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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Perceived change processes in an affective systemic couples therapy James, Paul Sowden


This study was designed to discover empirically derived categories of couples change processes in an integrated affective systemic couples treatment from the couples perspective, and to refine Greenberg and Johnson's (in press) theoretical model of change processes in the light of these processes. An exploratory and descriptive technique, the critical incident technique, was used to collect critical incidents or descriptions of change events from the perspective of each partner of 21 couples who had experienced significant change in a brief affective systemic couples treatment vis a vis a wait-list control group. These incidents were then analyzed by means of a categorization methodology, the data analytic component of which is called Latent Partition Analysis (LPA). The five empirically derived categories of change processes that emerged from LPA were named (1) emotional experiencing leads to change in interpersonal perceptions, (2) the disclosure of feelings and needs, (3) understanding, (4) taking responsibility for experience, and (5) validation. Given the exploratory and descriptive nature of this study, these processes constitute an initial model that needs to be tested using appropriate methods of verification. Of the five empirically derived change processes, the first change process, which indicates that often clients report that emotional experiencing in their partners modified their perception of their partners, would seem clinically to be the most compelling. Because, unlike the other four processes, the first change process is not discussed in the literature, it would also seem to constitute the most interesting change process as possible new knowledge. Finally, an interview questionnaire, which indicates that partners perceived the expression of feelings to be important in change, lent support to the role of emotion in couples change; the five empirically derived change processes were compared with Greenberg and Johnson's (in press) theoretical model of change processes in order to produce a revised theoretical model.

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