Research. 1.a. the systematic investigation into and study of materials, sources, etc, in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions. b. an endeavour to discover new or collate old facts etc by the scientific study of a subject or by a course of critical investigation. [Oxford Concise Dictionary]
When entering the field of counselling the first thing that becomes evident is how much there is written and theorised upon. A great deal of research has been carried out into counselling particularly in the last 40 years. It is interesting the dynamics of this as the relationship between the client and counsellor is a confidential safe space yet the research is in the public domain for all to see. It can be overwhelming to know where to begin in terms of looking into the reams of material and what is relevant to your work as the counsellor.
However as a counsellor you should always be learning and researching. Good research should allow the development of a better understanding of situations experienced by counsellors and clients and all others to learn from each other. Research allows the needs of the client to be heard and always assessed.
“For example, to know how the effects of therapy generally compare with those of medication can guide national policy-makers as to whether to invest in medication or psychological therapies for people with psychological problems. The emergence of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme would not have occurred without sound research as to the effectiveness of therapy as compared to medication. Similarly, on a more specific level research can tell us which types of therapy are most effective for particular types of client (e.g. children/ older people) or types of problem (e.g. anxiety/depression). This helps therapeutic services adapt themselves to meet the needs of local populations” http://www.bacp.co.uk/research/resources/index.php
It can be difficult