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Thursday, 10 May 2012

Interpersonal Process Research: What Has It helped Us Understand About Therapy ?

 

Yes, this is another "sneak peak" post where I sneak out an excerpt from something currently being written in its draft from...is this advisable? This is a paper reporting on a Systematic review of the use of Interpersonal Process Recall in studying therapeutic processes...IPR means you interview the therapist/client or both while you watch a video of a session that has just been completed....they pause the video when the phenomenon under scrutiny appears so it can be explored...

This review aimed to organize the body of information available in empirical studies, which use Interpersonal Process Recall to investigate therapeutic processes and treatment effectiveness, through a systematic literature review. It was expected that the majority of studies reviewed will incorporate IPR with GTA for a qualitative analysis. Although the majority of studies included were qualitative in design, only half the studies utilised GTA.
Overall, the literature suggests that research into therapeutic processes using IPR has focused upon non-verbal processes, verbal response modes, positive and negative significant moments in therapy and developing a taxonomy of specific types of experiences, such as sadness. The examination of both modes of verbal communication and non-verbal communication demonstrate that these two aspects of communication do impact upon perceived empathy in session. The exploration of significant moments in therapy have allowed for a broader and more in-depth analyses of these processes through qualitative analysis. The research suggests that clients and counsellors are able to identify such moments with a high degree of accuracy, however, differ in the perception of why it is significant, and the impact of such moments. Finally, the development of taxonomies for pauses and moments of sadness in therapy demonstrate the utility of IPR and qualitative analysis in developing an empirically grounded theory of therapeutic processes, such that they inform clinical practice.
Limitations of the Literature
Although IPR has been identified as an effective means of investigating therapeutic processes (Elliott, 1983; Rhodes, 2011), there is still a dearth of research. Only ten studies were found to examine interpersonal processes relating to treatment efficacy using IPR in individual, face-to-face treatment settings. Moreover, no study directly examined psychotherapeutic processes in relation to treatment outcomes.
Furthermore, the majority of studies included were marked by methodological limitations. This includes inappropriate or unjustified sampling strategies, limited rigour in GTA, and poor reporting of ethical concerns and researcher bias. Moreover, some studies did not take the full advantage of IPR as a means of accessing the process-rich data from within actual therapy sessions, which limited findings. Namely, such studies employed IRP for the identification of significant moments only or obtaining a rating score, rather than free recall.
Implications for Clinical Practice and Research
Nonetheless, the studies reviewed do lend support to the call by Elliott (1983) and Rhodes (2011)  reveals information that cannot be gleaned from the reading of transcripts alone (Levitt & Rennie, 2006). It provides data regarding the mutiny of psychotherapy processes on a moment-to-moment basis. that IPR is an effective means of examining therapeutic processes as it
As suggested by Rhodes (2011), future research should combine IPR with GTA to allow for the development of empirically grounded theory into therapeutic processes. However, the rigour of analysis of the qualitative data needs to be at the standard established for this practice (Chiovitti & Piran, 2003). Research in this field can benefit especially with triangulation of data, “a process of using multiple perceptions to clarify meaning” (Denzin & Lincoln, 2003, p. 148). This would allow for outcome measures to be used to provide another perspective on the therapeutic processes, therefore directly bridging the gap between practice and research.

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