In Two Minds: A Heuristic Enquiry Into My Experience of Ambivalence

Lyons, Deborah Lyn
Tudor, Keith
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Master of Psychotherapy
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Auckland University of Technology

Clients presenting for psychotherapy often bring with them an ambivalent attitude towards that which is troubling them and for which they seek help to change. Psychotherapists are familiar with the concept of coming to know the individual characteristics of their clients in order to proceed with therapy. This study aims to discover the idiosyncratic nature of a personal experience of ambivalence to contribute to the literature that describes this phenomenon. In particular it re-investigates psychoanalytic ideas as a challenge to contemporary notions of the need to get rid of something that perhaps may be of value. In this context ambivalence is defined as mixed feelings towards an object. To discover the nature of a subjective experience of ambivalence, a heuristic self-search inquiry method is utilised. Findings highlight the particular features of this subject’s experience which included fear, protection, relationship, envy, destructive tendencies, guilt, grief, faith and hope as well as the transformational nature of the process of discovery. These results suggest that clients are more likely to be able to change what troubles them if the specific subjective nature of their experience is uncovered. On this basis the phenomenon of ambivalence can be viewed both as constricting and as increasing our capacity to come into being

Ambivalence , Psychotherapy , Change , Mixed feelings , Psychoanalysis , Heuristic research , Subjective experience , Impasse , Indecision , Therapy , Uncertainty , Doubt , Therap* outcomes
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