questionnaire on a one to one basis.  The Q-sort is a tool that has been adapted by Professor Roth, (Roth, 2014), at University College London to rate therapists’ preferences for the various competences for the different therapy modalities.

Roth, A.D. (2014). Are competence frameworks fit for practice? Examining the validity of competence frameworks for CBT, psychodynamic and humanistic therapies. Psychotherapy Research 16 April pp1-13


The Multiple Role of Dreams in Analysis.  British Association of Psychotherapists’ journal 1990
Revenge through a looking glass. British Journal of Psychotherapy August 2014

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