A Practical Psychoanalytic Guide to Reflexive Research : The Reverie Research Method book cover
1st Edition

A Practical Psychoanalytic Guide to Reflexive Research
The Reverie Research Method

ISBN 9781138607040
Published July 31, 2018 by Routledge
174 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

A Practical Psychoanalytic Guide to Reflexive Research offers an accessible guide to enriched qualitative research. In this novel approach, the researcher’s feelings and empathy in relation to participants take centre stage, leading to fresh, exciting and usable research findings. The psychoanalytic concept of reverie refers to those startling and unexpected images, feelings and daydreams which can come to mind as we interact with other people in the world. Qualitative research involves interacting with human subjects, and the book shows how uncanny or troubling reverie experiences can be turned to good use by being linked back to deeper research questions and hypotheses.

Joshua Holmes critically explores the role of self-reflection (reflexivity) in psychoanalysis and qualitative research. Practical guidance is offered while planning research; conducting research interviews; analysing interview data; teaching methods which foster the capacity for reverie; and in relation to research groups. Examples are given throughout, including the author’s own missteps along the way, in which he shares the importance of learning from experience. The book breathes life into research processes offering much-needed clinical relevance. The method moves away from one-size-fits all, formulaic research procedures and brings tenor, colour and texture into the research process, to create vivid, real-life meaningful findings.

A Practical Psychoanalytic Guide to Reflexive Research will be essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate qualitative researchers wishing to enhance their reflexive practice, while psychotherapists and psychoanalysts will find a genuinely psychoanalytic research method, where their clinical skills become vital capacities rather than an awkward hindrance.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction and overview

Chapter 2: Freud and the role of subjectivity in psychoanalysis

Chapter 3: Bion and beyond 

Chapter 4: Reverie, reflexivity and research interviews

Chapter 5: Reflexivity and data analysis

 Chapter 6: Towards ethical research interviewing

Chapter 7: The RRM – the emergence of a new approach in qualitative research

Chapter 8: Thomas Ogden and the RRM

Chapter 9: The RRM in live research interviewing

 Chapter 10: RRM and interview transcript analysis

Chapter 11: RRM teaching groups: 1: General

Chapter 12: RRM teaching groups 2: Data analysis

Chapter 13: Discussion and reprise

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Joshua Holmes was awarded his PhD in Psychoanalytic Studies in 2015 and now works as a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist in the NHS, while continuing to write and research. He has published papers in psychoanalytic, psychotherapy and qualitative research journals. He won the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association New Author Prize in 2015.


‘Psychology has a long history of trying to be an objective science that mimics particle physics, DNA sequencing, or whatever. Here Josh Holmes says, Hey, wait a minute, what would happen if we dropped all that mimicry? This book takes us off the predicted track, immersing us in thinking through the use of the researcher himself as the subjective instrument. Thus, it plots the convergence of ‘being a person’ with being a scientific probe. It takes us a step forward from the pseudo-solutions of behavioural and cognitive psychology, to keep us focused on that unsettled question of how we can know the human mind.’-Bob Hinshelwood, Professor Emeritus, University of Essex, UK

‘This is a very welcome addition to the growing literature on psychoanalytically informed qualitative research. This is a book packed full of useful concepts and techniques. The author writes with equal authority on research and psychoanalysis in an engaging, clear and accessible way. The use of Bion’s and Ogden’s work on reverie offers the researcher valuable new insights and approaches. It also challenges the naïve view that clinicians and qualitative researchers are different species rather than different animals within the same species of collaborative inquiry.’-Paul Hoggett, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy, University of the West of England, UK

‘In this thoughtful and absorbing work, the complex concept of reverie is examined and mined for its potential to inform psychoanalytically oriented qualitative research. The book is studded throughout with rich and illuminating examples of reverie at work and which bring the concept to life. The Reverie Research Method sits well with other contemporary multi-modal research approaches which seek ways to better capture experiential life through harnessing the imaginative, affective and meaning-making abilities of the researcher. A timely and relevant book.’-Dr Virginia Eatough, Birkbeck University of London

'For any researcher interested to discover what psychoanalysis can offer their work, this book is an essential read. It sets out the theoretical basis for a 'reverie-informed' approach to interviewing, which places subjectivity at the very heart of the research process. It is not only a practical guide to reverie-informed research, but raises fundamental questions about the role of subjective experience in our attempts to understand the human experience.' -Nick Midgley, co-director of the Child Attachment and Psychological Therapies Research Unit, UCL/Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families