Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

D. Michael Bertoch


D. Michael Bertoch


Each psychotherapist has a personal theoretical framework, that is, a set of assumptions on which his or her psychotherapy is based. It appears from the published writings and opinions of therapists that therapists generally concur that a major factor in the formation of an individual therapist's theoretical framework is the therapist's personality. This study was designed to address this issue by examining the relationship between the psychogenic needs and theoretical framework of the therapist.

From an accessible population of 178, responses were obtained from 153 therapist participants (108 males and 45 females) from five Utah training programs and three experience levels. Each of the participants completed a measure of theoretical framework (developed by the author) which assessed general adherence to the principles and techniques of person-centered, behavioral, and rational-emotive therapy. Based on scales from Jackson's Personality Research Form the following psychogenic need variables were also derived: Need for Achievement, Need for Affiliation, Need for Dominance, Need for Exhibition, Need to Give Nurturance, and Need for Order. Other independent variables were based on the experience levels and training programs of the therapists.

Multiple regression analyses yielded uniformly small (less than 13.5% variance accounted for), generally non-significant relationships. The only clear relationship between a psychogenic need and the theoretical framework variables was between Need for Affiliation and the person-centered therapy variables. The experience level of the therapist accounted for the greatest portion of variance in the behavior therapy variables. There was no clear relationship between the rational-emotive therapy variables and any of the independent variables.

The low magnitude of these results may be partially explained by the relatively low reliability of the research variables. Further, if a relationship does exist between psychogenic needs and theoretical framework, it may not be a linear relationship which was the assumptive basis of the analyses used in the research.

An interesting finding was that scores of concurrence with the three theoretical schools had positive intercorrelations of between .14 and .54. An implication of this finding is that theoretical framework may be multidimensional versus unidimensional as it has previously been conceptualized.

In summary, this research does not support the relationship between the psychogenic needs and theoretical framework of the therapist. However, given the theoretical emphasis placed on the topic, and the difficulties with this research, further research in the area appears warranted before the issues can be more definitely resolved.



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