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interviewing in my native language etc

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008 @ 3:13 pm
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I had a research interview today with a Greek counselling psychologist in Athens who has spent two years studying and working in London before returning to set up privately in Greece. On a previous occassion, i had wondered whether the data am tapping into is at many levels unconscious in which case the dialogue in a second language around the matter might be causing certain barriers. Today i suggested that we conducted the interview in greek, as it was also more comfortable for this particlular participant, to see what happens. I am not sure if i have noticed sth different in relation to anything that relates to deeper emotional experience, as i think we didnt go that deep with this interviewee. It seems that for her it was clear that when she went to the uk she was for a specific purpose and i was thinking that sh eprobably didnt allow the host culture to intrude or ‘enter’ her that much. What i did notice is that our body language and whole mannerism was quite different than when i am conducting interviews in english. From my part, i was still using many english words when reflecting back or summarising information she was offering – am deeply aware that my counsellor and researcher personas are thinking and operating and ‘speaking’ in english…my interviewee was much more comfortable in greek and it was obvious to me that the ammount of time spent in the host culture as well as the individual attitude of each sojourner towards that experience do play a crucial role on what the culture does or doesn’t do to you

I see that there are some themes that came to the discussion and are similar to other interviews. From the top of my head, those are:

-the issue of the lack of the professionalisation of counselling and how a counsellor may be finding threats towardss their role and credentials as they move between cultures (especially when achieving professional recognition and success and qualifications in one country but moving to another where those not acknowledged)

-the impact of cross-cultural transitions seems to be deeply related to where one stands in relation to their culture and home country before moving to a host culture. For example, i see in my experience that i somehow felt i didnt belong or didnt fit in greece even before moving abroad so when i actually did, i had deeper processes going on in relation to what the experience brought up for me. Those counsellors that am interviewing who seem to have a more solid and balanced relationship with their original culture are saying that the host culture affected them in less powerful ways or even in very limited ones.

-there are issues arising around individualistic v collective attitudes in given cultural environments. there is a lot of litearture around that and i need to look at it

There are more themes that i cant remember right now without looking at the transcripts.  I notice that during interviews, the iterviewees tend to talk about their clients and their cultures etc instead of how this related to them…and i find myself struggling with turning the focus on to them. sometimes this feels uncomfortable on my part as too directive and also cause am wondering whether i kind of insist drawing data from them that may not really be relevant to their own subjective experience. i do need to sit with the transcripts, one by one and summarise the different layers for each of them. After that, i may be more of a position to see what i have really gathered

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