Setting the scene: Why research matters

Vossler, Andreas; Moller, Naomi and Cooper, Mick (2014). Setting the scene: Why research matters. In: Vossler, Andreas and Moller, Naomi eds. The Counselling and Psychotherapy Research Handbook. Sage, pp. 3–16.



This chapter introduces the current field of research in counselling and psychotherapy. It first takes a historical perspective in describing the strong move in British psychotherapy and counselling towards ‘evidence-based’ practice. This shift is illustrated through a discussion of the focus on therapies that are evidence-based in the NICE guidelines and the NHS/IAPT context. The increasing emphasis on research in training curricula for counselling and psychotherapy programmes is considered as part of this move towards a more research-oriented profession. Turning to the importance of research in counselling and psychotherapy, the chapter secondly discusses reasons why counsellors and psychotherapists should engage with research about what they are doing, arguing for the value of research findings in challenging assumptions and beliefs about their work. Throughout, the chapter seeks to develop in trainees and practitioners a critical awareness of the political and social contexts of research.

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