Towards a research tradition in Gestalt therapy

Action research: A case of writing as inquiry

Gestalt psychotherapyResearch methodologyEnglish
Book Chapter - Paid access


The initiating questions for this stage of my life originated from a doctoral thesis written between July 2006 and March 2007 under the supervision of Professor Judi Marshall then of the Centre for Action Research in Professional Practice (CARPP) at Bath University in the UK. Initially the questions were first person ones: they concerned energy and excitement in my 50s. How can I find vitality and change in my 50s? How can first person action research help me locate the exciting questions in my life, and help me re-visit the sources of my life energy? These questions led me into other areas of inquiry concerning my experience of life. How are processes of knowing related to experience? What is it to participate in the world? The achievement of the action research thesis was to deepen and restructure the research themes as a basis for my life from 2006 to 2013. These themes illustrate and explore the double movement that developed throughout the thesis: on the one hand reaching back to my placement as a historic being in the world (returning) and on the other reaching forward to the adventure of contact with other people, ideas, etc. (adventuring). A key theme in my doctoral journey and in all my subsequent research has been attention to the paradoxical nature of life and learning. The strength of this theme can be attributed to the convergence in the thesis of my discovery of the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty with my existing Gestalt heritage.

APA citation

Farrands, R. (2016). Action research: A case of writing as inquiry. In Towards a research tradition in Gestalt therapy (pp. 290-313). Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.