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The Therapist Experiential Session Form:
Toward a Taxonomy of Process-Experiential Therapy Sessions

Robert Elliott
University of Toledo

Summary of Paper Presented at meetings of Society for Psychotherapy Research, Weimar, Germany, June, 2003; and World Association for Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy, Egmond aan Zee, Netherlands, July, 2003.

Purposes

1. Present the Therapist Experiential Session Form (TESF; Elliott, 1994)

2. Describe the application of this measure for developing a taxonomy of general types of Process-Experiential Therapy session.

Summary of Measure

Therapist Experiential Session Form (TESF-1994)

TESF-1994 Quantitative Scales

(1) Overall Session Helpfulness: Elliott, 1985; 9-point scale

(2) Client Initial Experiences: measures Stilesí concept of client resources (focus, motivation, attitude toward therapy; 8 items; 5-point intensity scales)

(3) Treatment Principles: 6 items, rated for presence (5-point); and quality (7-point)

(4) Therapeutic Tasks: 9 PE tasks, rated for presence (5-point), quality (7-point) and task resolution (6-point behaviorally anchored)

(5) Therapist experiential response modes (14 items, 5-point frequency)

(6) Nonexperiential Intervention (6 items, 5-point presence)

Method

Sample

Cluster Analysis

Results

Constructing Descriptors

Factor Indicators Used in Cluster Analysis - 1

Factor No. Items alpha
Client Initial Experiences:
Client ready, focused, motivated 6 .87
Client likes kind of tx 2 .68
Treatment Principles 12 .91
Response Modes:
Empathic Exploration 3 .73
Process Guiding 2 .76
Deepening 4 .74
Nonexperiential 7 .80

Cluster Indicators - 2

Factor No. Items alpha
PE Tasks:    
Empathic Exploration 2 .93
Unfolding 2 .93
Focusing 2 .92
Empathic Affirmation 2 .90
Meaning Creation 2 .90
Two Chair/Conflict 2 .90
Chair Enactment 2 .84
Empty Chair 2 .87
Relation Dialogue 2 .88

Cluster Analysis

Method:

 

PE Session Types

(5+1 Cluster Solution):

Name Description N
1. Explor-atory Work Client, therapist working but without active PE tasks 105
2. Client Ahead of Therapist Client engaged, ready to work, but therapist not 163
3. Mixed Exploration Client ambivalent about therapy; therapist using active responses but without PE tasks 89
4. High PE Work Both client, therapist engaged in PE work 70
5. Residual Therapist working hard to connect with an unengaged client 136
6. Low PE Work Neither client nor therapist engaged in PE work 126

Note: Categories ranked by session outcome

Session Outcome Correlates

of PE Session Types

Category PQ Prev. Week PQ chng Ther Sess Help Clnt Sess Effective Clnt Helpful Rx Clnt WAI
1. Explore Work

-.15*

.01

.31*

+

.08

.11*

+

.14*

+

2. Client Ahead

-.10*

.09

.00

.13*

+

.19*

+

.21*

+

3. Mixed Explore

-.09

.03

-.15*

-

.15*

+

.11*

+

-.05

4. High PE

.16*

.00

.20*

+

-.15*

-

-.14*

-

-.05

5. Resid-ual

.21*

-.07

.00

-.16*

-

-.18*

-

-.18*

-

6. Low PE

-.03

-.05

-.32*

-

-.06

-.12*

-

-.10*

-

Note: +, - indicate direction of significant correlation

Discussion

Uses of Therapist Experiential Session Form

Taxonomy of PE Sessions

More Productive Session Types:

Less Productive Session Types:

Some Clinical Implications: