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Holding the hope? Therapist and client perspectives on long COVID recovery: A Q-methodology

Burton-Fisher, William and GORDON, Kim (2024) Holding the hope? Therapist and client perspectives on long COVID recovery: A Q-methodology. British Journal of Health Psychology. ISSN 1359-107X

British J Health Psychol - 2024 - Burton‐Fisher - Holding the hope Therapist and client perspectives on long COVID.pdf - Submitted Version
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Abstract or description

Long COVID is a global health concern which has debilitating effects on the individual experiencing it. In the United Kingdom, psychological therapies are being offered to people with long COVID, although the evidence for these therapies is yet to be demonstrated. This research aimed to understand how therapists and clients define and understand recovery from long COVID, and use hope theory to interpret the results.

An online Q-methodology was employed, where participants sorted a range of statements pertaining to long COVID recovery based on their level of agreement with them. These arranged statements (Q-sorts) were collated and factor analysed to explore and compare underlying perspectives.

Sixteen participants were recruited for the study, including eleven clients, four IAPT therapists and one therapist working in the broader long COVID pathway. A four-factor model is reported, including (1) Psychological Pathways to Recovery, (2) Social Context and Agency, (3) Physiological Goals of Recovery and (4) Personal Meaning Making. All IAPT therapists loaded onto the psychological pathways factor, whereas the remaining participants shared more diverse perspectives.

The belief that long COVID recovery was possible, taken as an indicator of hopefulness, was rated highest for Factor 1, Psychological Pathways to Recovery, and Factor 3, Physiological Recovery Goals. This suggested that having a clear definition of recovery, or clear guidance on how to intervene, promoted hopefulness and, theoretically, well-being. However, clients reported experiences of being invalidated and disbelieved by health professionals, with psychological explanations sometimes being experienced as dismissive and invalidating. Clinical implications and future research directions are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Psychology and Counselling
Depositing User: Kim GORDON
Date Deposited: 23 May 2024 10:49
Last Modified: 23 May 2024 10:49

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