<%BANNER%>

The Effects of Epistemic Style On Therapy Preferences


PAGE 1

EFFECTS OF EPISTEMIC STYLE ON THERAPY PREFERENCES By JOCELYN A. SAFERSTEIN A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2002

PAGE 2

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I extend a special thanks to all of my friends and family for their constant love and support. I could not have completed this thesis project without the guidance of my wonderful supervisor, Dr. Greg Neimeyer. ii

PAGE 3

TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS..................................................................................................ii LIST OF TABLES...............................................................................................................v ABSTRACT.......................................................................................................................vi CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION...........................................................................................................1 Epistemic Style................................................................................................................2 Epistemiology and Rationalist-Constructivist Therapies.................................................5 2 METHODS....................................................................................................................10 Participants.....................................................................................................................10 Instrumentation..............................................................................................................10 Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale....................................................................................11 Therapist Attitude Questionnaire Short Form (TAQ-SF)..........................................11 Psychological-Epistemological Profile (PEP) ..........................................................12 Counseling Favorability.............................................................................................13 Written Scripts...........................................................................................................14 Procedure.......................................................................................................................14 3 RESULTS......................................................................................................................16 Prescreening...................................................................................................................16 Manipulation Checks.....................................................................................................16 Analyses.........................................................................................................................18 4 DISCUSSION.................................................................................................................22 iii

PAGE 4

APPENDIX A GRADUATE STUDENTS' EVALUATION MEASURE FOR REPRESENTATIVENESS OF THERAPY APPROACHES.....................................26 B THERAPIST ATTITUDE QUESTIONNAIRE SHORT............................................27 C MANIPULATION CHECK QUESTIONS FOR PARTICIPANTS...........................29 REFERENCES..................................................................................................................30 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................33 iv

PAGE 5

LIST OF TABLES Table page 1 Epistemology (Rationalist/Metaphorist) by Therapy Orientation (Rationalist/Constructivist).........................................................................................20 2 Correlation of Psychological-Epistemological Profile with Therapist Attitudes Questionnaire..............................................................................................21 v

PAGE 6

Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science EFFECTS OF EPISTEMIC STYLE ON THERAPY PREFERENCES by Jocelyn A. Saferstein December, 2002 Chair: Dr. Greg J. Neimeyer Department: Psychology This study examined the relationship between epistemic style and therapy preferences. A sample of 58 late adolescents who had been pre-screened for their epistemic style (Rational, Metaphorical) listened to a therapy session depicting two different therapeutic orientations (Rationalist, Constructivist) that focused on a self-relevant topic (self-esteem and social anxiety). Overall, results indicated that participants favored the Rationalist therapy orientation over the Constructivist therapy orientation, but no interactions were found between epistemic style and therapy preferences. Results are interpreted in relation to the growing literature addressing the relationship between epistemic style and therapy preferences. vi

PAGE 7

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION An emergent area of interest in counseling psychology research explores the philosophical underpinnings of many of the different approaches to counseling and psychotherapy (Beronsky, 1994; DisGiuseppe & Linscott, 1993; Erwin, 1999; Lyddon, 1990; Mahoney, 1991; Mahoney & Gabriel, 1987; Mahoney & Lyddon, 1988; Okun, 1990; Polkinghorne, 1991; Vasco, 1994). More specifically, recent literature has investigated the translation of epistemology into practice, exploring the relationship between philosophical commitments on the one hand, and theories and concepts related to change processes, on the other (Arthur, 2000; Botella & Gallifa, 1995; Chiari & Nuzzo, 1996; Lyddon, 1989, 1988). One expression of this work has begun looking at how individual differences in philosophical beliefs might actually play a role in peoples preference for different therapy orientations (Lyddon & Adamson, 1992; Neimeyer & Morton, 1997; Neimeyer, Prichard, Lyddon, & Sherrard, 1993; Royce & Mos, 1980; Vincent & LeBow, 1995). The ensuing framework that has developed from this growing literature explores the possibility of there being a match between certain philosophical commitments and preferences for particular therapies. For the past few decades, research investigating models of client and counselor matching along a variety of characteristics has also been a burgeoning area of study in the counseling field (Lyddon, 1989, 1991; Neimeyer & Morton, 1997; Vincent & LeBow, 1995). According to this matching hypothesis, 1

PAGE 8

2 clients tend towards rating counselors more favorably when they are matched with therapists who have therapy orientations similar to their own particular cognitive and attitudinal styles (Fry & Charron, 1980). The present study further explores this area of matching by examining whether and individuals epistemic style predicts their preferences for particular therapy orientations. Epistemic Style Royce has developed a long-standing line of research investigating peoples ways of knowing (1964; Diamond & Royce, 1980; Royce & Powell, 1983). Throughout this extensive program of research Royce and his colleagues have developed a conceptual model that specifies three fundamental classes of knowing. These three primary approaches to knowing are referred to as the three epistemic styles: rationalism, empiricism, and metaphorism. Rationalism maintains the dominant assertion that thought has superiority over the senses with regards to obtaining knowledge. Those with a rational epistemic style are devoted to testing their views of reality in terms of logical consistency. The primary underlying cognitive processes for the rational epistemic style include clear thinking and rational analysis, as well as synthesizing different notions (Diamond & Royce, 1980; Vincent & LeBow, 1995). Rationalists view pathology as stemming from irrational emotions or behaviors that should and are able to be controlled by rational thought. Cognitive-rational therapy depicts this process of deductively analyzing and rejecting personal beliefs and arguments, while instead preferring a more rational option. In other words, rationalism is the epistemological worldview that underlies cognitive-rational therapy (Lyddon, 1989; Mahoney, 1991).

PAGE 9

3 Empiricism is primarily concerned with sensory experience as the main way of knowing, where people know to the extent that they perceive accurately. The empirical view of knowledge is primarily inductive and determined mostly by the reliability and validity of observations (Diamond & Royce, 1980; Vincent & LeBow, 1995). Psychological problems are considered as learned and measurable dysfunctional behavior, where the reduction of psychological distress would be attained through behavioral contracting or conditioning which empiricists believe promotes changes in affect and cognitions. In other words, empiricism is the epistemological worldview that underlies behavioral therapy (Mahoney, 1991; Shact & Black, 1985). The metaphorist perspective, however, sees knowledge not as firm nor rigid, but rather as more flexible, and as embedded within individualistic and socially constructed symbolic processes. Metaphorism thus takes the stance that reality is personal and mutable, rather than fixed, and that individuals construct their bases of knowledge from their personal learning histories, external experience, and their own personally constructive processes (Vincent & LeBow, 1995). The metaphorist is further described as testing the soundness of their perspective by the global or universal nature of their knowledge. In addition, for the metaphorist, cognitive processes are symbolic in nature, with both conscious and unconscious components (Diamond & Royce, 1980; Lyddon, 1989). People with metaphorical epistemic styles see psychological dysfunction as an unsuccessful effort to change or develop, or an inability to adequately adjust to a situation or circumstance. From this perspective, psychological dysfunction is viewed as a perturbance in an individuals customary way of knowing, with emotional distress reflecting a persons limited ability to adapt to life circumstances. The emphasis is

PAGE 10

4 placed on adjustment and the novel construction of new ways of knowing within an ongoing process of developmental change, rather than as a correction of dysfunction or the restoration of a more valid correspondence between reality and ones view of that reality (Mahoney, 1991; Vincent & LeBow, 1995). The metaphorist perspective is depicted in constructivist therapy through the therapists facilitation of the clients perspective taking and the clients rendition of occurrences in an analogical style. In other words, metaphorism is the epistemological worldview that underlies constructivist therapy (Lyddon, 1989; Mahoney, 1991; Neimeyer, 1993; Neimeyer et al., 1993; Schact & Black, 1985). Royces conceptual framework holds that the cognitive processes of perceiving, conceptualizing, and symbolizing are interdependent processes, where the meaningful convergence of these three processes makes up a persons view of reality or worldview. Although interdependent, people tend to show a leaning towards a dominant epistemic style (Royce & Mos, 1980; Royce & Powell, 1983). Thus, although knowing is comprised of empirical, rational, and metaphorical component processes, there is a hierarchical order to which people use these processes with one of the three tending to be most dominant. Thus, Royces (1964) theory of knowledge and subsequent research paradigm has revealed empirical support for these three basic theories of knowledge: Rationalism, Empiricism, and Metaphorism. The instrument subsequently created by Royce and Mos (1980), called the psychological-epistemological profile (PEP), was based on this philosophical system. Initial research using the PEP looked at the relationship between an individuals epistemic style and their occupations (Royce & Mos, 1980). Rationalists

PAGE 11

5 tended to be found in the occupations of mathematicians and theoretical physicists, empiricists tended to be found in the occupations of biologists and chemists, and metaphorists tended to be found in the occupations of professional musicians and dramatists. Subsequent epistemological research and more specifically, matching hypothesis studies, have continued to measure individual commitments to epistemic beliefs through the use of the PEP (Arthur, 2000; Kearsley, 1976; Lyddon, 1989; Lyddon, 1991; Neimeyer et al., 1993; Vasco, 1994; Vincent & LeBow, 1995). More recently, Arthur (2000) found a significant difference between the metaphorists and the other two epistemic styles (rationalists and empiricists) for therapy preference (cognitive behavioral vs. psychoanalytic), where psychoanalytic and cognitive behavioral therapists differed significantly on metaphorism and rationalists and empiricists did not. Additional research has shown that the rational and empirical epistemic styles tended to reveal more interdependence with each other than with the metaphorical epistemic style (Neimeyer et al., 1993; Vincent & LeBow, 1995). In addition, Neimeyer et al. (1993) found that the rational and empirical epistemic styles had few, if any, significant correlates to different therapy orientations. Based on these findings, in the present study we did not include the empirical epistemic style in the investigation and thus looked only at the rational and metaphorical epistemic styles as they related to the rational and constructivist therapies, an approach that extends previous research along similar lines. Epistemology and Rationalist-Constructivist Therapies Current research has looked at the distinctions within the field of cognitive therapy. Mahoney and his colleagues pioneered this literature (1991; Mahoney &

PAGE 12

6 Gabriel, 1987; Mahoney & Lyddon, 1988), which suggests a prominent philosophical dimensions along which different cognitive therapies can be aligned; rationalist vs. constructivist. Rationalism argues that there is a single, stable, external reality, and that thoughts are held superior to the senses when figuring out the accuracy of knowledge (Mahoney, 1991; Mahoney & Gabriel, 1987, Mahoney & Lyddon, 1988). Winter and Watson (1999) further depict rationalists as believing that individuals passively perceive an independently existing reality, and that with regards to therapy, clients are seen as making cognitive errors, which causes them to have a less accurate perception of reality. The therapists role is thus to instruct the client to think more rationally, meaning to accept the therapists worldview. Thus, rationalist therapies are more persuasive, analytical, and technically instructive than the constructivist therapies (Neimeyer, 1993). Successful rationalist therapy occurs when clients are able to control their negative emotions through rational thinking (Mahoney & Lyddon, 1988). Ellis Rational Emotive Therapy (RET) has been considered the approach that best depicts the rationalist perspective (DisGiuseppe & Linscott, 1993; Mahoney, 1990). Lyddon (1989) further notes that rationalist cognitive theories, due to their epistemological basis being a commitment to reason and logical-analytic processes, depict a rational epistemic style. Constructivism, however, argues that individuals are proactive in their personal constructions of their realities. From this point of view, knowledge is comprised of meaning making processes where the individual is in charge of organizing his or her experiences. Constructivists believe that reality is not single, stable, nor external, and instead assert that individuals feelings and actions cannot be meaningfully separated

PAGE 13

7 from human thought (Lyddon, 1988; Mahoney, 1988, 1991; Mahoney & Gabriel, 1987; Mahoney & Lyddon, 1988). Unlike rationalist therapists, Winter and Watson (1999) point out that constructivist therapists see clients as taking a proactive position in constructing their own personal realities. Thus, constructivist therapies are more personal, reflective, and elaborative than the rationalist therapies (Neimeyer, 1993). Additionally, Lyddon (1990) notes that contrary to the rationalist view of negative emotions depicting problems that need to be controlled, constructivist therapists see emotion as a playing a functional role in the change process and encourage emotional experience, expression, and exploration (p.124). Thus, constructivist therapists attempt to facilitate clients personal construction of new meanings in the context of a safe and caring relationship. Lyddon (1989) further notes that constructivist cognitive theories, due to the primacy placed on the construction and alteration of personal meanings, is most representative of Royces metaphorical epistemic style. The influence of epistemic style on preference for rational and constructivist therapies have been noted in recent research (Arthur, 2000; DisGiuseppe & Linscott, 1993; Lyddon, 1989; Mahoney & Gabriel, 1987; Neimeyer & Morton, 1997). The primary implications of this research reveal an existing match between the rational epistemic style and rational therapies, as well as between the metaphorical epistemic style and constructivist therapies. Lyddon (1989) notes that, for example, people with a dominant rational epistemic style tend to prefer rationalist therapy because rational therapy facilitates clients approaching emotional and personal troubles in a rational and logical way that is congruent with their ways of dealing with difficulties in other aspects

PAGE 14

8 of their lives. This further suggests that a compatible worldview between client and therapist could act as a crucial indicator of client preference for therapy. The need for research in this area of a clients epistemic style (rational vs. metaphorical) serving as a good indicator for therapy preference has been well documented (Arthur, 2000; Berzonsky, 1994; Lyddon, 1989; Lyddon, 1991; Neimeyer & Morton, 1997; Neimeyer et al., 1993; Vincent & LeBow, 1995). In particular, Arthur (2000) notes that An area for further research is to investigate the predictive validity of these personality and cognitive-epistemological patterns for orientation choice. (p.256) Additionally, Vincent and LeBow (1995) found that a more tangible representation of the therapy context, along with including a particular client issue, challenges the generalizability of the matching hypothesis, suggesting the need to generalize these findings to real life therapy. When considering the findings of Royce and Mos (1980) that people tend to have a leaning towards a dominant epistemic style, it naturally follows suit from the matching hypothesis that the preferred match between client and therapist would consist of the clients epistemology being reflected in the underlying epistemology of the therapy orientation (Vincent & LeBow, 1995). Thus, in the present study, we investigated the possible relationship between epistemic style (rational vs. metaphorical) and therapy preference (rational emotive therapy vs. constructivist therapy) in a specific context. Epistemic matching effects have been found in relation to constructivist and rational therapies previously, but only in paper-and-pencil contexts (Neimeyer et al., 1993). However, some work suggests that the effects of epistemic matching may be lost as therapy depictions/presentations become

PAGE 15

9 more detailed, focused, or real life (Vincent & LeBow, 1995). Vincent and LeBow (1995) found that a tangible presentation of actual therapy approaches (rather than say, a written description of them), along with the inclusion of a specified target problem, might eclipse or over-ride the effects of epistemic matching, challenging its generalizability into actual practice. Thus, in the present study we intentionally screened participants for low levels of self-esteem, and asked them to listen to, and evaluate, two therapy sessions dedicated to issues of social anxiety and self-esteem; one session depicted a constructivist orientation and the other depicted a rationalist orientation. Our goal was to extend the findings of Vincent and LeBow (1995), and we hypothesized accordingly that the use of a more real life depiction of a therapy session, along with the personal relevance of the therapy topic (i.e., self-esteem), might qualify the operation of the matching hypothesis. Thus, our goal is to test the generalizability of these epistemic matching effects to an analog therapy context in which participants listen to actual therapy sessions that depict constructivist and rationalist therapy orientations in relation to a personally-relevant presenting problem.

PAGE 16

CHAPTER 2 METHODS Participants Participants were volunteers from undergraduate general psychology courses who agreed to volunteer for a study looking at therapy perceptions. Participants were pre-screened to assess their levels of self-esteem and therapeutic orientation preferences (Rationalist versus Constructivist, see below). Next, participants whose scores met pre-established cutoff points were called back to fill out the remaining questionnaires. The final participants were 58 students (39 women and 19 men) (Mean age = 18.64 years, age range = 18-21 years). The majority of the participants were Caucasian (67.3%), followed by Hispanic (13.8%), African American (8.6%), Asian (1.7%), and other (8.6%). Students participating in this study received course credits for their participation. All sessions were held at the universitys language lab with approximately 5-15 students run in each one-hour administration, which were conducted in accordance with APA ethical guidelines. Instrumentation Approximately 1,000 students taking the general psychology course were pre-screened for both their levels of self-esteem, using Rosenbergs (1965) Self-Esteem Scale (SES), and also for their philosophical leanings, using the DisGiuseppe and Linscott (1993) Therapist Attitudes Questionnaire (TAQ), in a shortened form (as described in Neimeyer & Morton, 1997). 10

PAGE 17

11 Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale The SES (1965) is a 10-item measure designed to assess levels of self-esteem. Participants agree or disagree with each item using a 4-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly agree) to 4 (strongly disagree), e.g., I feel that I am a person of worth, at least on an equal basis with others. This instrument was self-administered and designed to take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete. Factor analytic studies of the measures construct and discriminant validity have supported the utility of the measure in relation to the prediction of self-esteem using other categorical measures. In addition, the SES contains items designed to minimize scale overlap but still retain high internal consistency, Cronbachs = 0.77 to 0.88 (Blascovich & Tomaka, 1991). Therapist Attitudes Questionnaire-Short Form The TAQ was developed by DisGiuseppe and Linscott (1993), designed assess the philosophical, theoretical, and technical dimensions of the rationalist and constructivist philosophies. The TAQ is a 38-item self-administered questionnaire that takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. Of the 38 items, 16 items that represent the rationalist philosophy, 16 items that represent the constructivist philosophy, and the additional 6 items measure preferences for targeting client thoughts to be disputed early in therapy. Each item on the TAQ is rated on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The TAQ-SF, developed by Neimeyer and Morton (1997), is a revision of the Therapist Attitudes Questionnaire (TAQ) developed by DisGiuseppe and Linscott (1993). The TAQ-SF measures philosophical, theoretical, and technical dimensions of rationalist and constructivist therapies. The instrument is self-administered, contains 16 items,

PAGE 18

12 (eight items pertaining to a Rationalist commitment, e.g., Reality is singular, stable and external to human experience and eight items pertaining to a Constructivist commitment, e.g., Reality is relative. Realities reflect individual or collective constructions of order to ones experiences), and takes approximately 5-10 minutes to complete. Respondents were asked to rate the degree to which they agreed or disagreed with each item on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The TAQ-SF revealed the basic factor structure of the original TAQ and showed its predictive validity by predicting the therapeutic identifications and descriptions of a group of practicing professionals (Neimeyer & Morton, 1997). Psychological-Epistemological Profile (PEP) Royce and Mos (1980) created the PEP, which measures epistemic beliefs based on Royces (1964) theory of knowledge. The PEP assesses the epistemological dimensions of Rationalism, Empiricism, and Metaphorism. For the present study, we eliminated the items associated with Empiricism and retained only those items corresponding with Rationalism and Metaphorism. There was thus a total of 32 items, which required approximately 15 minutes to complete. Respondents were asked to indicate on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (complete disagreement) to 5 (complete agreement) the degree to which they agreed with each item. The 1980 manual (Royce and Mos, 1980) reports strong split-half reliability (range = 0.77 to 0.88), and 9-month test-retest reliability (range = 0.66 to 0.87) for each of the subscales, along with support for the measures concurrent and construct validity. Concurrent validity of the PEP was revealed by its differentiation between various occupational and professional groups thought to demonstrate specific epistemic profiles. Construct validity of the PEP has

PAGE 19

13 been revealed through both an item factor analysis that corroborates its hypothesized three-dimensional structure (Schopflocher & Royce, 1978) and also through theoretically predicted relationships between the PEP and various occupational and interest scales (Royce & Mos, 1980). Counseling Favorability To assess participants preferences for each of the two counseling approaches (Rationalist and Constructivist), participants completed an eight-question evaluation of the therapy sessions adapted from Lyddon (1989) and Neimeyer et al., (1993). This eight-item measure is comprised of three subscales: (1) Therapy Evaluation Measure, (2) Session Evaluation, and (3) Therapy Style. Two questions make up the Therapy Evaluation Measure subscale, which is used to assess participants general ratings of the session that they just listened to, e.g., Overall, how would you evaluate this session? answered on a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (Poor) to 5 (Excellent). The three questions that make up the Session Evaluation subscale, looks at how the participants perceive the therapist in the session, e.g., The therapist sounded knowledgeable and expert in working with the client. from 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). The last three questions make up the Therapy Style subscale, which is adapted from the Counseling Approach Evaluation Form (CAEF; Lyddon, 1989), e.g., What is the likelihood that you would seek out this counseling approach if you desired counseling in the future? from 1 (not at all likely) to 5 (very likely). Although the CAEF has adequate stability (1-week test-retest reliabilities range from 0.87 to 0.91) and internal consistency (alpha coefficients range from 0.93 to 0.96), validity data are currently unavailable (Lyddon & Adamson,

PAGE 20

14 1992). The sum of the items for each of the subscales was used as the dependent measure for counseling favorability. Written Scripts Respondents were asked to read 2 scripts, one that depicted that Rationalist approach and one that depicted the Constructivist approach to therapy. These scripts were based on Mahoneys (1988; Mahoney & Lyddon, 1988) distinction between these two approaches (Rationalist and Constructivist) and have been used in previous research in this area (Lyddon, 1989; Neimeyer & Morton, 1997). Each script is approximately one and a half pages (double-spaced) long and was developed to exemplify the Rationalist and Constructivist counselors approach to therapy for a new client. Lyddon (1989) used expert raters to determine the extent to which each transcript faithfully represented each approach to therapy. All raters were able to identify correctly the two approaches with 100% accuracy, and both scripts were rated as highly representative of their respective orientations (mean ratings ranging from 4.8 to 5.5), using a 5-point rating scale (1 = low representativeness, 5 = high representativeness). Subsequent research using these scripts has noted their ability to predict epistemic styles (Neimeyer et al, 1993). Participants in the present study were asked to read the script that corresponded to the therapy approach that they would be listening to (Rationalist or Constructivist) prior to hearing the audio recorded therapy session. This was done in an attempt to facilitate the participants understanding of the therapy approach they were about to hear. Procedure Participants prescreened for low levels of self-esteem and for epistemic style (Rationalist or Constructivist), met at the university language lab. Clients were first

PAGE 21

15 instructed to read brief one-page descriptions of each of the therapy approaches (Rationalist and Constructivist). They were asked to listen to two pre-recorded audio therapy sessions of a client dealing with issues of self-esteem. The same client and therapist were heard in each of the therapy sessions; however the two sessions varied by the type of approach (Rationalist or Constructivist) that the therapist used with the client (manipulation checks were conducted on the tapes to determine the effectiveness of the portrayals: see results). The order in which participants heard the tapes was counterbalanced; half of the participants heard the Rationalist approach to therapy tape first and the other half of the participants heard the Constructivist tape first. Directly following each tape, participants were asked to complete the eight questions making up the dependent measure of therapy preference, and then answer two questions that constituted a manipulation check: (1) The session focused on the clients thoughts, cognitions and beliefs, (2) The session focused on the clients feelings, sensations and embodied experience. Finally participants completed the PEP, turned in their materials, and read a short debriefing, describing the nature of the study.

PAGE 22

CHAPTER 3 RESULTS Prescreening Participants were pre-screened for their levels of self-esteem using the Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965), and for their philosophical leanings using the Therapist Attitudes Questionnaire (DisGiuseppe & Linscott, 1993). Cutoffs were determined with regards to self-esteem first, and then most extreme philosophical leanings (Rationalist or Constructivist) were selected from those low self-esteem individuals. In an attempt to recruit participants that would consider the tape-recorded sessions of a client dealing with issues of low self-esteem as more self-relevant, selected participants had self-esteem scores at or below the mean (M = 16.00, with scores ranging from 9-16), and philosophical leanings that were most extreme (Rational M = 19.02, with scores ranging from 19-32; Metaphorical M = 20.90, with scores ranging from 21-32). Of the 1,013 prescreened participants, 51.0% (N=517) classified themselves as a Rationalist, and 49.0% (N=496) classified themselves as a Constructivist using the TAQ-SF (Neimeyer & Morton, 1997). Manipulation Checks Two manipulation checks were conducted to determine the representativeness of the respective therapy orientations (Rationalist or Constructivist). First, five counseling psychology graduate students were recruited to listen to each of the therapy sessions. The graduate students participation was voluntary, and they were asked to answer the 16

PAGE 23

17 same four questions after hearing each session. Two questions related to how accurately they thought the session represented Rationalist orientation, and two questions related to how accurately they thought the session represented a Constructivist approach to therapy (see Appendix A). Paired sample t-tests of the Rationalist/Constructvist questions, revealed that graduate students rated the two questions depicting the Rationalist therapy session significantly higher (M = 8.80) than they did the two questions depicting the Constructivist therapy session (M = 4.40), t (3) = 4.68, P 0.009. The same was true for the graduate students ratings of the Constructivist session; ratings of the two questions depicting the Constructivist therapy approach were significantly higher (M = 8.00) than the two questions depicting the Rationalist approach (M = 3.00), t (3) = -4.758, P 0.009. Thus, the graduate students accurately perceived both Rationalist and Constructivist approaches to therapy, supporting the representativeness of each of the therapy approaches. For the second manipulation check, we included the following two questions at the end of the dependent measure of therapy preference that was completed by all participants in the study: (1) the session focused on the clients thoughts, cognitions and beliefs and (2) the session focused on the clients feelings, sensations and embodied experience. Participants answered these two questions after listening to the Rationalist session and then after listening to the Constructivist session. This was done in an attempt to assure that participants found the sessions to be representative of the particular therapists approach to therapy (Rationalist or Constructivist). Paired sample t-tests of the questions revealed that participants listening to the Rationalist approach rated question 1 significantly higher (M = 4.42, SD = 0.85) than participants listening to the

PAGE 24

18 Constructivist approach (M = 2.87, SD = 1.23), t (1, 57) = 6.22, P 0.001. The same was true for question 2, where participants listening to the Constructivist approach to therapy rated question 2 significantly higher (M = 4.39, SD = 0.84) than participants listening to the Rationalist approach (M = 3.32, SD = 1.22), t (1, 57) = -3.63, P 0.001. Thus, participants accurately perceived both Rationalist and Constructivist approaches to therapy. Analyses Of the 58 participants that met the prescreening cutoffs, 55.2% (N=32) classified themselves as a Rational epistemic style, and 44.8% (N=26) classified themselves as a Metaphorical epistemic style using the Psychological-Epistemological Profile (Royce & Mos, 1980). Among the females in the sample, 20 were categorized as having Rational epistemic style and 19 as having a Metaphorical epistemic style. For men, the numbers were 12 Rational and 7 Metaphorical. No significant gender differences in the distribution of epistemic style was found, Chi Square (1, 57) = .39, P > 0.05. Primary analyses began with a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) in order to examine the relationship between individuals epistemic styles (Rational vs. Metaphorical) and their preference for therapy orientation (Rationalist vs. Constructivist) using the three dependent measures of therapy preference: Therapy Evaluation Measure, Session Evaluation, and Therapy Style. The 2 (epistemic styles) X 2 (therapy preference) mixed factorial MANOVA was conducted along the 6 subscale scores of counseling favorability (adapted from Lyddon, 1989; Neimeyer et al, 1993). Table 1 depicts the means and standard deviations of the conditions. Results of this 2 X 2 mixed factorial MANOVA revealed a significant main effect for the therapy orientation, F (5, 53) =

PAGE 25

19 128.81, P 0.001, but no significant main effect for epistemic style, F (1, 57) = 0.24, P 0.628. There was also no significant two-way interaction found between epistemic style and therapy preference, F (5, 53) = 0.68, P 0.641. Thus, the Rational and Metaphorical epistemic styles did not rate the Rationalist or Constructivist therapy sessions in a significantly different way. However, across the three subscales, the Rationalist therapy session was rated significantly higher by the Rational (M = 30.06, SD = 5.78) and Metaphorical (M = 30.39, SD = 4.95) epistemic styles than the Constructivist therapy session was by the Rational (M = 26.59, SD = 6.34) and Metaphorical epistemic styles (M = 27.58, SD = 6.60). An additional analysis was done to compare participants scores on the PEP and the TAQ. Pearson Product Moment correlations revealed significant positive correlations between the PEP Rational style and the TAQ Rational style, r = 0.28, P 0.05, and the PEP Metaphorical style and the TAQ Metaphorical style, r = 0.28, P 0.05. In addition, there was a significant negative correlation found between the PEP Metaphorical style and the TAQ Rational style, r = -0.45, P 0.01. Table 2 depicts this correlation table.

PAGE 26

20 Table 1 Epistemology (Rationalist/Metaphorist) X Therapy Orientation (Rationalist/Constructivist) 11.84 1.76 32 12.23 1.58 26 12.02 1.68 58 10.84 2.46 32 11.35 2.67 26 11.07 2.55 58 8.03 1.56 32 7.92 1.44 26 7.98 1.49 58 7.50 1.68 32 7.38 1.33 26 7.45 1.52 58 10.19 3.38 32 10.23 2.94 26 10.21 3.17 58 8.25 3.02 32 8.85 3.53 26 8.52 3.24 58 Epistemicstyle Rational Metaphorical Total Rational Metaphorical Total Rational Metaphorical Total Rational Metaphorical Total Rational Metaphorical Total Rational Metaphorical Total Therapy evaluation measure for rationalist session Therapy evaluation measure forconstructivist session Session evaluation forrationalist session Session evaluation forconstructivist session Therapy style forrationalist session Therapy style forconstructivist session Mean Std.deviation N

PAGE 27

21 Table 2 Correlation of Psychological-Epistemological Profile with Therapist Attitudes Questionnaire 1.00 1.00 0.28* -0.14 1.00 0.66 0.04 0.30 58.00 58.00 58.00 58.00 -0.06 1.00 -0.45** 0.28* 0.66 -0.00 0.04 58.00 58.00 58.00 58.00 0.28* -0.45** 1.00 -0.24 0.04 0.00 -0.07 58.00 58.00 58.00 58.00 -0.14 0.28* -0.24 1.00 0.30 0.04 0.07 -58.00 58.00 58.00 58.00 Pearson correlation P value N Pearson correlation P value N Pearson correlation P value N Pearson correlation P value N PEP rational epistemic style PEP metaphoricalepistemic style TAQ rational epistemic style TAQ metaphorical epistemic style PEP rational PEP metaphorical TAQ rational TAQ metaphorical Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).* Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).**

PAGE 28

CHAPTER 4 DISCUSSION Overall, the results of the present study do not support our original hypothesis regarding the effects of epistemic style on therapy preferences. Overall, participants favored the Rational Emotive Therapy session more than they did the Constructivist session, but this did not vary by the participants epistemic style. Instead, results revealed participants epistemic styles (Rational vs. Metaphorical) did not match with corresponding preferences for therapy orientation (Rationalist vs. Constructivist). One explanation for this finding is the possibility that providing participants with a more real life therapy context (i.e., audio recording) to evaluate, along with a personally relevant-presenting problem (i.e., self-esteem, social anxiety) washed out the matching effects that have been found in previous research (Fry & Charron, 1980; Lyddon, 1989). This lack of finding a matching hypothesis in the present study supports the assertion of Vincent and LeBow (1995), who stated that a more tangible presentation of actual therapy approaches, with the addition of a specified target problem, could over-ride the effects of epistemic matching. Future research should attempt to replicate these findings to see if there are in fact, variations according to specified target problems and a more real life therapy context. One possible avenue for further investigation would be to add in a higher self-esteem group into the current conditions, to see if results tend to vary according to degree of personal relevance of target problem. Another possibility would be to add in another fully-crossed condition where participants rated the written 22

PAGE 29

23 orientations prior to hearing the therapy session, at which point they rated the session that they heard. This could potentially provide insight into the differences between the less real life depictions (e.g., written descriptions) versus more real life therapy contexts (e.g., audio recordings), as well as tapping how the degree of self-relevance (low vs. high self-esteem participants) affects overall ratings of the therapy sessions. The overall higher ratings of the Rationalist therapy session by both epistemic styles across the three subscales could be interpreted as a result of (1) the participants (non-clinical, adolescent population with a mean age of 18.64 years), or/and (2) the nature of the target problem (self-esteem, social anxiety). With regards to the first possible interpretation, Lyddon and Adamson (1992) suggested that a persons relative philosophical commitments could be age related. Studies investigating adult cognitive development reveal that during the late adolescent and early adulthood years, cognitive development could be better seen as philosophical shifts in the direction of more relativistic and dialectical thought (Kramer & Woodruff, 1986). Thus, the participants in this study could have been more drawn to the Rationalist therapy orientation due to its inherent claims of a more single, stable, external reality, rather than the more relativistic claims inherent in the Constructivist therapy orientation. An alternative explanation might be the participants relative familiarity with Rationalist versus, Constructivist therapy, which may, in turn, have affected their overall favorability ratings. A different explanation for the participants higher ratings of the Rationalist therapy session might focus on the target problem of self-esteem/social anxiety issues that were presented in the therapy sessions. Perhaps Rationalist therapy orientations

PAGE 30

24 present with a more plausible initial treatment (first session) than the Constructivist therapy orientation does. Future research could address these various possibilities by (1) testing different age groups, such as older adults who could possibly have more concrete philosophical beliefs, and (2) assessing prior knowledge concerning Rationalist and Constructivist therapies, and (3) comparing different target problems that have self-relevance to participants (e.g., body image concerns). Fortunately, the present study does suggest the potential utility of the PEP and TAQ in future research efforts similar to those presented in this study. The correlations found between these two measures of epistemology provide support for their representativeness of the Rational and Metaphorical epistemic styles. There are some limiting aspects of this study that compromise the external validity of the findings. First, the analogue design of the study, while possibly closer to a real life therapy session than a written description, still cannot be interpreted as equivalent to an actual client-therapist experience. Second, the use of a non-clinical sample population additionally limits the generalizability of these findings into the actual therapy context. Thus, the findings of this study should be seen as preliminary and awaiting future research in actual clinical trials. Another limiting factor to the present study is the representativeness of the two therapy orientations in the session. Although, we were careful to assess for the representativeness of each orientation, the subjective nature of the therapists presentation of the two orientations could still pose a problem with regards to the accuracy of the therapists representations in each of the sessions.

PAGE 31

25 However, despite the apparent limitations in the present study, the study does contribute to the preliminary understanding of the relationship between epistemic style and preferences for particular therapy orientations. More specifically, the current study extends the findings of Vincent and LeBow (1995), who stated that with regards to the matching hypothesis, additional moderating variables may be potentially important in kind and degree (p.93). This opens up a fruitful area of research to investigate the potential role that specific self-relevant issues play in matching a clients epistemic style with their preferences for therapy orientations. In addition, this study highlights the importance of future investigations looking at the generalizability of this research into real-life therapy contexts, and what role this matching actually plays in therapy outcomes.

PAGE 32

APPENDIX A GRADUATE STUDENTS EVALUATION MEASURE FOR REPRESENTATIVENESS OF THERAPY APPROACHES Session #1 1. To what extent does this session accurately represent a Rational Emotive orientation to therapy? Very accurately 5 4 3 2 1 Very inaccurately 2. To what extent does this session accurately represent a Constructivist orientation to therapy? Very accurately 5 4 3 2 1 Very inaccurately 3. To what extent does this session focus on the client's thoughts and beliefs? Very much 5 4 3 2 1 Very little 4. To what extent does this session focus on embodied experience and personal meaning? Very much 5 4 3 2 1 Very little Session #2 1. To what extent does this session accurately represent a Rational Emotive orientation to therapy? Very accurately 5 4 3 2 1 Very inaccurately 2. To what extent does this session accurately represent a Constructivist orientation to therapy? Very accurately 5 4 3 2 1 Very inaccurately 3. To what extent does this session focus on the client's thoughts and beliefs? Very much 5 4 3 2 1 Very little 4. To what extent does this session focus on embodied experience and personal meaning? Very much 5 4 3 2 1 Very little 26

PAGE 33

APPENDIX B THERAPIST ATTITUDE QUESTIONNAIRE-SHORT FORM (TAQ-SF) 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Moderately Neither agree Moderately Strongly disagree disagree nor disagree agree agree 1. Reality is singular, stable and external to human experience. 2. Knowledge is determined to be valid by logic and reason. 3. Learning involves the contiguous or contingent chaining of discrete events. 4. Mental representations of reality involve accurate, explicit and extensive copies of the external world, which are encoded in memory. 5. It is best for psychotherapists to focus treatment on clients current problems and the elimination or control f these problems. 6. Disturbed affect comes from irrational, invalid, distorted or/and unrealistic thinking. 7. Clients resistance to change reflects a lack of motivation, ambivalence or motivated avoidance and such resistance to change is an impediment to therapy, which the psychotherapist works to overcome. 8. Reality is relative. Realities reflect individual or collective constructions of order to ones experiences. 9. Learning involves the refinement and transformation (assimilation and accommodation) of mental representation. 10. Cognition, behavior and affect are interdependent expressions of holistic systemic processes. The three are functionally and structurally inseparable. 11. Intense emotions have a disorganizing effect on behavior. This disorganization may be functional in that it initiates a reorganization so that more viable adaptive constructions can be formed to meet the environmental demands. 12. Psychotherapists should encourage emotional experience, expression, and exploration. 13. Clinical problems are current or recurrent discrepancies between our external environmental challenges and internal adaptive capacities. Problems can become powerful opportunities for learning. 27

PAGE 34

28 14. Awareness or insight is one of many strategies for improvement, however, emotional and/or behavioral enactments are also very important. 15. Therapists relationship with clients is best conceptualized as a professional helping relationship, which entails the service and delivery of technical, instructional information or guidance. 16. Psychotherapists relationship with clients can best be conceptualized as a unique social exchange, which provides the clients a safe supportive context to explore and develop relationships with themselves and the world. Reprinted with permission from Neimeyer, G.J., & Morton, R. J. (1997). Personal epistemologies and preferences for rationalist versus constructivist psychotherapies. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 10, 109-123.

PAGE 35

APPENDIX C MANIPULATION CHECK QUESTIONS FOR PARTICIPANTS 1. The session focused on the clients thoughts, cognitions and beliefs. Not at all 1 2 3 4 5 Very much 2. The session focused on the clients feelings, sensations and embodied experience. Not at all 1 2 3 4 5 Very much 29

PAGE 36

REFERENCES Arthur, A. R. (2000). The personality and cognitive-epistemological traits of cognitive behavioral and psychoanalytic psychotherapists. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 73, 243-257. Beronsky, M. D. (1994). Individual differences in self-construction: the role of constructivist epistemological assumptions. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 7, 263-281. Blascovich, J., & Tomaka, J. (1991). Measures of self-esteem. In J.P. Robinson, P.R. Shaver, & L.S. Wrightsman (Eds.), Measures of personality and social psychological attitudes. Measures of social psychological attitudes (pp. 115160). San Diego: Academic Press, Inc. Botella, L., & Gallifa, J. (1995). A constructivist approach to the development of personal epistemic assumptions and word views. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 8, 1-18. Chiari, G., & Nuzzo, M. L. (1996). Psychological constructivisms: A metatheoretical differentiation. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 9, 163-184. Diamond, S. R., & Royce, J.R. (1980). Cognitive abilities as expressions of three "ways of knowing." Multivariate Behavioral Research, 15(1), 31-56. DisGiuseppe, R. & Linscott, J. (1993). Philosophical differences among cognitive behavioral therapists: Rationalism, constructivism, or both? Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 7, 117-130. Erwin, E. (1999). Constructivist epistemologies and therapies. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 27, 353-364. Fry, P. S., & Charron, P. A. (1980). Effects of cognitive style and counselor-client compatibility on client growth. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 27, 529-538. Kramer, D. A., & Woodruff, D. S. (1986). Relativistic and dialectical thought in three adult age groups. Human Development, 29, 280-290. 30

PAGE 37

31 Lyddon, W. J. (1988). Information-processing and constructivist models of cognitive therapy: A philosophical divergence. The Journal of Mind and Behavior 9, 137166. Lyddon, W. J. (1989). Personal epistemology and preference for counseling. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 36, 423-429. Lyddon, W. J. (1990). Firstand second-order change: Implications for rationalist and constructivist cognitive therapies. Journal of Counseling & Development, 69, 122-127. Lyddon, W. J. (1991). Epistemic style: implications for cognitive psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, 28, 588-597. Lyddon, W. J., & Adamson, L. E. (1992). Worldview and counseling preference: An analogue study. Journal of Counseling and Development, 71, 41-47. Mahoney, M. J. (1991). Human change processes. New York: Basic Books, Inc. Mahoney, M. J., & Gabriel, T. J. (1987). Psychotherapy and the cognitive sciences: An evolving alliance. Journal of Cognitive Therapy: An International Quarterly, 1, 39-59. Mahoney, M. J., & Lyddon, W. J. (1988). Recent developments in cognitive approaches to counseling and psychotherapy. The Counseling Psychologist, 16, 190-234. Neimeyer, G. J., & Morton, R. J. (1997). Personal epistemologies and preferences for rationalist versus constructivist psychotherapies. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 10, 109-123. Neimeyer, G. J., Prichard, S., Lyddon, W. J., & Sherrard, P. A. D. (1993). The role of epistemic style in counseling preference and orientation. Journal of Counseling and Development, 71, 515-523. Okun, B. F. (1990). Seeking connections in psychotherapy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Polkinghorne, D. E. (1991). Two conflicting calls for methodological reform. The Counseling Psychologist, 19, 103-114. Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Royce, J. R. (1964). The encapsulated man: An interdisciplinary search for meaning. Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand.

PAGE 38

32 Royce, J. R., & Mos, L. P. (1980). Psycho-epistemological profile manual. Edmonton, Canada: University of Alberta Press. Royce, J. R., & Powell, A. (1983). Theory of personality and personal differences: Factors, systems, processes. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Shact, T. E., & Black, D. A. (1985). Epistemological commitments of behavioral and psychoanalytic therapists. Professional Psychology: Research and Practices, 16, 316-323. Schopflocher, D., & Royce, J. R. (1978). An item factor analysis of the Psycho Epistemological Profile. Unpublished masters thesis, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. Vasco, B. (1994). Correlates of constructivism among Portuguese therapists. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 7, 1-16. Vincent, N., & LeBow, M. (1995). Treatment preference and acceptability: Epistemology and locus of control. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 8, 81 96. Winter, D. A., & Watson, S. (1995). Personal construct psychotherapy and the cognitive therapies: Different in theory but can they be differentiated in practice? Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 12, 1-22.

PAGE 39

33 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on December 15, 1978. In 1982 my family moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, where I resided unt il I was eighteen years old and went off to college. I attended the University of Florida in 1997 majoring in psychology as an undergraduate. In 2001, I gradua ted with highest honors with a Bachelor of Science in psychology, with a minor in education. I joined the Department of Psychology at the University of Florida as a counseling psychology graduate student In August of 2001. I completed my Master of Science degree in December of 2002.


Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0000781/00001

Material Information

Title: The Effects of Epistemic Style On Therapy Preferences
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Copyright Date: 2008

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0000781:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0000781/00001

Material Information

Title: The Effects of Epistemic Style On Therapy Preferences
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Copyright Date: 2008

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0000781:00001


This item has the following downloads:


Full Text












EFFECTS OF EPISTEMIC STYLE ON THERAPY PREFERENCES


By

JOCELYN A. SAFERSTEIN
















A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2002
















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I extend a special thanks to all of my friends and family for their constant love

and support. I could not have completed this thesis project without the guidance of my

wonderful supervisor, Dr. Greg Neimeyer.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S .................................................................................................. ii

LIST OF TABLES ....................... ........ ............. ....... .. ...... ............... v

ABSTRACT ........ .............. ............. ...... ...................... vi

CHAPTER

1 IN TR OD U CTION .................. ............................ ............. .............. .

E pistem ic Style ............................................... ... .............................. 2
Epistemiology and Rationalist-Constructivist Therapies..................... ................5

2 M E T H O D S ................................................................10

P articip an ts ......... ..................................... ...........................10
In strum entation .................................................................10
Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale ............................................................... ............... 11
Therapist Attitude Questionnaire Short Form (TAQ-SF)............... ................11
Psychological-Epistemological Profile (PEP) ......................................................12
C ou n selling F av orab ility .................................................................. .................... 13
W written S crip ts ...................................................................... 14
P ro c e d u re ............................................................................ 14

3 R E S U L T S ..................................................................16

Prescreening ...................................................................................... ....................16
M manipulation Checks ...... .... .................................. ...... .......... 16
A n aly se s ......................... .....1 8........... .................

4 D ISCU SSIO N .............. ......... ...............................................................................22









APPENDIX

A GRADUATE STUDENTS' EVALUATION MEASURE FOR
REPRESENTATIVENESS OF THERAPY APPROACHES...............................26

B THERAPIST ATTITUDE QUESTIONNAIRE SHORT ........................................27

C MANIPULATION CHECK QUESTIONS FOR PARTICIPANTS .........................29

R E F E R E N C E S ........................................ ........................................................... .. 3 0

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E T C H ............................................................. ..........................33
















LIST OF TABLES


Table a

1 Epistemology (Rationalist/Metaphorist) by Therapy Orientation
(R ationalist/C onstructivist) ........................... ......... ......................... ............... 20

2 Correlation of Psychological-Epistemological Profile with Therapist
A attitudes Q questionnaire ....................... .. .... .............................. .. .... ............2 1
















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

EFFECTS OF EPISTEMIC STYLE ON THERAPY PREFERENCES

by

Jocelyn A. Saferstein

December, 2002

Chair: Dr. Greg J. Neimeyer
Department: Psychology

This study examined the relationship between epistemic style and therapy

preferences. A sample of 58 late adolescents who had been pre-screened for their

epistemic style (Rational, Metaphorical) listened to a therapy session depicting two

different therapeutic orientations (Rationalist, Constructivist) that focused on a self-

relevant topic (self-esteem and social anxiety).

Overall, results indicated that participants favored the Rationalist therapy

orientation over the Constructivist therapy orientation, but no interactions were found

between epistemic style and therapy preferences. Results are interpreted in relation to the

growing literature addressing the relationship between epistemic style and therapy

preferences.
















CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

An emergent area of interest in counseling psychology research explores the

philosophical underpinnings of many of the different approaches to counseling and

psychotherapy (Beronsky, 1994; DisGiuseppe & Linscott, 1993; Erwin, 1999; Lyddon,

1990; Mahoney, 1991; Mahoney & Gabriel, 1987; Mahoney & Lyddon, 1988; Okun,

1990; Polkinghorne, 1991; Vasco, 1994). More specifically, recent literature has

investigated the translation of "epistemology into practice," exploring the relationship

between philosophical commitments on the one hand, and theories and concepts related

to change processes, on the other (Arthur, 2000; Botella & Gallifa, 1995; Chiari &

Nuzzo, 1996; Lyddon, 1989, 1988). One expression of this work has begun looking at

how individual differences in philosophical beliefs might actually play a role in people's

preference for different therapy orientations (Lyddon & Adamson, 1992; Neimeyer &

Morton, 1997; Neimeyer, Prichard, Lyddon, & Sherrard, 1993; Royce & Mos, 1980;

Vincent & LeBow, 1995).

The ensuing framework that has developed from this growing literature explores

the possibility of there being a match between certain philosophical commitments and

preferences for particular therapies. For the past few decades, research investigating

models of client and counselor matching along a variety of characteristics has also been a

burgeoning area of study in the counseling field (Lyddon, 1989, 1991; Neimeyer &

Morton, 1997; Vincent & LeBow, 1995). According to this "matching hypothesis,"






2


clients tend towards rating counselors more favorably when they are matched with

therapists who have therapy orientations similar to their own particular cognitive and

attitudinal styles (Fry & Charron, 1980). The present study further explores this area of

matching by examining whether and individual's epistemic style predicts their

preferences for particular therapy orientations.

Epistemic Style

Royce has developed a long-standing line of research investigating people's

"ways of knowing" (1964; Diamond & Royce, 1980; Royce & Powell, 1983).

Throughout this extensive program of research Royce and his colleagues have developed

a conceptual model that specifies three fundamental classes of knowing. These three

primary approaches to knowing are referred to as the three epistemic styles: rationalism,

empiricism, and metaphorism.

Rationalism maintains the dominant assertion that thought has superiority over the

senses with regards to obtaining knowledge. Those with a rational epistemic style are

devoted to testing their views of reality in terms of logical consistency. The primary

underlying cognitive processes for the rational epistemic style include clear thinking and

rational analysis, as well as synthesizing different notions (Diamond & Royce, 1980;

Vincent & LeBow, 1995). Rationalists view pathology as stemming from irrational

emotions or behaviors that should and are able to be controlled by rational thought.

Cognitive-rational therapy depicts this process of deductively analyzing and rejecting

personal beliefs and arguments, while instead preferring a more rational option. In other

words, rationalism is the epistemological worldview that underlies cognitive-rational

therapy (Lyddon, 1989; Mahoney, 1991).









Empiricism is primarily concerned with sensory experience as the main way of

knowing, where people know to the extent that they perceive accurately. The empirical

view of knowledge is primarily inductive and determined mostly by the reliability and

validity of observations (Diamond & Royce, 1980; Vincent & LeBow, 1995).

Psychological problems are considered as learned and measurable dysfunctional

behavior, where the reduction of psychological distress would be attained through

behavioral contracting or conditioning which empiricists believe promotes changes in

affect and cognitions. In other words, empiricism is the epistemological worldview that

underlies behavioral therapy (Mahoney, 1991; Shact & Black, 1985).

The metaphorist perspective, however, sees knowledge not as firm nor rigid, but

rather as more flexible, and as embedded within individualistic and socially constructed

symbolic processes. Metaphorism thus takes the stance that reality is personal and

mutable, rather than fixed, and that individuals construct their bases of knowledge from

their personal learning histories, external experience, and their own personally

constructive processes (Vincent & LeBow, 1995). The metaphorist is further described

as testing the soundness of their perspective by the global or universal nature of their

knowledge. In addition, for the metaphorist, cognitive processes are symbolic in nature,

with both conscious and unconscious components (Diamond & Royce, 1980; Lyddon,

1989). People with metaphorical epistemic styles see psychological dysfunction as an

unsuccessful effort to change or develop, or an inability to adequately adjust to a situation

or circumstance. From this perspective, psychological dysfunction is viewed as a

perturbance in an individual's customary way of knowing, with emotional distress

reflecting a person's limited ability to adapt to life circumstances. The emphasis is









placed on adjustment and the novel construction of new ways of knowing within an

ongoing process of developmental change, rather than as a correction of dysfunction or

the restoration of a more valid correspondence between reality and one's view of that

reality (Mahoney, 1991; Vincent & LeBow, 1995). The metaphorist perspective is

depicted in constructivist therapy through the therapist's facilitation of the client's

perspective taking and the client's rendition of occurrences in an analogical style. In other

words, metaphorism is the epistemological worldview that underlies constructivist

therapy (Lyddon, 1989; Mahoney, 1991; Neimeyer, 1993; Neimeyer et al., 1993; Schact

& Black, 1985).

Royce's conceptual framework holds that the cognitive processes of perceiving,

conceptualizing, and symbolizing are interdependent processes, where the meaningful

convergence of these three processes makes up a person's view of reality or worldview.

Although interdependent, people tend to show a leaning towards a dominant epistemic

style (Royce & Mos, 1980; Royce & Powell, 1983). Thus, although knowing is

comprised of empirical, rational, and metaphorical component processes, there is a

hierarchical order to which people use these processes with one of the three tending to be

most dominant.

Thus, Royce's (1964) theory of knowledge and subsequent research paradigm has

revealed empirical support for these three basic theories of knowledge: Rationalism,

Empiricism, and Metaphorism. The instrument subsequently created by Royce and Mos

(1980), called the psychological-epistemological profile (PEP), was based on this

philosophical system. Initial research using the PEP looked at the relationship between

an individual's epistemic style and their occupations (Royce & Mos, 1980). Rationalists









tended to be found in the occupations of mathematicians and theoretical physicists,

empiricists tended to be found in the occupations of biologists and chemists, and

metaphorists tended to be found in the occupations of professional musicians and

dramatists.

Subsequent epistemological research and more specifically, matching hypothesis

studies, have continued to measure individual commitments to epistemic beliefs through

the use of the PEP (Arthur, 2000; Kearsley, 1976; Lyddon, 1989; Lyddon, 1991;

Neimeyer et al., 1993; Vasco, 1994; Vincent & LeBow, 1995). More recently, Arthur

(2000) found a significant difference between the metaphorists and the other two

epistemic styles (rationalists and empiricists) for therapy preference (cognitive behavioral

vs. psychoanalytic), where psychoanalytic and cognitive behavioral therapists differed

significantly on metaphorism and rationalists and empiricists did not. Additional

research has shown that the rational and empirical epistemic styles tended to reveal more

interdependence with each other than with the metaphorical epistemic style (Neimeyer et

al., 1993; Vincent & LeBow, 1995). In addition, Neimeyer et al. (1993) found that the

rational and empirical epistemic styles had few, if any, significant correlates to different

therapy orientations. Based on these findings, in the present study we did not include the

empirical epistemic style in the investigation and thus looked only at the rational and

metaphorical epistemic styles as they related to the rational and constructivist therapies,

an approach that extends previous research along similar lines.

Epistemology and Rationalist-Constructivist Therapies

Current research has looked at the distinctions within the field of cognitive

therapy. Mahoney and his colleagues pioneered this literature (1991; Mahoney &









Gabriel, 1987; Mahoney & Lyddon, 1988), which suggests a prominent philosophical

dimensions along which different cognitive therapies can be aligned; rationalist vs.

constructivist.

Rationalism argues that there is a single, stable, external reality, and that thoughts

are held superior to the senses when figuring out the accuracy of knowledge (Mahoney,

1991; Mahoney & Gabriel, 1987, Mahoney & Lyddon, 1988). Winter and Watson

(1999) further depict rationalists as believing that individuals passively perceive an

independently existing reality, and that with regards to therapy, clients are seen as

making cognitive errors, which causes them to have a less accurate perception of reality.

The therapist's role is thus to instruct the client to think more rationally, meaning to

accept the therapist's worldview. Thus, rationalist therapies are more persuasive,

analytical, and technically instructive than the constructivist therapies (Neimeyer, 1993).

Successful rationalist therapy occurs when clients are able to control their negative

emotions through rational thinking (Mahoney & Lyddon, 1988). Ellis' Rational Emotive

Therapy (RET) has been considered the approach that best depicts the rationalist

perspective (DisGiuseppe & Linscott, 1993; Mahoney, 1990). Lyddon (1989) further

notes that rationalist cognitive theories, due to their epistemological basis being a

commitment to reason and logical-analytic processes, depict a rational epistemic style.

Constructivism, however, argues that individuals are proactive in their personal

constructions of their realities. From this point of view, knowledge is comprised of

meaning making processes where the individual is in charge of organizing his or her

experiences. Constructivists believe that reality is not single, stable, nor external, and

instead assert that individual's feelings and actions cannot be meaningfully separated









from human thought (Lyddon, 1988; Mahoney, 1988, 1991; Mahoney & Gabriel, 1987;

Mahoney & Lyddon, 1988). Unlike rationalist therapists, Winter and Watson (1999)

point out that constructivist therapists see clients as taking a proactive position in

constructing their own personal realities. Thus, constructivist therapies are more

personal, reflective, and elaborative than the rationalist therapies (Neimeyer, 1993).

Additionally, Lyddon (1990) notes that contrary to the rationalist view of negative

emotions depicting problems that need to be controlled, constructivist therapists see

emotion as a playing a functional role in the change process and "encourage emotional

experience, expression, and exploration" (p.124). Thus, constructivist therapists attempt

to facilitate client's personal construction of new meanings in the context of a safe and

caring relationship. Lyddon (1989) further notes that constructivist cognitive theories,

due to the primacy placed on the construction and alteration of personal meanings, is

most representative of Royce's metaphorical epistemic style.

The influence of epistemic style on preference for rational and constructivist

therapies have been noted in recent research (Arthur, 2000; DisGiuseppe & Linscott,

1993; Lyddon, 1989; Mahoney & Gabriel, 1987; Neimeyer & Morton, 1997). The

primary implications of this research reveal an existing match between the rational

epistemic style and rational therapies, as well as between the metaphorical epistemic style

and constructivist therapies. Lyddon (1989) notes that, for example, people with a

dominant rational epistemic style tend to prefer rationalist therapy because rational

therapy facilitates clients approaching emotional and personal troubles in a rational and

logical way that is congruent with their ways of dealing with difficulties in other aspects









of their lives. This further suggests that a compatible worldview between client and

therapist could act as a crucial indicator of client preference for therapy.

The need for research in this area of a client's epistemic style (rational vs.

metaphorical) serving as a good indicator for therapy preference has been well

documented (Arthur, 2000; Berzonsky, 1994; Lyddon, 1989; Lyddon, 1991; Neimeyer &

Morton, 1997; Neimeyer et al., 1993; Vincent & LeBow, 1995). In particular, Arthur

(2000) notes that

"An area for further research is to investigate the predictive validity of these
personality and cognitive-epistemological patterns for orientation choice." (p.256)

Additionally, Vincent and LeBow (1995) found that a more tangible representation of the

therapy context, along with including a particular client issue, challenges the

generalizability of the matching hypothesis, suggesting the need to generalize these

findings to "real life" therapy.

When considering the findings of Royce and Mos (1980) that people tend to have

a leaning towards a dominant epistemic style, it naturally follows suit from the matching

hypothesis that the preferred match between client and therapist would consist of the

client's epistemology being reflected in the underlying epistemology of the therapy

orientation (Vincent & LeBow, 1995).

Thus, in the present study, we investigated the possible relationship between

epistemic style (rational vs. metaphorical) and therapy preference (rational emotive

therapy vs. constructivist therapy) in a specific context. Epistemic matching effects have

been found in relation to constructivist and rational therapies previously, but only in

paper-and-pencil contexts (Neimeyer et al., 1993). However, some work suggests that

the effects of epistemic matching may be lost as therapy depictions/presentations become









more detailed, focused, or "real life" (Vincent & LeBow, 1995). Vincent and LeBow

(1995) found that a tangible presentation of actual therapy approaches (rather than say, a

written description of them), along with the inclusion of a specified target problem, might

eclipse or "over-ride" the effects of epistemic matching, challenging its generalizability

into actual practice. Thus, in the present study we intentionally screened participants for

low levels of self-esteem, and asked them to listen to, and evaluate, two therapy sessions

dedicated to issues of social anxiety and self-esteem; one session depicted a constructivist

orientation and the other depicted a rationalist orientation. Our goal was to extend the

findings of Vincent and LeBow (1995), and we hypothesized accordingly that the use of

a more "real life" depiction of a therapy session, along with the personal relevance of the

therapy topic (i.e., self-esteem), might qualify the operation of the matching hypothesis.

Thus, our goal is to test the generalizability of these epistemic matching effects to an

analog therapy context in which participants listen to actual therapy sessions that depict

constructivist and rationalist therapy orientations in relation to a personally-relevant

presenting problem.
















CHAPTER 2
METHODS

Participants

Participants were volunteers from undergraduate general psychology courses who

agreed to volunteer for a study looking at "therapy perceptions." Participants were pre-

screened to assess their levels of self-esteem and therapeutic orientation preferences

(Rationalist versus Constructivist, see below). Next, participants whose scores met pre-

established cutoff points were called back to fill out the remaining questionnaires. The

final participants were 58 students (39 women and 19 men) (Mean age = 18.64 years, age

range = 18-21 years). The majority of the participants were Caucasian (67.3%), followed

by Hispanic (13.8%), African American (8.6%), Asian (1.7%), and other (8.6%).

Students participating in this study received course credits for their participation. All

sessions were held at the university's language lab with approximately 5-15 students run

in each one-hour administration, which were conducted in accordance with APA ethical

guidelines.

Instrumentation

Approximately 1,000 students taking the general psychology course were pre-

screened for both their levels of self-esteem, using Rosenberg's (1965) Self-Esteem Scale

(SES), and also for their philosophical leanings, using the DisGiuseppe and Linscott

(1993) Therapist Attitudes Questionnaire (TAQ), in a shortened form (as described in

Neimeyer & Morton, 1997).









Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale

The SES (1965) is a 10-item measure designed to assess levels of self-esteem.

Participants agree or disagree with each item using a 4-point Likert scale ranging from 1

(strongly agree) to 4 (strongly disagree), e.g., "I feel that I am a person of worth, at least

on an equal basis with others." This instrument was self-administered and designed to

take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete. Factor analytic studies of the measure's

construct and discriminant validity have supported the utility of the measure in relation to

the prediction of self-esteem using other categorical measures. In addition, the SES

contains items designed to minimize scale overlap but still retain high internal

consistency, Cronbach's c = 0.77 to 0.88 (Blascovich & Tomaka, 1991).

Therapist Attitudes Questionnaire-Short Form

The TAQ was developed by DisGiuseppe and Linscott (1993), designed assess

the philosophical, theoretical, and technical dimensions of the rationalist and

constructivist philosophies. The TAQ is a 38-item self-administered questionnaire that

takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. Of the 38 items, 16 items that represent the

rationalist philosophy, 16 items that represent the constructivist philosophy, and the

additional 6 items measure preferences for targeting client thoughts to be disputed early

in therapy. Each item on the TAQ is rated on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1

(strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).

The TAQ-SF, developed by Neimeyer and Morton (1997), is a revision of the

Therapist Attitudes Questionnaire (TAQ) developed by DisGiuseppe and Linscott (1993).

The TAQ-SF measures philosophical, theoretical, and technical dimensions of rationalist

and constructivist therapies. The instrument is self-administered, contains 16 items,









(eight items pertaining to a Rationalist commitment, e.g., "Reality is singular, stable and

external to human experience" and eight items pertaining to a Constructivist

commitment, e.g., "Reality is relative. Realities reflect individual or collective

constructions of order to one's experiences"), and takes approximately 5-10 minutes to

complete. Respondents were asked to rate the degree to which they agreed or disagreed

with each item on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly

agree). The TAQ-SF revealed the basic factor structure of the original TAQ and showed

its predictive validity by predicting the therapeutic identifications and descriptions of a

group of practicing professionals (Neimeyer & Morton, 1997).

Psychological-Epistemological Profile (PEP)

Royce and Mos (1980) created the PEP, which measures epistemic beliefs based

on Royce's (1964) theory of knowledge. The PEP assesses the epistemological

dimensions of Rationalism, Empiricism, and Metaphorism. For the present study, we

eliminated the items associated with Empiricism and retained only those items

corresponding with Rationalism and Metaphorism. There was thus a total of 32 items,

which required approximately 15 minutes to complete. Respondents were asked to

indicate on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (complete disagreement) to 5 (complete

agreement) the degree to which they agreed with each item. The 1980 manual (Royce

and Mos, 1980) reports strong split-half reliability (range = 0.77 to 0.88), and 9-month

test-retest reliability (range = 0.66 to 0.87) for each of the subscales, along with support

for the measure's concurrent and construct validity. Concurrent validity of the PEP was

revealed by its differentiation between various occupational and professional groups

thought to demonstrate specific epistemic profiles. Construct validity of the PEP has









been revealed through both an item factor analysis that corroborates its hypothesized

three-dimensional structure (Schopflocher & Royce, 1978) and also through theoretically

predicted relationships between the PEP and various occupational and interest scales

(Royce & Mos, 1980).

Counseling Favorability

To assess participant's preferences for each of the two counseling approaches

(Rationalist and Constructivist), participants completed an eight-question evaluation of

the therapy sessions adapted from Lyddon (1989) and Neimeyer et al., (1993). This

eight-item measure is comprised of three subscales: (1) Therapy Evaluation Measure, (2)

Session Evaluation, and (3) Therapy Style. Two questions make up the Therapy

Evaluation Measure subscale, which is used to assess participant's general ratings of the

session that they just listened to, e.g., "Overall, how would you evaluate this session?"

answered on a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (Poor) to 5 (Excellent). The three questions

that make up the Session Evaluation subscale, looks at how the participants perceive the

therapist in the session, e.g., "The therapist sounded knowledgeable and expert in

working with the client." from 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). The last three questions

make up the Therapy Style subscale, which is adapted from the Counseling Approach

Evaluation Form (CAEF; Lyddon, 1989), e.g., "What is the likelihood that you would

seek out this counseling approach if you desired counseling in the future?" from 1 (not at

all likely) to 5 (very likely). Although the CAEF has adequate stability (1-week test-

retest reliabilities range from 0.87 to 0.91) and internal consistency (alpha coefficients

range from 0.93 to 0.96), validity data are currently unavailable (Lyddon & Adamson,









1992). The sum of the items for each of the subscales was used as the dependent measure

for counseling favorability.

Written Scripts

Respondents were asked to read 2 scripts, one that depicted that Rationalist

approach and one that depicted the Constructivist approach to therapy. These scripts

were based on Mahoney's (1988; Mahoney & Lyddon, 1988) distinction between these

two approaches (Rationalist and Constructivist) and have been used in previous research

in this area (Lyddon, 1989; Neimeyer & Morton, 1997). Each script is approximately

one and a half pages (double-spaced) long and was developed to exemplify the

Rationalist and Constructivist counselor's approach to therapy for a new client. Lyddon

(1989) used expert raters to determine the extent to which each transcript faithfully

represented each approach to therapy. All raters were able to identify correctly the two

approaches with 100% accuracy, and both scripts were rated as highly representative of

their respective orientations (mean ratings ranging from 4.8 to 5.5), using a 5-point rating

scale (1 = low representativeness, 5 = high representativeness). Subsequent research

using these scripts has noted their ability to predict epistemic styles (Neimeyer et al,

1993). Participants in the present study were asked to read the script that corresponded to

the therapy approach that they would be listening to (Rationalist or Constructivist) prior

to hearing the audio recorded therapy session. This was done in an attempt to facilitate

the participant's understanding of the therapy approach they were about to hear.

Procedure

Participants prescreened for low levels of self-esteem and for epistemic style

(Rationalist or Constructivist), met at the university language lab. Clients were first









instructed to read brief one-page descriptions of each of the therapy approaches

(Rationalist and Constructivist). They were asked to listen to two pre-recorded audio

therapy sessions of a client dealing with issues of self-esteem. The same client and

therapist were heard in each of the therapy sessions; however the two sessions varied by

the type of approach (Rationalist or Constructivist) that the therapist used with the client

(manipulation checks were conducted on the tapes to determine the effectiveness of the

portrayals: see results). The order in which participants heard the tapes was

counterbalanced; half of the participants heard the Rationalist approach to therapy tape

first and the other half of the participants heard the Constructivist tape first. Directly

following each tape, participants were asked to complete the eight questions making up

the dependent measure of therapy preference, and then answer two questions that

constituted a manipulation check: (1) The session focused on the client's thoughts,

cognitions and beliefs, (2) The session focused on the client's feelings, sensations and

embodied experience. Finally participants completed the PEP, turned in their materials,

and read a short debriefing, describing the nature of the study.
















CHAPTER 3
RESULTS

Prescreening

Participants were pre-screened for their levels of self-esteem using the Self-

Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965), and for their philosophical leanings using the Therapist

Attitudes Questionnaire (DisGiuseppe & Linscott, 1993). Cutoffs were determined with

regards to self-esteem first, and then most extreme philosophical leanings (Rationalist or

Constructivist) were selected from those low self-esteem individuals. In an attempt to

recruit participants that would consider the tape-recorded sessions of a client dealing with

issues of low self-esteem as more self-relevant, selected participants had self-esteem

scores at or below the mean (M = 16.00, with scores ranging from 9-16), and

philosophical leanings that were most extreme (Rational M = 19.02, with scores ranging

from 19-32; Metaphorical M = 20.90, with scores ranging from 21-32).

Of the 1,013 prescreened participants, 51.0% (N=517) classified themselves as a

Rationalist, and 49.0% (N=496) classified themselves as a Constructivist using the

TAQ-SF (Neimeyer & Morton, 1997).

Manipulation Checks

Two manipulation checks were conducted to determine the representativeness of

the respective therapy orientations (Rationalist or Constructivist). First, five counseling

psychology graduate students were recruited to listen to each of the therapy sessions.

The graduate students' participation was voluntary, and they were asked to answer the









same four questions after hearing each session. Two questions related to how accurately

they thought the session represented Rationalist orientation, and two questions related to

how accurately they thought the session represented a Constructivist approach to therapy

(see Appendix A). Paired sample t-tests of the Rationalist/Constructvist questions,

revealed that graduate students rated the two questions depicting the Rationalist therapy

session significantly higher (M = 8.80) than they did the two questions depicting the

Constructivist therapy session (M = 4.40), t (3) = 4.68, P < 0.009. The same was true for

the graduate student's ratings of the Constructivist session; ratings of the two questions

depicting the Constructivist therapy approach were significantly higher (M = 8.00) than

the two questions depicting the Rationalist approach (M = 3.00), t (3) = -4.758, P <

0.009. Thus, the graduate students accurately perceived both Rationalist and

Constructivist approaches to therapy, supporting the representativeness of each of the

therapy approaches.

For the second manipulation check, we included the following two questions at

the end of the dependent measure of therapy preference that was completed by all

participants in the study: (1) "the session focused on the client's thoughts, cognitions and

beliefs" and (2) "the session focused on the client's feelings, sensations and embodied

experience." Participants answered these two questions after listening to the Rationalist

session and then after listening to the Constructivist session. This was done in an attempt

to assure that participants found the sessions to be representative of the particular

therapist's approach to therapy (Rationalist or Constructivist). Paired sample t-tests of

the questions revealed that participants listening to the Rationalist approach rated

question 1 significantly higher (M = 4.42, SD = 0.85) than participants listening to the









Constructivist approach (M = 2.87, SD = 1.23), t (1, 57) = 6.22, P < 0.001. The same

was true for question 2, where participants listening to the Constructivist approach to

therapy rated question 2 significantly higher (M = 4.39, SD = 0.84) than participants

listening to the Rationalist approach (M = 3.32, SD = 1.22), t (1, 57) = -3.63, P < 0.001.

Thus, participants accurately perceived both Rationalist and Constructivist approaches to

therapy.

Analyses

Of the 58 participants that met the prescreening cutoffs, 55.2% (N=32) classified

themselves as a Rational epistemic style, and 44.8% (N=26) classified themselves as a

Metaphorical epistemic style using the Psychological-Epistemological Profile (Royce &

Mos, 1980). Among the females in the sample, 20 were categorized as having Rational

epistemic style and 19 as having a Metaphorical epistemic style. For men, the numbers

were 12 Rational and 7 Metaphorical. No significant gender differences in the

distribution of epistemic style was found, Chi Square (1, 57) = .39, P > 0.05.

Primary analyses began with a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) in

order to examine the relationship between individuals' epistemic styles (Rational vs.

Metaphorical) and their preference for therapy orientation (Rationalist vs. Constructivist)

using the three dependent measures of therapy preference: Therapy Evaluation Measure,

Session Evaluation, and Therapy Style. The 2 epistemicc styles) X 2 (therapy preference)

mixed factorial MANOVA was conducted along the 6 subscale scores of counseling

favorability (adapted from Lyddon, 1989; Neimeyer et al, 1993). Table 1 depicts the

means and standard deviations of the conditions. Results of this 2 X 2 mixed factorial

MANOVA revealed a significant main effect for the therapy orientation, F (5, 53) =









128.81, P < 0.001, but no significant main effect for epistemic style, F (1, 57) = 0.24, P <

0.628. There was also no significant two-way interaction found between epistemic style

and therapy preference, F (5, 53) = 0.68, P < 0.641.

Thus, the Rational and Metaphorical epistemic styles did not rate the Rationalist

or Constructivist therapy sessions in a significantly different way. However, across the

three subscales, the Rationalist therapy session was rated significantly higher by the

Rational (M = 30.06, SD = 5.78) and Metaphorical (M = 30.39, SD = 4.95) epistemic

styles than the Constructivist therapy session was by the Rational (M = 26.59, SD = 6.34)

and Metaphorical epistemic styles (M = 27.58, SD = 6.60).

An additional analysis was done to compare participants' scores on the PEP and

the TAQ. Pearson Product Moment correlations revealed significant positive correlations

between the PEP Rational style and the TAQ Rational style, r = 0.28, P < 0.05, and the

PEP Metaphorical style and the TAQ Metaphorical style, r = 0.28, P < 0.05. In addition,

there was a significant negative correlation found between the PEP Metaphorical style

and the TAQ Rational style, r = -0.45, P < 0.01. Table 2 depicts this correlation table.


















Table 1
Epistemology (Rationalist/Metaphorist) X Therapy Orientation (Rationalist/Constructivist)


Epistemic Std.
style Mean deviation N
Therapy evaluation Rational 11.84 1.76 32
measure for Metaphorical 12.23 1.58 26
rationalist session
Total 12.02 1.68 58
Therapy evaluation Rational 10.84 2.46 32
measure for Metaphorical 11.35 2.67 26
constructivist session
Total 11.07 2.55 58

Session evaluation for Rational 8.03 1.56 32
rationalist session Metaphorical 7.92 1.44 26

Total
Total 7.98 1.49 58

Session evaluation for Rational 7.50 1.68 32
constructivist session Metaphorical 7.38 1.33 26

Total 7.45 1.52 58
Therapy style for Rational 10.19 3.38 32
rationalist session Metaphorical 10.23 2.94 26

Total 10.21 3.17 58
Therapy style for Rational 8.25 3.02 32
constructivist session Metaphorical 8.85 3.53 26

Total 8.52 3.24 58



















Table 2
Correlation of Psychological-Epistemological Profile with Therapist Attitudes Questionnaire



PEP rational PEP metaphorical TAQ rational TAQ metaphorical
PEP rational Pearson correlation 1.00 1.00 0.28* -0.14
epistemic style P value 1.00 0.66 0.04 0.30

N 58.00 58.00 58.00 58.00
PEP metaphorical Pearson correlation -0.06 1.00 -0.45** 0.28*
epistemic style P value 0.66 -- 0.00 0.04

N 58.00 58.00 58.00 58.00
TAQ rational Pearson correlation 0.28* -0.45** 1.00 -0.24
epistemic style P value 0.04 0.00 -- 0.07
N 58.00 58.00 58.00 58.00

TAQ metaphorical Pearson correlation -0.14 0.28* -0.24 1.00
epistemic style P value 0.30 0.04 0.07 --

N 58.00 58.00 58.00 58.00
Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).















CHAPTER 4
DISCUSSION

Overall, the results of the present study do not support our original hypothesis

regarding the effects of epistemic style on therapy preferences. Overall, participants

favored the Rational Emotive Therapy session more than they did the Constructivist

session, but this did not vary by the participants' epistemic style. Instead, results

revealed participants' epistemic styles (Rational vs. Metaphorical) did not "match" with

corresponding preferences for therapy orientation (Rationalist vs. Constructivist). One

explanation for this finding is the possibility that providing participants with a more "real

life" therapy context (i.e., audio recording) to evaluate, along with a personally relevant-

presenting problem (i.e., self-esteem, social anxiety) washed out the "matching" effects

that have been found in previous research (Fry & Charron, 1980; Lyddon, 1989). This

lack of finding a "matching hypothesis" in the present study supports the assertion of

Vincent and LeBow (1995), who stated that a more tangible presentation of actual

therapy approaches, with the addition of a specified target problem, could "over-ride" the

effects of epistemic matching. Future research should attempt to replicate these findings

to see if there are in fact, variations according to specified target problems and a more

real life therapy context. One possible avenue for further investigation would be to add

in a higher self-esteem group into the current conditions, to see if results tend to vary

according to degree of personal relevance of target problem. Another possibility would

be to add in another fully-crossed condition where participants rated the written









orientations prior to hearing the therapy session, at which point they rated the session that

they heard. This could potentially provide insight into the differences between the less

"real life" depictions (e.g., written descriptions) versus more "real life" therapy contexts

(e.g., audio recordings), as well as tapping how the degree of self-relevance (low vs. high

self-esteem participants) affects overall ratings of the therapy sessions.

The overall higher ratings of the Rationalist therapy session by both epistemic

styles across the three subscales could be interpreted as a result of (1) the participants

(non-clinical, adolescent population with a mean age of 18.64 years), or/and (2) the

nature of the target problem (self-esteem, social anxiety). With regards to the first

possible interpretation, Lyddon and Adamson (1992) suggested that a person's relative

philosophical commitments could be age related. Studies investigating adult cognitive

development reveal that during the late adolescent and early adulthood years, cognitive

development could be better seen as philosophical shifts in the direction of more

relativistic and dialectical thought (Kramer & Woodruff, 1986). Thus, the participants in

this study could have been more drawn to the Rationalist therapy orientation due to its

inherent claims of a more single, stable, external reality, rather than the more relativistic

claims inherent in the Constructivist therapy orientation.

An alternative explanation might be the participant's relative familiarity with

Rationalist versus, Constructivist therapy, which may, in turn, have affected their overall

favorability ratings.

A different explanation for the participants' higher ratings of the Rationalist

therapy session might focus on the target problem of self-esteem/social anxiety issues

that were presented in the therapy sessions. Perhaps Rationalist therapy orientations









present with a more plausible initial treatment (first session) than the Constructivist

therapy orientation does. Future research could address these various possibilities by (1)

testing different age groups, such as older adults who could possibly have more concrete

philosophical beliefs, and (2) assessing prior knowledge concerning Rationalist and

Constructivist therapies, and (3) comparing different target problems that have self-

relevance to participants (e.g., body image concerns).

Fortunately, the present study does suggest the potential utility of the PEP and

TAQ in future research efforts similar to those presented in this study. The correlations

found between these two measures of epistemology provide support for their

representativeness of the Rational and Metaphorical epistemic styles.

There are some limiting aspects of this study that compromise the external

validity of the findings. First, the analogue design of the study, while possibly closer to a

"real life" therapy session than a written description, still cannot be interpreted as

equivalent to an actual client-therapist experience. Second, the use of a non-clinical

sample population additionally limits the generalizability of these findings into the actual

therapy context. Thus, the findings of this study should be seen as preliminary and

awaiting future research in actual clinical trials.

Another limiting factor to the present study is the representativeness of the two

therapy orientations in the session. Although, we were careful to assess for the

representativeness of each orientation, the subjective nature of the therapist's presentation

of the two orientations could still pose a problem with regards to the accuracy of the

therapist's representations in each of the sessions.









However, despite the apparent limitations in the present study, the study does

contribute to the preliminary understanding of the relationship between epistemic style

and preferences for particular therapy orientations. More specifically, the current study

extends the findings of Vincent and LeBow (1995), who stated that with regards to the

matching hypothesis, "additional moderating variables may be potentially important in

kind and degree" (p.93). This opens up a fruitful area of research to investigate the

potential role that specific self-relevant issues play in matching a client's epistemic style

with their preferences for therapy orientations. In addition, this study highlights the

importance of future investigations looking at the generalizability of this research into

real-life therapy contexts, and what role this matching actually plays in therapy outcomes.
















APPENDIX A
GRADUATE STUDENTS' EVALUATION MEASURE FOR
REPRESENTATIVENESS OF THERAPY APPROACHES

Session #1

1. To what extent does this session accurately represent a Rational Emotive orientation
to therapy?
Very accurately 5 4 3 2 1 Very inaccurately

2. To what extent does this session accurately represent a Constructivist orientation to
therapy?
Very accurately 5 4 3 2 1 Very inaccurately

3. To what extent does this session focus on the client's thoughts and beliefs?

Very much 5 4 3 2 1 Very little

4. To what extent does this session focus on embodied experience and personal
meaning?
Very much 5 4 3 2 1 Very little

Session #2

1. To what extent does this session accurately represent a Rational Emotive orientation
to therapy?
Very accurately 5 4 3 2 1 Very inaccurately

2. To what extent does this session accurately represent a Constructivist orientation to
therapy?
Very accurately 5 4 3 2 1 Very inaccurately

3. To what extent does this session focus on the client's thoughts and beliefs?

Very much 5 4 3 2 1 Very little

4. To what extent does this session focus on embodied experience and personal
meaning?
Very much 5 4 3 2 1 Very little

















APPENDIX B
THERAPIST ATTITUDE QUESTIONNAIRE-SHORT FORM (TAQ-SF)

1 2 3 4 5
Strongly Moderately Neither agree Moderately Strongly
disagree disagree nor disagree agree agree

1. Reality is singular, stable and external to human experience.

2. Knowledge is determined to be valid by logic and reason.

3. Learning involves the contiguous or contingent chaining of discrete events.

4. Mental representations of reality involve accurate, explicit and extensive copies of the external
world, which are encoded in memory.

5. It is best for psychotherapists to focus treatment on clients' current problems and the
elimination or control f these problems.

6. Disturbed affect comes from irrational, invalid, distorted or/and unrealistic thinking.

7. Clients' resistance to change reflects a lack of motivation, ambivalence or motivated avoidance
and such resistance to change is an impediment to therapy, which the psychotherapist works to
overcome.

8. Reality is relative. Realities reflect individual or collective constructions of order to one's
experiences.

9. Learning involves the refinement and transformation (assimilation and accommodation) of
mental representation.

10. Cognition, behavior and affect are interdependent expressions of holistic systemic processes.
The three are functionally and structurally inseparable.

11. Intense emotions have a disorganizing effect on behavior. This disorganization may be
functional in that it initiates a reorganization so that more viable adaptive constructions can
be formed to meet the environmental demands.

12. Psychotherapists should encourage emotional experience, expression, and exploration.

13. Clinical problems are current or recurrent discrepancies between our external environmental
challenges and internal adaptive capacities. Problems can become powerful opportunities for
learning.










14. Awareness or insight is one of many strategies for improvement, however, emotional and/or
behavioral enactments are also very important.

15. Therapists' relationship with clients is best conceptualized as a professional helping
relationship, which entails the service and delivery of technical, instructional information or
guidance.

16. Psychotherapists' relationship with clients can best be conceptualized as a unique social
exchange, which provides the clients a safe supportive context to explore and develop
relationships with themselves and the world.









































Reprinted with permission from Neimeyer, G.J., & Morton, R. J. (1997). Personal
epistemologies and preferences for rationalist versus constructivist
psychotherapies. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 10, 109-123.
















APPENDIX C
MANIPULATION CHECK QUESTIONS FOR PARTICIPANTS

1. The session focused on the client's thoughts, cognitions and beliefs.

Not at all 1 2 3 4 5 Very much

2. The session focused on the client's feelings, sensations and embodied experience.

Not at all 1 2 3 4 5 Very much
















REFERENCES


Arthur, A. R. (2000). The personality and cognitive-epistemological traits of cognitive
behavioral and psychoanalytic psychotherapists. British Journal of Medical
Psychology, 73, 243-257.

Beronsky, M. D. (1994). Individual differences in self-construction: the role of
constructivist epistemological assumptions. Journal of Constructivist
Psychology, 7, 263-281.

Blascovich, J., & Tomaka, J. (1991). Measures of self-esteem. In J.P. Robinson, P.R.
Shaver, & L.S. Wrightsman (Eds.), Measures ofpersonality and social
psychological attitudes. Measures of social psychological attitudes (pp. 115-
160). San Diego: Academic Press, Inc.

Botella, L., & Gallifa, J. (1995). A constructivist approach to the development of
personal epistemic assumptions and word views. Journal of Constructivist
Psychology, 8, 1-18.

Chiari, G., & Nuzzo, M. L. (1996). Psychological constructivisms: A metatheoretical
differentiation. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 9, 163-184.

Diamond, S. R., & Royce, J.R. (1980). Cognitive abilities as expressions of three "ways
of knowing." Multivariate Behavioral Research, 15(1), 31-56.

DisGiuseppe, R. & Linscott, J. (1993). Philosophical differences among cognitive
behavioral therapists: Rationalism, constructivism, or both? Journal of Cognitive
Pychthe/ipy, 7, 117-130.

Erwin, E. (1999). Constructivist epistemologies and therapies. British Journal of
Guidance & Counselling, 27, 353-364.

Fry, P. S., & Charron, P. A. (1980). Effects of cognitive style and counselor-client
compatibility on client growth. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 27, 529-538.

Kramer, D. A., & Woodruff, D. S. (1986). Relativistic and dialectical thought in three
adult age groups. Human Development, 29, 280-290.









Lyddon, W. J. (1988). Information-processing and constructivist models of cognitive
therapy: A philosophical divergence. The Journal of Mind and Behavior 9, 137-
166.

Lyddon, W. J. (1989). Personal epistemology and preference for counseling. Journal of
Counseling Psychology, 36, 423-429.

Lyddon, W. J. (1990). First- and second-order change: Implications for rationalist and
constructivist cognitive therapies. Journal of Counseling & Development, 69,
122-127.

Lyddon, W. J. (1991). Epistemic style: implications for cognitive psychotherapy.
P.yh Ih,,1/wy, 28, 588-597.

Lyddon, W. J., & Adamson, L. E. (1992). Worldview and counseling preference: An
analogue study. Journal of Counseling and Development, 71, 41-47.

Mahoney, M. J. (1991). Human change processes. New York: Basic Books, Inc.

Mahoney, M. J., & Gabriel, T. J. (1987). Psychotherapy and the cognitive sciences: An
evolving alliance. Journal of Cognitive Therapy: An International Quarterly, 1,
39-59.

Mahoney, M. J., & Lyddon, W. J. (1988). Recent developments in cognitive approaches
to counseling and psychotherapy. The Counseling Psychologist, 16, 190-234.

Neimeyer, G. J., & Morton, R. J. (1997). Personal epistemologies and preferences for
rationalist versus constructivist psychotherapies. Journal of Constructivist
Psychology, 10, 109-123.

Neimeyer, G. J., Prichard, S., Lyddon, W. J., & Sherrard, P. A. D. (1993). The role of
epistemic style in counseling preference and orientation. Journal of Counseling
and Development, 71, 515-523.

Okun, B. F. (1990). Seeking connections in py 1ih ,l /,/g y'. San Francisco:
Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Polkinghome, D. E. (1991). Two conflicting calls for methodological reform. The
Counseling Psychologist, 19, 103-114.

Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press.

Royce, J. R. (1964). The encapsulated man: An interdisciplinary search for meaning.
Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand.









Royce, J. R., & Mos, L. P. (1980). Psycho-epistemological profile manual. Edmonton,
Canada: University of Alberta Press.

Royce, J. R., & Powell, A. (1983). Theory of personality and personal differences:
Factors, systems, processes. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Shact, T. E., & Black, D. A. (1985). Epistemological commitments of behavioral and
psychoanalytic therapists. Professional Psychology: Research and Practices, 16,
316-323.

Schopflocher, D., & Royce, J. R. (1978). An item factor analysis of the Psycho
Epistemological Profile. Unpublished master's thesis, University of Alberta,
Edmonton, Canada.

Vasco, B. (1994). Correlates of constructivism among Portuguese therapists. Journal of
Constructivist Psychology, 7, 1-16.

Vincent, N., & LeBow, M. (1995). Treatment preference and acceptability:
Epistemology and locus of control. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 8, 81
96.

Winter, D. A., & Watson, S. (1995). Personal construct psychotherapy and the cognitive
therapies: Different in theory but can they be differentiated in practice? Journal
of Constructivist Psychology, 12, 1-22.
















BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on December 15, 1978. In 1982 my family moved

to St. Petersburg, Florida, where I resided until I was eighteen years old and went off to

college.

I attended the University of Florida in 1997 majoring in psychology as an

undergraduate. In 2001, I graduated with highest honors with a Bachelor of Science in

psychology, with a minor in education.

I joined the Department of Psychology at the University of Florida as a

counseling psychology graduate student In August of 2001. I completed my Master of

Science degree in December of 2002.