“Glimmers of hope and little pockets of opportunity”
: A grounded theory study exploring the process of perspective change during educational psychology consultation meetings.

  • Holly Lynn L Bruce

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Educational Psychology (DEdPsy)


Consultation is a widely used approach within educational psychology service delivery across the UK. Consultation seeks to promote perspective change and facilitate a shift in relational dynamics at a systemic level for the benefit of the child or young person (Wagner, 2000). Although much is known about the factors which constitute consultation meetings, there is limited evidence about how perspective change actually occurs (Nolan & Moreland,
2014). This thesis offers a theoretical framework explaining the process of perspective change during educational psychology consultation (EPC) meetings.This study investigated the perspectives of educational psychologists (EPs) reflecting on their experience of noticing perspective change and relational dynamics during consultation meetings. This study was carried out in one educational psychology service from a semi-rural local authority in the South-West of England. Seven fully qualified and practicing EPs were interviewed, all of whom had a wide range of experience within the profession. The data collection was completed in two phases in line with grounded theory methodology, with phase two offering an opportunity to target questioning to facilitate data saturation
(Charmaz, 2014).

The results indicate that the extent to which consultees experience openness through three factors relates to the likelihood that perspective change will occur: sense of psychological safety, sense of responsibility and sense of agency. Three socio-political mechanisms were identified that negatively impact consultee openness: feeling undervalued, a culture of blame, and bureaucracy. EPs facilitate change during consultation meetings by offering a therapeutic space, challenging narratives, and helping consultees to break down barriers. The results from this study offer insight into the generative mechanisms affecting consultee openness and how change can be facilitated (Oliver, 2012). These findings are intended to be useful to EP practitioners both in-training and for reflective practice to maximise positive change for the benefit of children and young people.
Date of Award2 Dec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorRob Green (Supervisor) & Jon P Symonds (Supervisor)

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