The Outcomes of Counseling and Psychotherapy

The Outcomes of Counseling and Psychotherapy: Theory and Research

THEODORE VOLSKY
THOMAS M. MAGOON
WARREN T. NORMAN
DONALD P. HOYT
Volume: 8
Copyright Date: 1965
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.cttts8gh
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  • Book Info
    The Outcomes of Counseling and Psychotherapy
    Book Description:

    How is the future behavior of a client or patient affected by counseling, casework, or psychotherapy? What fundamental personality changes, if any, can be attributed to such treatment? What does the counselor do that determines the outcome of his efforts? This volume deals with questions like these, questions which concern not only psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and other counselors, but also the communities, institutions, and agencies which support their work. The report presented here is based n the findings of a ten-year project conducted at the University of Minnesota Student Counseling Bureau to assess the results of its counseling program. Since the early days of counseling at Minnesota, many studies, in a research program extending over a period of thirty years, have attempted to determine the effectiveness of counseling. In continuing these studies, the present authors have applied current statistical methods to contemporary counseling theory and practices. This account of the search for specific variables that define the goals of counseling, and for instruments to measure those variables objectively, is an important contribution to future research in the field. Ralph F. Berdie, director of the University of Minnesota Student Counseling Bureau, writes a foreword.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3730-4
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-xii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. xiii-2)
  3. 1 Problems of Clinical Research
    (pp. 3-10)

    Counseling, casework, and psychotherapy occur in many forms and settings, with different clienteles and under the sponsorship of a wide variety of agencies. The specific objectives of such practice vary: the counselor’s purpose may be to increase the client’s information about himself or his environment, to produce insight into emotional conflicts, or to effect certain alterations in behavior. Nevertheless, explicitly or implicitly, the final goal of counseling is to bring about some attitudinal or behavioral change in the client.

    Research efforts to date have provided relatively little unequivocal evidence about the efficiency of various counseling practices. This is not surprising...

  4. 2 Methodological Considerations in Outcome Research
    (pp. 11-15)

    For the experimental scientist the term “methodological considerations” covers a wide range of topics extending from the problems of epistemology and philosophy of science, through the mathematical niceties of statistics and experimental design, to the more specific technical concerns of treatment administration and data collection.

    In the most general sense, the experimentalist is bent on the discovery of truth, or as G. A. Kelly (1958) would have it, on its “invention.” But whether the scientist sees as his task the discovery of natural phenomena and their regularities, or the construction of elegant linguistic systems for predicting and explaining natural events,...

  5. 3 The Relevance of Philosophy of Science
    (pp. 16-24)

    Throughout this book we shall direct specific attention to the question of what happens to the psychological attributes and behaviors of clients as a result of counseling. We are concerned with the development of a theory within which these outcomes, and the functions of the treatment in producing them, can be described. The goal is to construct a theoretical system from which meaningful experimental hypotheses can be derived — meaningful in the sense that they can be subjected to test by appropriate research methods. A theory must be so constructed that the outcomes of subsequent investigations have an impact on...

  6. 4 The Design and Analysis of Outcome Studies
    (pp. 25-47)

    The preceding chapter stressed the importance of a carefully formulated theory of counseling or psychotherapy as a basis for research. This is not to imply that the theory initially must provide a complete and exhaustive account adequate to predict and explain all experimental findings. That would be an unrealistic requirement, especially in a field where little is known. Rather, it is important that whatever theoretical notions are held must be made explicit from the beginning of the research program. In most situations the effort required to do this will reward us at once by giving indications of logical inconsistencies, if...

  7. 5 Technical Considerations in the Collection of Data
    (pp. 48-65)

    Technical problems arise in the attempt to implement the logic of some experimental designin a particular situation. The peculiar, specific characteristics of the setting in which the research is done often impose restraints and difficulties on the execution of otherwise well-designed studies. This situational specificity makes a general discussion of procedural problems and suggestions for their resolution difficult — what may be a major and perhaps irresolvable impediment to a certain study in one clinic may constitute no obstacle at all in another setting.

    To provide a framework for discussion, let us consider a hypothetical setting in which a study...

  8. 6 A Conceptual Framework
    (pp. 66-97)

    The complex of sequential interactions between the counselor or therapist and his client represents a demanding and challenging subject for theory, practice, and research—demanding in the sense that as a source of behavioral modification the process is highly valued in our culture. A great deal of time, money, and training is involved in becoming proficient in its practice. Nevertheless, the many current psychological theories of learning and personality have not crystallized into a useful conceptual framework for guiding counseling practice or research on the outcomes of that practice (Pepinsky, 1953; Shoben, 1953b).

    As we pointed out in Chapter 2,...

  9. 7 The Evaluation Instruments
    (pp. 98-135)

    The theory developed in Chapter 6 is, in part, an integration of the thinking of many outstanding teachers, the research of many behavioral scientists, and the ideas of many excellent writers and helpful colleagues. Most immediately, it is the product of a coordinated program of research which preceded it (Hoyt, 1954; Magoon, 1954; Jesness, 1955), which in turn developed from a similar ancestry of ideas.

    Notwithstanding its impressive background, the theory must be subjected to evaluation before it can leave the realm of pontifical pronouncement, that is, before it can make any claim to scientific contribution. We stress this because...

  10. 8 The Experimental Design and Its Execution
    (pp. 136-153)

    Before proceeding with a report of the counseling experiments, we shall summarize the previous sections on theory development and measurement as they relate to the experimental programs.

    The three major variables of the theoretical framework are manifest anxiety, defensiveness, and problem-solving effectiveness. We viewed counseling as a means of reducing manifest anxiety and defensive behaviors and of increasing the client’s ability to solve his problems. These outcome variables were the ones identified as the most widely held general objectives of counseling in a review of the literature, a survey of practicing therapists, and discussions with counselors and consultants.

    Two auxiliary...

  11. 9 Related Studies
    (pp. 154-167)

    Two former graduate students working under Dr. Ralph Berdie and with the cooperation of Dr. Volsky have dealt with research questions arising out of the original study. Their work is summarized and reviewed here with their consent (Jewell, 1958; Vosbeck, 1959). In addition, a number of follow-up studies have been made on the subsequent academic histories of both the experimental and control populations used in the study reported in the preceding chapters, in an attempt to obtain data which would direct further research.*

    Early in the evolution of the theoretical framework described in Chapter 6, some colleagues took issue with...

  12. 10 Reflections
    (pp. 168-182)

    This concluding chapter is, we believe, an unusual one. It grew out of our discussions concerning how we might convey some general and some quite specific impressions gained during and after the investigations we have described. Our intent is to enable the reader to share with us some of the frustrations and insights which close involvement with research into the methods and outcomes of counseling leaves with the investigators. Perhaps these reflections will stimulate future, more incisive research.

    While we will touch upon many topics which should be explored in discussing goals, methods, and outcomes in counseling research, our intent...

  13. Appendix
    (pp. 185-198)
  14. References
    (pp. 199-205)
  15. Index
    (pp. 206-209)