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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Process analysis of critical versus noncritical events in therapy related to the client’s depth of experiencing McCrea, Muriel


This research study involved the process analysis of change events that occurred during the therapy session which the client perceived as Having significant impact- The events surrounding a "critical" moment were compared with events of a "noncritical" moment. The behavioural components of particular interest were the client's depth of experiencing, vocal quality and levels of silence. Study was also directed at the client's evaluation of the therapist's helpfulness before and after a critical event. Twelve 3-minute "critical" episodes in therapy were compared with twelve 3-minute "noncritical" episodes. The client's behaviour was measured under both conditions using the Experiencing Scale, Vocal Quality Classification System and the Speech Interaction System. The client's assessment of the therapist's helpfulness before and after a critical moment was measured on the Helpfulness Scale. Using a dependent t-test, significant differences were found in the client's depth of experiencing and speaking pauses during a "critical" versus a "noncritical" episode. A Chi square test on vocal quality produced a significantly higher level of focused/emotional client responses under the "critical" condition. A dependent t-test of the helpfulness ratings of therapeutic interventions indicated a significant difference in the client's perception of helpfulness before the "critical" focal event than after the event. The nature of the change process was discussed from the perspectives of the client and the therapist. These findings support the contention that the depth of client experiencing is a key component in the process of change and that internal focusing, an increase in client affect and a reduction of client dialogue accompany profound experiencing.

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