Why do we need qualitative research on psychological treatments? The case for discovery, reflexivity, critique, receptivity, and evocation
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Psychotherapy researchers are increasingly using qualitative approaches to gain knowledge about the experiential, relational, and sociocultural aspects of psychological treatments. In this article, we explore and discuss five core functions of qualitative approaches within this field. They include: (a) a discovery function—to fill in knowledge gaps and challenge our pre-assumptions; (b) a reflexive function—to make ourselves more conscious about our prejudices and basic assumptions on personal, theoretical, and ideological levels; (c) a critical function—to address contextual issues of political and social injustice; (d) an emotional receptive function—to offer an emphatic listening perspective that facilitates the exploration of the emotional realities of psychotherapy; and (e) an evocative and aesthetic function—to communicate the experiential realities of psychological treatments that bring these realities to life while also providing a deeper understanding.