Christopher Tovey MEd., BA (Hons) Person-Centred Counselling & Psychotherapy, CQSW
I am an independent counsellor and coach in private practice with fifty years of previous experience and professional development in care work, including advanced qualifications in continuing education, social work and psychotherapy. I am also a Registered Member of the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy. I have been practising person-centred existential therapy for the last ten years. During the last three years I have had 8 articles published in counselling and psychotherapy journals about my developing existential approach to therapy. I am increasingly influenced by the work of Viktor Frankl in focusing on the importance of finding meaning and purpose in life.
In January 2019, at the age of 70, I began a full-time, 4 year research PhD at Warwick University, Centre for Lifelong Learning. My ongoing project is a qualitative narrative inquiry exploring the perspectives and personal stories of counselling service users aged 65 upwards. I am interviewing volunteer research participants to discover how people in later-life describe the experiences of change and transition which led to their request for consultation and how they evaluate their counselling processes and outcomes.
I am passionate about making a positive difference to the psychological wellbeing, and continued learning and development, of people in later life. My PhD research so far has indicated there is an urgent need to shift attention from individual pathology to social contexts. I am exploring structural issues such as inequality, poverty, discrimination, racism, ageism, marginalisation and exclusion as potential significant causal factors in the increase in diagnosed mental health problems in society today.
Recent research reports by the ‘Centre for Ageing Better’ have indicated that ageism, and the negative stereotyping of older people, is deeply damaging and is often not taken as seriously as other forms of prejudice or discrimination. My research contends that a fundamental culture shift is required to overturn these attitudes, and the media needs to reflect the diverse experiences of people in later life, as illustrated by my ongoing, and genuinely inspiring, narrative inquiry at Warwick University Centre for Lifelong Learning.
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