Professionellt gränsarbete en jämförande studie om socionomer och psykologer som legitimerade familjeterapeuter
The purpose of this comparative study is to investigate how certified family therapeuts, with base professions psychologist and social counsellor respectively, construct boundaries through language. The study aims to demonstrate and analyse how the two professions present each other, through similarities and differences. For the purpose of definition and elucidation, the study comprises five main themes (see Appendix). The first theme is concerned with motives for choosing a professional career in family therapy. The second theme investigates conceptions of the professional role, while the third theme looks at professional practise and the implications of family therapy work. The fourth theme focuses on the significance of professional qualification, and the fifth theme investigates how certified family therapists regard non-certified family therapists. The theoretical frame of reference for the study is professional boundary working, where professions are conceptualized as landscapes. Central concepts are fields, territories and domains, and the most significant concept is boundaries. The profession is conceptualized as a territory controlled by a number of boundaries against adjacent territories. Within this scientific tradition, boundary working is an important concept, and indicates that different professional groups actively construct and deconstruct boundaries, partly in order to achieve control, i.e. jurisdiction, over a professional sphere. There are two versions of the landscape metaphor. The map version of the landscape metaphor emphasizes the mental, cognitive and symbolic processes that are involved in the claiming of a particular professional practice. This study uses the map metaphor as a symbolic boundary concept. The informants are certified family therapists; four with base profession psychologist and four with base profession social counsellor. Seven are females and one is male, and their age range from 40 to 65. Together they represent social service, education, child psychiatry, adult psychiatry and public health. The analytical approach of the study is abduction, where theory interacts with empirical knowledge. The study was carried out as semi-structured interviews, and the interview material was processed and analysed by qualitative content analysis. The interpretation of the material was confirmed and heightened by significant statements from the informants. The results are presented in five categories, under headings drawn from concepts from the interview material that clearly points out contrasts, differences or boundary constructions between the professions. The results show that both professions strive for jurisdiction, i.e. to gain and retain control over sphere of activity or domain. Central boundary working is demonstrated between two professions, where psychologists are deconstructing their boundaries towards the medical profession, primarily with regard to knowledge and education, but also specializing and research. Similarly, social counsellors are deconstructing their boundaries towards psychologists, e.g. as regards therapeutic treatment and striving for professional certification. It is interesting to note that both professions lay claims to a holistic approach, and particularly evident is the psychologists boundary constructions towards the social counsellors by respect. The conclusion is that society today is marked by an increased degree of specialization, which will have various implications for educators, students, psychologists, doctors and social counsellors working in sphere where a high degree of professional competence is essential. Evaluations have demonstrated extensive quality problems in psychotherapy training. A new type of psychotherapy training, with new educational goals and requirements for certification, has therefore been propounded.