Full Basket, Empty Shopper?: A grounded theory study of existential psychotherapists' experience of working with client with shopping addiction

  • Salma Siddique (External examiner)

Activity: Examination typesExternal examination


This study is a response to the growing global phenomenon of shopping addiction and the psychological, emotional, financial, and societal problems it arguably creates. It addresses an identified lack of theoretical and practice-based insights and knowledge to support therapists to work effectively with shopping addiction, particularly in the field of existential-phenomenological psychotherapy.
The study reports on how participating therapists described their ways of working with clients with shopping addiction, why they worked in these ways, and the outcomes that were created. I used a constructivist grounded theory methodology (Charmaz, 2006, 2008, 2010) embedded in an interpretivist epistemology. Eight experienced therapists who worked with clients with shopping addiction participated in semi-structured interviews, each lasting one hour. The interviews were then transcribed and analysed.
Five main categories emerged from the data analysis, within which lie thirteen sub-categories. Analysis revealed that participants used a number of ways of working that align with so-called !common factors",
the principal elements of therapy that traverse modalities and, according to research, account for much of the improvement in clients (Lambert, 1992; Hubble et al., 2003). Analysis also yielded some idiosyncratic ways of working that are specific to shopping addiction.
Period16 Dec 2021
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • Existential Psychotherapy
  • shopping addiction
  • grounded theory
  • patients