Exploring the meaning in meaningful coincidences: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of synchronicity in therapy

Journal article


Roxburgh, E., Ridgway, S. and Roe, C. A. 2015. Exploring the meaning in meaningful coincidences: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of synchronicity in therapy. European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling. 17 (2), pp. 144-161.
AuthorsRoxburgh, E., Ridgway, S. and Roe, C. A.
Abstract

Synchronicity experiences (SEs) are defined as psychologically meaningful connections between inner events (e.g., thought, dream or vision) and one or more external events occurring simultaneously or at a future point in time. There has been limited systematic research that has investigated the phenomenology of SEs in therapy. This study aimed to redress this by exploring the process and nature of such experiences from the perspective of the practitioner. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA; Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009) was used to interview a purposive sample of nine practitioners who reported SEs in their therapeutic sessions. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with three counsellors, three psychologists and three psychotherapists, and focused on how participants make sense of their experiences of synchronicity in therapy. Three superordinate themes were identified: Sense of connectedness, therapeutic process, and professional issues. Findings suggest that SEs can serve to strengthen the therapeutic relationship and are perceived as useful harbingers of information about the therapeutic process, as well as being a means of overcoming communication difficulties, as they are seen to provide insights into the client’s experiencing of themselves and others, regardless of whether or not the SE is acknowledged by the client or disclosed by the therapist.

KeywordsSynchronicity experiences; Psychology; Therapy; Counselling
Year2015
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling
Journal citation17 (2), pp. 144-161
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN1364-2537
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/13642537.2015.1027784
Official URLhttps://doi.org/10.1080/13642537.2015.1027784
Related URLhttp://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/34620/
Publication dates
Online26 Jun 2015
Publication process dates
Accepted16 Feb 2015
Deposited24 Jan 2020
Accepted author manuscript
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