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Evaluation of counsellor training in Gestalt methods Sarkissian, Margaret Greig


This study evaluated the effectiveness of a Gestalt training group designed to train counsellors in the influencing skills of Gestalt therapy. The study involved eleven experimental group counsellors, a matched control group and four coached clients. A pre-test post-test research design was used. Counsellors in both groups were tested for similarity at pre-treatment levels. The dependent variables being examined were counsellor response to a split: actual use of the influencing skills of direct guidance, open question and non-verbal referent: intended use of the influencing skills of direct guidance, open question and non-verbal referent; and degree of personal growth goal attainment. Post-test measures were used as an indication of the effectiveness of the treatment. In the pre-test, each counsellor had a counselling session with a client coached to present a conflict split. The Wilcoxon Matched-Pairs Signed Ranks test of significance was used to analyze the counsellor response to a split and intended use of influencing skills. The dependent t-test was used to measure actual use of influencing skills. At the end of the training experience a Chi square test of independence was used to compare both groups on their degree of personal growth goal attainment. A Chi square goodness of fit was used to measure the experimental group on their degree of training goal attainment. Results indicated that the experimental group counsellors responded to a split with the Gestalt two-chair operation significantly more than did the control group. The experimental group used significantly more of the influencing skills of direct guidance and open question. In addition, they reported that they intended to use non-verbal referent significantly more than the control group. In the degree of attainment of personal growth goals the two groups were not shown to be different. The experimental group was found to have achieved their training goals. In summary, it appears that this Gestalt training group was successful in training counsellors in influencing skills.

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