Qualitative Research Methods in Mental Health andPsychotherapy - A Guide for Students andPractitioners
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More About This Title Qualitative Research Methods in Mental Health andPsychotherapy - A Guide for Students andPractitioners


This book provides a user-friendly introduction to the qualitative methods most commonly used in the mental health and psychotherapy arena.
  • Chapters are written by leading researchers and the editors are experienced qualitative researchers, clinical trainers, and mental health practitioners
  • Provides chapter-by-chapter guidance on conducting a qualitative study from across a range of approaches
  • Offers guidance on how to review and appraise existing qualitative literature, how to choose the most appropriate method, and how to consider ethical issues
  • Demonstrates how specific methods have been applied to questions in mental health research
  • Uses examples drawn from recent research, including research with service users, in mental health practice and in psychotherapy


David Harper is Reader in Clinical Psychology at the University of East London. He is co-author of Deconstructing Psychopathology (1995) and Psychology & Mental Health: From Disorder to Experience(2011). His research focuses on critical psychology and social constructionist approaches in mental health.

Andrew R. Thompson is Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology and Director of Research Training, at the NHS Clinical Psychology Training Unit, University of Sheffield. He is also Clinical Health Psychologist at the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust and a practitioner of Cognitive Analytic Therapy


About the Contributors.


PART I Getting Started.

1 Introduction (Andrew R. Thompson and David Harper).

2 Identifying and Synthesizing Qualitative Literature (Rachel L. Shaw).

3 Ethical Issues in Qualitative Mental Health Research (Andrew R. Thompson and Eleni Chambers).

4 Participation and Service User Involvement (Alison Faulkner).

5 Qualitative Data Collection: Asking the Right Questions (Hannah Frith and Kate Gleeson).

6 Qualitative Methods for Studying Psychotherapy Change Processes (Robert Elliott).

7 Choosing a Qualitative Research Method (David Harper).

PART II Methods.

8 Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis in Mental Health and Psychotherapy Research (Michael Larkin and Andrew R. Thompson).

9 Existentialist-Informed Hermeneutic Phenomenology (Carla Willig and Abigail Billin).

10 Grounded Theory Methods for Mental Health Practitioners (Alison Tweed and Kathy Charmaz).

11 Discourse Analysis (Eugenie Georgaca and Evrinomy Avdi).

12 Narrative Psychology (Michael Murray and Sally Sargeant).

13 Ethnomethodology/Conversation Analysis (Mark Rapley).

14 Q Methodological Research in Mental Health and Psychotherapy (Wendy Stainton Rogers and Phillip O. Dyson).

15 Thematic Analysis (Helene Joffe).

PART III Establishing Good Quality Qualitative Research in Mental Health.

16 In Pursuit of Quality (Liz Spencer and Jane Ritchie).

17 Emerging Issues and Future Directions (David Harper and Andrew R. Thompson).



“In a field that at times feels dominated by obfuscating jargon and a cult-like zeal, the editors have produced an accessible, illuminating text that will be of great value to those wishing to gain an introduction to this essential and developing area of mental health research.”  (The British Journal of Psychiatry, 1 May 2012)

"David Harper and Andrew Thompson’s book Qualitative Research Methods in Mental Health and Psychotherapy provides a reference for students and practitioners who are using qualitative research to explore topics related to mental health. The book provides a rich and comprehensive text, with contributions from specialized authors on a number of key themes and research methods relevant to qualitative research. Despite being specifically aimed at those researching mental health issues, this text would be useful for any student or practitioner who wishes to get to grips with ‘big q research’..." (Feminism and Psychology, 2013)

“Since receiving this book for review, I have found myself repeatedly recommending it to fellow doctoral researchers  from a range of professional backgrounds, at all stages of candidature. I do so because, in my opinion, this book addresses, in an accessible, clear, yet thorough manner, the issues which all students and practitioner-researchers face in aspiring to produce high quality, creative, qualitative research in mental health and psychotherapy.” (QMiP Bulletin Issue 15, Spring 2013)


To the urgent questions facing researchers looking for methods that are respectful of the diversity of experience of mental health and ethical practice in psychotherapy, Harper and Thompson respond with a series of different answers that are equally diverse and embedded in a vision of what can be done to take academic and professional work in the area forward. This book provides clearly written qualitative accounts of the research process, and will serve as a benchmark against which future developments in the field will be measured.
Ian Parker, Professor of Psychology, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

I really enjoyed reading this book! It is a very welcome addition to the growing interest in applied and applicable qualitative research in mental health practice. It is authored by a group of practitioners who collectively are at the forefront of promoting research grounded in practice, which celebrates the skills and knowledge of the practitioner, and looks to find a good fit between research questions and design and the needs of mental health practitioners and the communities they serve. The book emphasises participatory research in which service users and carers are involved and consulted at all stages. It is accessible, easy to navigate and, importantly, focuses on do-able research in mental health settings.
Arlele Vetere, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Surrey, UK