Help wanted from people with ME/CFS for study of their counselling experiences

March 23, 2011

We have been asked by Joan Crawford to help publicise a study she is undertaking as part of her MA in Clinical Counselling at the University of Chester. Joan would like to make contact with people with ME/CFS who have already had experience of being counselled from within the following area: south as far as Shrewsbury, west into north Wales as far as Bangor, east to Manchester, as far north as Preston and from Chester where she is based.

Description of project supplied by Joan Crawford:

Research title: The patient’s voice: an exploration of what helps or hinders patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) in the counselling process?

About the researcher: Joan Crawford is currently completing a Masters qualification (MA) in Clinical Counselling at the University of Chester.

Invitation to participate in the study and what the research entails?

There is little specific information available to counsellors regarding what is helpful and what could be a hindrance to people with ME/CFS when they seek counselling. Ideally counsellors would be able to offer help which is flexible, validating, destigmatising and take patients’ symptoms and deficits into account. To do this, counsellors need to be aware of the type of barriers people with ME/CFS face and how their condition can affect counselling.

This study aims to give individuals with ME/CFS who have had counselling the opportunity to share their experience. This research involves taking part in an approximately 1 hour long taped, private interview with myself. This will cover your experience of being counselled in the past and what you found was helpful and unhelpful about that process and where you felt it could have been improved. I’d like to point out that the interview is not about re-visiting any emotional material you worked on within the counselling relationship, it is about the whole process of counselling and how you experienced it.

We can meet at various locations which we can discuss to ensure you are comfortable and that you are able to rest afterwards should you need too.

Anonymity is important therefore during the whole project your identity will be protected by the use of a pseudonym. Once the interview has been completed, I will transcribe the contents. I will then ask you to check the transcript for accuracy and that I have understood what you were saying before I move on to the analysis. Participation is entirely voluntary. Your time and efforts are very much appreciated.

I will be arranging face to face interviews so to keep the cost of the project reasonable and to manage my own ME, I have limited the geographic area to that of roughly as far south as Shrewsbury, west into north Wales as far as Bangor, east to Manchester and as far north as Preston, from Chester where I am based.

What could I gain from taking part?

This study provides you with an opportunity to express your personal experiences and to have your voice heard. You might find that by taking part it helps you to clarify what was helpful and unhelpful in counselling and this may help you to be clearer about your future therapeutic needs.

The research will be carried out in accordance with the University of Chester’s guidelines and those of the British Psychological Society and the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy Ethical Framework for Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

If you would like to participate in this study please contact me on 01244 370988 or via e-mail at

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