Potential Clients' View of Language in Therapy
Hendrick, Stefani P.
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This study compares the counselor credibility of therapists who use problem-focused with those who use solution-focused language. Participants from two undergraduate classes at a southeastern state university were assigned to one of two eight-minute videotapes of a role-played family therapy session: problem-focused or solution-focused. This study is a posttest only quasi-experimental design. One group (N=35) viewed a videotape of a session that used solution-focused language. Another group (N=38) viewed a videotape of a session that used problem-focused language. The same therapist conducted both sessions and the same actors were used as the client couple. After viewing the videotape, participants rated the therapist's credibility (as measured by the Counselor Rating Form - Short Version), completed a Demographic Questionnaire and answered three open-ended questions. Two research questions were examined in this study: (1) Do potential clients perceive a therapist using solution-focused language as more attractive, experienced, trustworthy, and more credible than the same therapist using problem-focused language? (2) What other variables affect potential clients' view of the therapist? No significant differences in counselor credibility were found between the two groups. Three categories were discovered in the analysis of the open-ended questions: therapist characteristics, actions/skills of therapist, and other. When asked what they liked the most about the therapist, the majority of the participants' (86 percent) responses fell into the category of actions and skills of the therapist. When asked what they liked the least about the therapist, the majority of the participants' (64 percent) responses fell into the category of therapist characteristics.
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