Rebecca Gray

Postgraduate Research

Graduation Year: 2013

Research Area: Living with and Treatment of Serious & Chronic Conditions

Research Topic: The dynamics of shame: navigating professional complexities when counselling in alcohol and other drug settings
Supervisors: A/Prof Christy Newman, A/Prof kylie valentine

Rebecca's research spans the fields of healthcare provision, AOD treatment models, domestic violence programs, and therapeutic relationship dynamics. She has worked on projects that aim to improve healthcare provision for people living with HIV, and prevention strategies for hepatitis C risk factors. Alongside her work at CSRH, she has worked for many years as a counsellor and group worker in a community-based setting, and is currently the Senior Research Officer at Relationships Australia NSW.

Research Summary

This qualitative study gathered the professional accounts of seventeen counsellors and other frontline workers in order to gain new understandings of the ways in which the therapeutic relationship is affected by shame in the context of alcohol and other drug (AOD) settings. Three major insights were developed through this research. The first is that shame is intimately entangled with the labelling of problematic AOD-use behaviour. The second is that shame, guilt and stigma are often conflated in AOD counselling. The third insight is that the dynamics of shame create significant workforce issues for AOD counselling professionals. This thesis outlines and discusses these dilemmas and, in doing so, contributes to what is known about counselling practice in AOD settings, especially professional perceptions and experiences of the dynamics between shame and drug use in those settings. New practice implications are articulated for counsellors working with clients around shame issues, and for the more appropriate development and navigation of practice and policy guidelines for counselling in alcohol and other drug settings.

View thesis here

Publications

Journal articles

Gray, R (in press) Contemporary Drug Problems, “Shame, labeling and stigma: barriers to counseling clients in alcohol and other drug settings” – invited paper.

Gray, R (May 2010) SELF Research Centre Biennial Conference Proceedings (UAE) Enabling Human Potential: The Centrality of Self and Identity, invited peer-reviewed article: “The self and shame: barriers to using a person-centred framework when counselling in alcohol and other drug settings”. Self Research Centre, Oxford University, United Kingdom. www.self.ox.ac.uk

Gray, R (November 2009) Psychotherapy Australia, Victoria, Australia “The Dynamics of Shame: implications for counselors working across alcohol and other drug settings.”

Gray, R (July 2009) HIV Australia Magazine, Stigma Edition, Sydney, Australia: “The Dynamics of Shame and Stigma in Alcohol and Other Drug settings.”

Conference Presentations

Gray, R, Brener, L and Treloar, C (October 2010) ANEX 2010 Australian Drugs Conference: Public Health and Harm Reduction, Melbourne Australia (invited paper): “Drug injecting practices and hepatitis risk within heterosexual relationships”

Gray, R, Brener, L and Treloar, C (September 2010) Viral Hepatitis: Seventh Australasian Conference, Melbourne Australia. Poster presentation: “Intimate injectors: towards a systemic awareness of drug injecting practice within intimate relationships”

Gray, R, Gahan, G, Brener, L and Treloar, C. (May 2010) Sixth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry Chicago USA Qualitative Inquiry for a Global Community in Crisis. Oral presentation: “Collaborating with front-line health workers in qualitative research: impact in a sensitive area.”

Gray, R. (April 2010) National Centre in HIV Social Research (UNSW) Biennale Conference Evolving Knowledge and Practice Oral presentation: “Shame, stigma and covert moralism: barriers to counseling clients in alcohol and other drug settings”

Gahan, G, Gray, R, Brener, L and Treloar, C (April 2010) National Centre in HIV Social Research (UNSW) Biennale Conference Evolving Knowledge and Practice Oral presentation: “Collaborating with frontline workers in qualitative research: impact in a sensitive area.”

Brener, L, Gray, R, Gahan, G, and Treloar, C, (November 2009) Australian Professional Society for Alcohol and other Drugs Annual Conference, Darwin, Australia. “Intimate Injectors: emerging themes from qualitative research on drug injecting practice within intimate relationships”

Gray, R, Brener, L and Treloar, C (September 2009) Needle and syringe program workers’ meeting: Rising to the Challenge, Sydney, Australia (invited paper): “Intimate Injecting: partnered drug injecting and hepatitis C risk”.

Gray, R. (July 2009) Division of Counseling Psychology Annual Conference, Warwick University, UK (Organized by the British Psychological Society) Riding the tide of change in Counseling Practice. Peer-reviewed oral presentation: “Dynamics of shame: implications for counselors working across diverse settings”

Gray, R. (July 2009) International Association of Counseling Annual Conference, UK Counseling and the Challenge of Social Transformations: Promoting Human Dignity Across the Lifespan. Oral presentations “Moralism, stigma and shame: marginalized clients caught between practice paradigms”.

Gray, R. (January 2009) SELF Research Centre Biennial Conference UAE Enabling Human Potential: The Centrality of Self and Identity. Oral presentation: “Dynamics of shame: implications for counselors working in AOD settings.”

Gray, R. (July 2008) International Association of Counseling Annual Conference, Malta Counseling: A Means for Bridging Difference. Oral presentation: “Dynamics of shame: implications for the drug and alcohol counselor when working in residential rehab.”

Gray, R. (November 2008) Australian Professional Society for Alcohol and other Drugs Annual Conference Sydney Evidence, Policy, Practice. Poster Presentation: “Dynamics of shame: implications for counselors working in AOD settings - emerging themes”

Gray, R. (March 2008) National Centre of HIV Social Research Biennial Conference Sydney The 10th Social Research Conference on HIV, HEPC and Related Diseases Everyday Lives. Oral Presentation: “The dynamics of shame: implications for drug and alcohol counselors.”