Ferris, Stephen Paul (2018) Finding myself: a lonely separation in childhood and the pain of being lonely all alone. A heuristic inquiry into my experience of loneliness. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

In this study, I explore my personal experience of loneliness. I am seeking to uncover and make sense of this experience for my personal growth as well as to inform my professional work as a counsellor. I also want to make an original contribution to the counselling literature about loneliness where it seems to receive little or no attention. The central research question for me is—What is my experience of loneliness? I chose a qualitative research method—Heuristic Inquiry—to explore this question. Clark Moustakas (1990) formulated this research method and applied it to his experience of loneliness. As both the researcher and the only participant in this inquiry, I was able to penetrate my own personal experience of loneliness to increasingly greater levels of depth and meaning. The data, thus generated, was analysed through repeated and rigorous engagement with the heuristic analytic processes. Two major findings emerged from this inquiry. The first, the fear-of-being-me, constitutes the essence of my own experience of loneliness. The second, the joy-of-self-acceptance, gives rise to loveliness, the antithesis of loneliness. This inquiry suggests the need to rethink the frame around loneliness formed by two prevalent discourses in the psychological literature. One views loneliness not as a problem in itself but as largely a symptom of other issues. Another view describes loneliness as an insufficiency in the quality and/or the quantity of an individual’s social relations. This study reveals that loneliness itself can be the primary problem. Furthermore, loneliness can also describe a problem in an individual’s internal relationships requiring attention. The findings of this inquiry can help to support and inform counsellors and other health-care workers in their professional work with clients and patients who experience loneliness.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2018 09:04
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2018 09:04
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/5589

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