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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The resolution of decisional conflict : relating process to outcome Webster, Michael Charles


Thirty-one clients completed a brief psychotherapy program aimed at resolving intrapsychic conflict related to the making of a decision. The clients completed a group induction session prior to therapy where they were introduced to the Gestalt conception of intrapsychic conflict as opposition between two aspects of the personality, to the two chair operation, and were given the pre-experimental measures. The clients then attended therapy sessions once a week for a maximum of six sessions. If they resolved their conflicts before the sixth session they were required to return one week and one month following the resolution session for a brief termination and follow-up interview at which time they completed the termination and follow-up measures. If the clients did not resolve their conflicts before the sixth session, they terminated at the completion of the sixth session, completed the questionnaires and returned one month later for follow-up. The thirty-one clients were then separated into two groups, resolvers and nonresolvers, based on a pattern of rated process indicators. The resolvers were identified as those clients who had manifested the three critical components of Greenberg's (1980a) proposed model of intrapsychic conflict resolution. The three critical components necessary for resolution were the expression of criticism toward the experiencing aspect of the personality (the organism in Rogers' (1959) terms), the expression of feelings and wants from the organism and a subsequent softening in attitude by the critic ("self in Rogers' (1959) terms) toward the organism. The critical component of criticism was measured by the Voice Quality System (Rice, Koke, Greenberg, & Wagstaff, 1979) and the Structural Analysis of Social Behavior (Benjamin, 1974). Felt wants were measured by the Experiencing Scale (Klein, Mathieu, Keisler, & Gendlin, 1969), Benjamin's system, and voice. The softening of the "critical self" was measured by the occurrence of affiliative behaviors on Benjamin's system, focused voice on Rice's system and a level four or above on Klein's system. Nonresolvers were defined as all those clients who completed six sessions and did not exhibit the preceding critical components. This process analysis produced thirteen resolvers and eighteen nonresolvers. Pre-experimental and post-experimental outcome measures were taken on an adapted version of Osipow's Scale of Educational and Vocational Indecision (Osipow, Carney, & Barak, 1976), Spielberger1s A-State (State Anxiety) (Spielberger, Gorsuch, & Lushene, 1970), Target Complaints (Battle, Imber, Hoehn-Saric, Stone, Nash, & Frank, 1966), and a report of behavior change. Pre-session and post-session measures also were taken on the effects of the critical session (session .resolvers) on sense of conflict resolution, Target Complaint Discomfort Box Scale (Battle et al., 1966) and the scales of self acceptance, integration and power from Epstein's (1979) Prevailing Mood Scale. The effects of the critical session on attainment of a goal set at the end of the critical session, and on attitude change and Epstein's measures were also examined over one and four week periods. Two-way repeated measure analyses of variance were used to analyze the pretest posttest data that satisfied the homogeneity of variance conditions for this test. A Wilcoxon rank sum test was used for the remaining data. Statistically significant differences at the .05 level were found between resolvers and nonresolvers on indecision and state anxiety. Simple comparisons revealed that the groups were significantly different at both termination and follow-up on indecision and at follow-up on anxiety. An inspection of the means revealed that the resolvers were less undecided and less state anxious. Statistically significant differences at the .05 level were also found on target complaints and reported behavior change at termination and follow-up. An inspection of the means revealed that resolvers had improved and changed behavior more than nonresolvers. With regard to the critical session measures, the resolvers and nonresolvers were significantly different on sense of conflict resolution, target complaints discomfort, self acceptance, integration, and feelings of power. The prolonged effects of the critical session yielded significant differences between resolvers and nonresolvers on self acceptance, integration, feelings of power, goal attainment, and attitude change. An inspection of the means revealed that the resolvers had made greater gains on all these measures.

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