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The differential effects of empathic reflection and the Gestalt empty-chair dialogue on depth of experiencing when used with an issue of unfinished business Maslove, Vera Joyce


The purpose of this study was to compare the differential effects of two counselling interventions (empathic reflection and the Gestalt empty-chair dialogue on client process (as measured by the Experiencing Scale) when used with a client issue of unfinished business. The population consisted of 28 subjects drawn from graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in a counselling course at a major university. Subjects were randomly assigned to the empathic reflection condition or to the Gestalt empty-chair dialogue condition. The empathy scale of the Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventory (RI) was administered to subjects to assess their perceived therapist's empathy. The process measure the Experiencing Scale was used to measure the in-session differential effects of the two counselling interventions. The study showed that the Gestalt empty-chair dialogue condition produced significantly higher levels of experiencing than the empathic reflection condition. The results suggest that the Gestalt empty-chair dialogue in the context of an empathic reflationship may make a contribution to the treatment of unfinished business.

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