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Evelyn Millings

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Counselling Psychology Quarterly Vol. 23, No. 1, March 2010, 35–43 RESEARCH REPORT The role and influence of the father on his ‘child’ in biological and non-biological relationships. Part one: Literature overview and an interpretative phenomenological analysis study Evelyn Millings* Strathaven Medical Centre, Strathaven Health Centre, The Ward, Strathaven, Scotland, UK (Received February 2008; final version received November 2008) Psychoanalytic literature views the mother as the prime caregiver and the most influential parent due to biological and evolutionary factors. This research aimed to explore the role, influence and effects of the father in the child-rearing process and to determine whether that role is largely positive or negative. The method was qualitative and six participants, three men and three women were recruited for the study with case notes of a further two individuals also utilised. Results were reviewed through Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. This yielded negative paternal behaviour in all eight analyses. Positive influences were sparse and sporadic. A large number of emergent themes were subdivided into twelve master themes which included issues of control, the ‘bad father’ and ‘mother’s role’. Six recurrent themes derived from the material, the main one being ‘the powerless child’. The aims of the research were achieved but it would have better fulfilled the title if the sample was less skewed in the negative direction. Key ...
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