Date of Award:

5-2009

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Thorana S Nelson

Abstract

When clinicians practice therapy without a clear theoretical foundation, they lack direction and purpose. When training to be a marriage and family therapist, understanding and clarifying one's integrated theory and practice of therapy is essential. This mixed methods study was designed to elucidate and apply my theory of therapy in order to identify fidelity to my model as well as understand the effects it has on clients. This study also focused on how experiences in each session of therapy influenced the next session. Three couples who presented for therapeutic services at the Utah State University Marriage and Family Therapy clinic participated in the study. Then therapy sessions were conducted. Each session was videorecorded and coded with an intervention checklist at well as a videorecording coding chart. Case notes and a reflection journal were used to understand the course of each session as well as the therapist's decisionmaking during each session. The Outcome Questionnaire 45.2 was administered to each couple during every session. The Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale was administered before the inital session and after the fourth session. In the third couple's case, the RDAS was administered before the initial session and after the second session. The results of this study suggest that the therapist applied interventions consistent with her integrated model of therapy using emotionally-focused therapy as her base theory, adding interventions from cognitive behavioral therapy and Gottman couple therapy. She found that she also used interventions from solution-focused therapy. This application of therapy was shown to be beneficial to every couple in certain ways. Sessions were found to inform subsequent sessions in a variety of ways. Unexpected findings, implications, and limitations are discussed.

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