Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

No place like home: The problem and the promise of the home psychotherapy office
by Prietto, Mario, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2015, 225; 3701780
Abstract (Summary)

This inquiry utilizes a qualitative heuristic design and methodology to explore the experience of psychotherapy in a home office setting, from the perspective of the psychotherapist. In addition to data collected through in-depth interviews with seven therapists who currently treat patients in their home offices, the study includes the experience and reflections of the primary researcher, who also practices in a home office.

By engaging with therapists who have direct knowledge of the home office, the study is privileged to share intimate perspectives of this rarely investigated phenomenon. The study explores the motivations of these therapists to establish a home practice, and presents their satisfaction and frustrations with this unique setting. The findings offer insight into ways a practitioner deals with self-disclosure, manipulates the therapeutic frame, and manages boundaries. The interviews and analysis explore different ways the setting — both natural and constructed — impacts the work. Participants in the study express confidence that working in a home office serves their patients well, matches their own strengths and personality, and is aligned with their theoretical beliefs about psychotherapy.

Deepening the research of home office practice beyond a study of setting and situation, the research reaches towards the symbolic in several ways. The primary researcher works with two dreams a patient shared about the home office. The literature review and data analysis includes reflections on the concrete and symbolic roles home plays in culture, in psychotherapeutic work, and in the personal life of the practitioner. Utilizing the ancient Greek goddess Hestia, the goddess of the hearth, the research employs a depth psychology insight into how the physical setting and psychological focusing combine to create a temenos.

The home office setting will continue to be an ideal setting for some practitioners for whom it makes practical sense. The implications of this study for the practice of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis point towards the importance for all practitioners to consider their conscious and unconscious motivations to practice in a particular setting, and how these choices affect their patients, the people they live with, and their own development.

Key words: home, home office, psychotherapy, setting, Hestia.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Katsky, Patricia
Commitee: Leap, Jorja, Miller, Barry
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Depth Psychotherapy
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 76/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Counseling Psychology, Psychology
Keywords: Hestia, Home, Home office, Psychotherapy, Setting
Publication Number: 3701780
ISBN: 978-1-321-72656-5
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