Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Research as a Growing Edge: Presentation to PCT Scotland Conference

Research as a Growing Edge for the Person-Centred Approach: Issues and Opportunities
Presented May 19, 2007, PCT Scotland Twentieth Anniversary Event)

Two Paths to Person-Centred Research: Experiential & Programmatic:

I. First Path: An Experiential Approach to PCT Research
A. An exercise:
1. Preliminary steps: Get comfortable. Approach your research hopes and fears gently
2. Ask yourself: What is something am I curious to research about Person-Centred Therapy?
3. Wait… Take your time… See what comes to you… See what else is there that wants research…
4. Write down 1 or 2 research topics that symbolize your curiosity
•Check each research topic to make sure it fits at least part of your curiosity
B. Summary of the First Path:
•Start with your natural curiosity, derived from experience with self and others
•Describe your curiosity in words, as a research topic
•Translate your topic(s) into research questions to express this curiosity
•Find research methods to help answer the questions
•Not the other way around!
•Stays close to experience
•Leads to use of a wide variety of methods
II. The Second Path to PCT Research:
A. Dialogue:
•Hold onto your curiosity while considering programmatic possibilities
•Look at the available possibilities for collaboration in research communities
•Host an internal dialogue between your curiosity and the available possibilities
B. Possibilities for PCT Research: Current Research Fronts
•Research Front = research topic being actively pursued by a variety of researchers
•A scientific growing edge
•Can use research politically for empowering PCT therapists & their clients
•Opportunities for collaboration
•Research in community
1. Person-Centred Outcome with specific types of clients
•Serving the present moment: a political necessity
•Young people (school counselling)
•Social Anxiety
•Group studies in centres or by therapist research networks
•Single case research in one’s practice
2. Relational processes: Deepening PCT
•Contemporary understandings of person-centred relational processes
•Relational depth
•Measurement (e.g., Therapeutic Relationship Scale)
•Micro-process research (e.g., understanding the dance of empathy between client and therapist)
3. Client Experiences: Listening to the Client
•Significant events research
•Clients’ experiences of helpful and hindering processes
•Use to improve therapy
4. Task analysis: Tapping Therapist wisdom
•Markers, indicators & micro-processes: What do experienced, skilled therapists look out for in client in-session process? What do they pick up on?
•Therapist responsiveness: What do experienced, skilled therapists do when they pick up client markers?
•Therapeutic tasks How do experienced, skilled therapists help their clients accomplish things in sessions?
5. Emerging front: Effects and Change Processes in Person-Centred Training
•Effects/outcomes (e.g., personal & professional functioning; therapy process & outcome
•Helpful and unhelpful processes
•Justify/improve training; accountability

III. The Dialogue between Experiential and Research Front Paths to PCT Research
•Use your curiosity to reflect on the programmatic possibilities
•Questions to facilitate reflection:
•Is there space for my curiosity in this?
•Is there something here that captures my curiosity more strongly?
•Or is my curiosity a burning passion that needs to follow its own path?

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