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'You look like them': Drawing on counselling theory and practice to reflexively negotiate cultural difference in research relationships

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    Rights statement: (c)The Author(s) 2016. This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/834/art%253A10.1007%252Fs10447-016-9277-4.pdf?originUrl=http%3A%2F%2Flink.springer.com%2Farticle%2F10.1007%2Fs10447-016-9277-4&token2=exp=1478006666~acl=%2Fstatic%2Fpdf%2F834%2Fart%25253A10.1007%25252Fs10447-016-9277-4.pdf%3ForiginUrl%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Flink.springer.com%252Farticle%252F10.1007%252Fs10447-016-9277-4*~hmac=531bc7bcbb8b95c79c549eb15d059a9b8935df952b084b258067f9a1f076d24e

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-368
JournalInternational Journal for the Advancement of Counselling
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2016


Located within a context of intercultural counselling research, this paper highlights the pertinence of the researcher’s reflexivity and cultural awareness in relation to research relationships. It draws on an excerpt between a white European interviewer and an Asian trainee counsellor discussing the latter’s experience of intercultural counselling practice. A reflexive analysis of a short passage aims to demonstrate how explicit negotiation of cultural difference within the interview setting advanced the researcher’s understanding of the participant’s experience, which was being investigated. The interrelated challenges, but also the importance of the interviewer’s preparedness to explore power imbalances in the research relationship are also examined, as are some key limitations of such endeavours. This paper underlines the usefulness of counselling skills in qualitative research, hoping to function as an invitation for more practitioner involvement in therapeutic inquiry.

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