Theme Of Alienation

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There was a strong underlying theme of alienation which surfaced in many guises.
All participants reported feelings of difference and separateness from others on their training courses; these feelings of difference led to the participants feeling alienated. There was a sense that there were rules they were not aware of; ‘out of my depth’ and ‘like I was in a completely different culture’. For one participant this difference felt humiliating: ‘I really had my nose rubbed in it’.
Participants felt that lack of money alienated them from their training and their peers; ‘it’s already a subject that prices out the working class’. They felt they could not ‘fully participate’ and that extra support costs money
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The higher up the social class the more money and time was available therefore making training less arduous for these classes. One participant had been told she would never make any money as it was a ‘middle class hobby’.
Some participants felt their training courses dismissed the working classes with their attitudes ‘those people who can’t afford to pay for it have to suffer…and that’s the difference between them and us’.
Rebellion vs Conforming
There was a strong sense of the participants initially challenging the rules ‘there was the fight’ and ‘I swear a lot and I don’t care but it’s a taboo with these nice ladies’. Also not wanting to conform ‘I’m not changing who I am’. Most participants felt they could not be their authentic selves and fit in at the same time ‘if I had been more canny and really shut up’ and ‘had I played adapted child’.
There also seemed a sense that this rebellion and dismissal of others was covering up what they really wanted, to be accepted; ‘if you perform according to the rules…they were nurtured and pushed through’ and ‘I wonder how much I needed to conform, to be loved, to be accepted to erm not fight so much’.
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One participant felt ‘inadequate, a lacking, there’s a lacking there’.
Participants felt they struggled more than their middle-class peers ‘a struggle, constant struggle to be in the world, to be accepted by others from different classes’. Another participant felt her lack of early educational opportunity and family background made achievement and success harder for her: ‘I feel like I’ve got, got this kind of shadowy emptiness that I’m building something on’.
Most participants expressed a determination to succeed in their chosen career despite their struggles ‘yeah bollocks to that, I’m gonna make this work’. It appeared most participants felt their class was a barrier to them becoming therapists that needed to be overcome; ‘because I’m a fighter…I’m fulfilling that decision, I’m not allowing a working class bias stop me’ and ‘I am working class and it’s just like fuck you, I will be a therapist’. There was a sense of resilience and tenacity that the participants would not give up, they would keep ‘pushing through’.

Them and Us

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