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'the weight of class': clients' experiences of how perceived differences in social class between counsellor and client affect the therapeutic relationship

Balmforth, J. (2009) 'the weight of class': clients' experiences of how perceived differences in social class between counsellor and client affect the therapeutic relationship. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 37 (3). pp. 375-386.

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Abstract

The impact of a difference in social class on the therapeutic relationship has received less attention than other differences between counsellor and client, such as gender, race and sexual orientation. In this qualitative research study six clients who identified as working class were interviewed about their experience of a therapeutic relationship with a middle class counsellor and one middle class client was interviewed about a therapeutic relationship with a counsellor whom she identified as working class. Implications for counselling practice are discussed. These include the importance for therapists, supervisors and trainers of exploring their own class background and acknowledging the frame of reference from which they operate; the results show that counselling does not exist in an ideological vacuum.