UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Clients' experience of counselling that integrates yoga : a phenomenological inquiry Beveridge, Samantha


Yoga is a mind-body practice that is widely practiced in North America and has demonstrated physical, mental, and emotional benefits, many of which overlap with the benefits of counselling and psychotherapy. Yoga postures, philosophy, breathing, and meditative practices have begun to be used within the counselling paradigm. However, little research has been done on the use and integration of yoga in counselling. This study explored the experience of clients who engaged in counselling that included yoga. Descriptive phenomenology was used to gain a rich understanding of the common essential features of the phenomenon from the participants’ descriptions of their lived experience. Participants included six clients of counselling that integrated yoga (i.e., the use and inclusion of mindful awareness, breath, and bodywork with verbal processing). In-depth interviews and two follow-up member checks were conducted with each participant. Essential themes that emerged include: (1) yoga components: breath, bodywork, body awareness, and mindfulness; (2) counselling component: curious, nonjudgmental verbal processing; (3) integration and transition between components; (4) yoga facilitates processing and regulation; (5) counsellor qualities matter; and (6) this therapy as a whole person, whole life approach. This study contributes to the understanding of this holistic psychotherapy from the client perspective, which gives clients, counsellors, and researchers greater insight and awareness into this emerging integrative practice. Implications for future research and practice in counselling psychology are discussed.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada