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Experiential construct elicitation

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Experiential construct elicitation using focusing to access more meaningful constructs
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EXPERIENTIAL CONSTRUCT ELICITATION:
USING FOCUSING TO ACCESS MORE
MEANINGFUL CONSTRUCTS













BY

STEPHEN D. PITTMAN


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1997














ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


There are many people who have provided me with

support, guidance, and friendship throughout the years in my

journey to obtain this degree to whom I am grateful: to the

entire faculty of the Counseling Psychology program and the

Albany Psychology Internship Consortium, who have created

environments where students are treated as colleagues and

given ample opportunity to grow into that distinguished

company; to Dr. Maggie Labarta who taught me how to practice

outside the sheltered walls of academia and became a dear

friend; to Dr. Franz Epting who has inspired my thought and

guided my steps throughout graduate school; to my wife,

Anita, who has held my hand, given me the strength to

complete my goals, and carries in her love the promise of

tomorrow; and, to my parents, Gene and Faye Pittman, who

have always stood by me with unwavering love and support.

To these people, and to many other friends, teachers, and

clients I wish to express my deepest gratitude.

















TABLE OF CONTENTS


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .

LIST OF TABLES .

LIST OF FIGURES ..


ABSTRACT .


CHAPTERS


I INTRODUCTION .. .......


II LITERATURE REVIEW ....

Physiologic Aspects of Emotional
Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy
Preverbal Constructs. .


Awareness


Construct Meaningfulness and Superordination
Arguments for an Experiential Constructivism
Rational for the Present Study .
Hypotheses .


III METHOD 47


Preliminary Study ....
Subjects .
Materials .
Measures of Meaningfulness .
Procedure .


IV RESULTS .

Statistical Analyses Design .
Results of Statistical Analyses .
Further Post Hoc Analysis .


. 67
. 68
. 87


. ii

. v


. 10
. 15
. 27
. 33
. 38
. 43
. 45


.









V DISCUSSION .. .89

Effects of Elicitation Procedure on the Overall
Level of Meaningfulness .. .90
Changes in Meaningfulness Across Trials .. .93
Elicitation X Gender X Trial Interaction .. .95
Comparing the Measures of Meaningfulness: Extremity
and Importance Rating 98
Concluding Remarks 100

APPENDICES

A PRELIMINARY STUDY RESULTS .. .103

B REPERTORY GRID INSTRUMENT .. .105

C CONSTRUCT MEANINGFULNESS RATING SCALE .. .119


REFERENCES .. 120

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .. 125














LIST OF TABLES


Table page

1. ANOVA for Elicitation, Sex, and Trial main
effects and interactions using extremity for
Hypothesis 1. 69

2. Extremity scores: Elicitation X Sex X Trial. 70

3. Average extremity score per Element: Elicitation
X Sex X Trial. ... 72

4. ANOVA for Standard elicitation by Sex X Trial. .75

5. ANOVA for Imagery elicitation by Sex X Trial. .76

6. ANOVA for Focusing elicitation by Sex X Trial. .77

7. ANOVA for Elicitation, Sex, and Trial main
effects and interactions using importance rating
for Hypothesis 1. ... 79

8. ANOVA for pairwise comparisons using importance
rating for Hypothesis 1. ... 80

9. Importance rating scores: Elicitation X Trial. 81

10. ANOVAs testing Hypothesis 2 using difference scores
for extremity and importance rating scores. 84

11. Extremity difference scores: Elicitation X Sex. 85

12. Importance rating difference scores: Elicitation
X Sex. ... .86

13. Pearson correlations for extremity ratings and
importance rating matched by trial. ... 87








LIST OF FIGURES


Figure
page

1. Average extremity ratings by Elicitation X Sex X
Trial for all elicitation procedures. ... 74

2. Mean extremity ratings by Sex X Trial for Standard
elicitation .... .75

3. Mean extremity ratings by Sex X Trial for Imagery
elicitation .. 76

4. Mean extremity ratings by Sex X Trial for Focusing
elicitation .. 77

5. Importance rating scale by Elcitation X Trial 82














Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



EXPERIENTIAL CONSTRUCT ELICITATION:
USING FOCUSING TO ACCESS MORE
MEANINGFUL CONSTRUCTS

By

Stephen D. Pittman

May, 1997


Chairperson: Franz R. Epting, Ph.D.
Major Department: Psychology

This study investigates the application of experiential

awareness techniques to construct elicitation. The

elicitation of personal constructs is used to gain better

understanding of a person's means of interpreting the world,

and is a standard practice in constructivist oriented

psychology. Various constructivists have called for using a

more experiential approach to clinical practice and

research. It was proposed that using an experiential

approach to the repertory grid procedure would lead to the

elicitation of constructs which are more meaningful for the

person. Eugene Gendlin's Focusing technique was adapted to

the grid procedure in an effort to enhance experiential

vii








awareness and facilitate the verbalization of that

awareness.

A sample of 42 undergraduate students completed

repertory grids using one of three procedures: standard

triadic elicitation; guided imagery elicitation; and

Focusing elicitation. The meaningfulness of the elicited

constructs was measured using a rating of perceived

construct meaningfulness and by the extremity of construct

ratings regarding various people.

The hypothesis that Focusing would elicit more

meaningful constructs overall was supported by the

importance rating dependent variable, but not by the

extremity score dependent variable. A second hypothesis,

that Focusing would lead to participants producing

progressively more meaningful constructs in latter

elicitation trials, was not supported by either dependent

variable. There was also an unexpected Elicitation X Sex X

Trial interaction noted for extremity scores. Specifically,

extremity scores for participants in the guided imagery

control group tended to be influenced by the Sex and Trial

independent variables. It is argued that this may have been

due to differences in males' and females' reactions to the

various tasks presented in the guided imagery script.

The results of this study do support the call for

fostering experiential awareness in assessment and

viii








psychotherapy. However, there is a need for a greater

understanding of the concept of construct meaningfulness and

its measure. Gendlin's Focusing procedure and other

techniques which function to enhance experiential awareness

may prove to be valuable tools for constructivist clinicians

and researchers. Further study is needed in order to better

understand the uses and benefits of enhancing experiential

awareness in clinical practice and research.














CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION




Over the past few years, constructivist approaches to

psychology have had an increasingly influential impact on

psychological theory and psychotherapy. This interest is

perhaps best demonstrated by the American Psychological

Association's recent publication of Constructivism in

Psychotherapy (Neimeyer and Mahoney, 1995), which is likely

to serve as an introduction to constructivist thinking and

techniques to many students and practitioners in the field

of psychology. Aspects of a constructivistic approach were

evident in the work of Alfred Adler and many of the early

existentialists. However, there was not a formalized

constructivist theory until the seminal work of George Kelly

and his publication of the text that laid the foundation for

constructivist approaches, The Psychology of Personal

Constructs: A Theory of Personality (Kelly, 1955).

Kelly's approach was a radical departure from the

prevailing theories of the day, most notably behaviorism and

psychoanalysis. Instead of seeing individuals as being

directed by external reinforcers or unconscious drives,










Kelly viewed people as teleologic scientists who actively

seek out an understanding of their environment through their

interaction with it. He coined the term "man as scientist"

(Kelly, 1955) to describe the experimental process by which

an individual formulates hypotheses in order to anticipate

events, and tests those hypotheses by examining the

outcomes. This examination leads to confirmation,

disconfirmation, or elaboration of one's hypotheses, and

allows the individual to construct a working theory of the

world which guides one's future actions.

An underlying assumption which is central to Kelly's

Personal Construct Psychology, and to constructivist

approaches in general, is that people access their

environment only through the interpretation of their

perceptions. Thus, people function based on their

interpretations of their perceptions of reality rather than

on reality itself. Since no one has direct access to a

concrete reality, constructivist psychologists do not

propose to correct faulty cognitions or teach correct ways

of thinking as cognitive psychologists might. Instead, they

focus their efforts toward gaining a fuller understanding of

an individual's hypotheses and anticipations about the

world, otherwise referred to as a person's construct system.

By developing an understanding of a person's construct

system, researchers and clinicians hope to understand how it








3

is that one functions in the world and to assist individuals

in their efforts to modify behaviors and emotions.

Kelly (1955) proposed that an individual's

constructs are organized in a hierarchical structure, with

some constructs being superordinate in the construct system.

These superordinate constructs would have greater

implications to the rest of the construct system than would

subordinate constructs, and thus, would be more meaningful

in the individual's interpretation of the world and the

self. It is usually with these more meaningful constructs

that psychotherapy clients require assistance during the

course of therapy (Epting, 1984). However, it is also these

more meaningful constructs that are most resistant to change

(Kelly, 1955; Leitner, 1984). Oftentimes, superordinate

constructs may be preverbal (Epting, 1984), and thus

difficult to identify and understand utilizing verbal tools.

Constructivists have long sought means of gathering

information about superordinate constructs. Hinkle (1966)

developed a technique, laddering, which continues to prove

useful in eliciting a string of constructs which extends

into superordinate constructions (Neimeyer, R., 1993).

Another approach has been to use questions about the

implications a construct has to how a person views the world

to elicit more meaningful constructs (Neimeyer, R., 1993).

These methods, as well as standard repertory grid










elicitation, are limited in that they depend on the

subject/client having a pre-existing verbal label for the

construct dimension being described, and thus, are limited

to constructs to which one already has a cognitive

representation.

Contemporary theorists in humanistic psychology

(Gendlin, 1996) and constructivist psychology (Greenberg &

Pascual-Leone, 1995, and Guidano, 1995 a) have called for

the utilization of experiential methods to the processes of

therapy and assessment. They argue that experiential

methods will allow subjects/clients to go beyond the level

of cognitive awareness they already possess and to verbalize

insights which they previously did not know how to

verbalize.

Eugene Gendlin speaks of looking past those answers of

which one is already aware, and using one's ability to

reflect upon the lived experience, of searching for a path

to guide one to the words that most accurately reflect the

lived experience (Gendlin, 1995). In attempting to describe

this experiential level of awareness and the struggle to

match it with words, Gendlin likens the process to the

experience of writing a poem. One may produce the first few

lines with little effort; but, at a point one struggles for

the correct words. Words come to the poet, but they are not

the right words. The poet knows that they are not the right










words, even though she does not know what the right words

are, because at an experiential level there is an awareness

that has not yet been verbalized. Upon finding the words

that fit the experiential knowledge, the poet feels a sense

of ease (Gendlin, 1995). After reflecting on Gendlin's

words, I pose the following query to myself: If I ask a

question to which a person is readily able to provide an

answer, have I helped that person learn more about himself?

Gendlin has developed a specific technique for

promoting the exploration and verbalization of experiential

awareness which he calls "Focusing" (Gendlin, 1969, 1971,

1983, 1996). Focusing is a technique which teaches the

individual to attend to emotional and physical responses in

conjunction with intellectual responses. In an earlier

publication I proposed applying Gendlin's Focusing technique

to Kelly's repertory grid procedure in an effort to elicit

more meaningful constructs (Epting, Probert, & Pittman,

1993).

In a subsequent study, I (Pittman, 1993) hypothesized

that utilizing the Focusing technique during the assessment

procedure of construct elicitation would lead to the

elicitation of more meaningful constructs and negate a well

established pattern for the level of meaningfulness to

decline across repeated trials (McDonagh & Adams-Webber,

1987). Constructs were elicited using an abbreviated form










of Focusing. The Focusing elicited constructs were compared

to constructs elicited by standard triadic elicitation and a

progressive relaxation elicitation.

I found marginal support for the negation of the

decline in meaningfulness, but the hypothesis that Focusing

would generate more meaningful constructs was not supported.

Analysis of the results appeared to indicate that sampling

error and an uncontrolled confound had an impact on the

analysis of the data and increased the probability of a Type

II error. The sampling error was evident in that the

results of the first elicitation were measured as markedly

less meaningful for the Focusing group than for the two

control groups, despite all three groups being subject to

identical conditions for the first elicitation.

The data from this initial study also produced an

unexpected result that appeared to add to the error

variance, thus increasing the probability of a Type II

error. This was evident in that the meaningfulness levels

of the experimental and control groups varied systematically

in a pattern that seemed to indicate that the stimuli used

for construct elicitation, various groups of three persons

the subject personally knew (triadic sorts), affected the

level of meaningfulness of the elicited construct. This was

an unexpected result and had not been the subject of

previous study. Subsequently, a colleague and I (Calbeck










and Pittman) have conducted a study to examine this effect

(noted in Chapter III and Appendix A).

Upon further reflection on the 1993 study, and upon

receiving further training in Focusing with Dr. Gendlin and

others at the Focusing Institute during the summer of 1993,

it was evident that the Focusing procedure would be more

likely to have an impact on the elicitation process if it

were taught on an individual basis, rather than in the group

format utilized in the previous study. Further

investigation was warranted into attempts to increase the

level of meaningfulness by using experiential methods,

specifically the Focusing procedure.

The results of the 1993 experiment (Pittman, 1993) and

the study regarding the effect various triadic sorts have on

the measured levels of meaningfulness of elicited constructs

were utilized to refine the experimental process. The

information garnered from the triadic sorts study was

utilized to reduce error variance in this study. I also

conducted the Focusing training and construct elicitation on

an individual basis and in a less structured manner in an

attempt to adhere more closely to Gendlin's presentation of

Focusing procedure and to maximize the effect of this

experiential intervention. The specific application of the

experiential techniques to repertory grid procedure may

prove valuable in that it may aid in the elicitation of more








8

meaningful or previously nonverbalized constructs. The

verbalization of one's experience is not only a process of

discovery (assessment), but is simultaneously a process of

elaboration as well. As such, it is a therapeutic process

in its own right. Should this experiment indicate that the

Focusing procedure does provide an avenue for gaining a

greater understanding of a person's more meaningful

constructs, it would support the current calls for more

experientially based therapeutic interventions and research,

and provide clinicians with evidence that experiential

methods, such as Focusing, can be valuable assessment and

therapeutic tools.















CHAPTER II
LITERATURE REVIEW




In this chapter I will review the literature which is

pertinent to the application of an experiential technique,

specifically a modified version of Eugene Gendlin's Focusing

technique, to the construct elicitation assessment process.

Initially, this review will give a brief overview of

philosophical positions regarding the relationship between

the mind and the body. There is then an overview of some of

the major body oriented psychotherapy approaches, primarily

Gestalt and Bioenergetics. I then provide a description of

Eugene Gendlin's experientially based approach to

psychotherapy, Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy, and the

Focusing procedure. The final three sections deal with

aspects of constructivism. I will discuss the nature of

preverbal constructs and the importance unverbalized

constructs play in psychotherapy. Next, there is a

discussion of construct meaningfulness and hierarchy, which

includes issues regarding the measurement of these

characteristics. The final literature review section

examines the call for a more experientially oriented










constructivist psychology. These somewhat diverse content

areas are brought together in order to provide a foundation

for the application of an experientially based intervention

to the repertory grid assessment procedure.



Physiological Aspects of Emotional Awareness



The physiologic reactions of clients to emotion have

played a role in psychotherapy since its inception. It was

the presentation of bodily symptoms which did not fit known

anatomical characteristics, such as glove anesthesia, which

first led the physician, Sigmund Freud, to explore a talking

cure. The nature of the relationship between the mind,

body, and psychological processes has been the subject of

philosophical debate since the time of Aristotle and Plato.

Each theory of psychology is predicated on its explanation

of the mind-body relationship. Two general camps of belief

are used to describe this relationship, dualism and monism.

Dualism, the belief in a distinct split between the

mind and the body, is based in Platonic thought. One

variation of dualism views the mind as the central feature

of humanity, with the body playing a secondary role (Leahy,

1987). This is the underlying philosophical position seen

in early psychodynamically oriented theories as well as

newer approaches, such as Psychobiological Psychotherapy










(Rossi, 1990). A divergent form of dualism, one based on

Cartesian philosophy, relegates consciousness to the realm

of epiphenomena and gives primacy to physiological

processes. This philosophy is at the root of motor

theories, such as Classical Behaviorism and Radical

Behaviorism (Leahy, 1987).

The monistic philosophical position, which can be

traced back to the teachings of Aristotle (Leahy, 1987),

views the body and mind as operating as an integrated

entity. In reflecting upon the draw of seeing human

existence dualistically versus monistically, George Kelly

wrote,

what is mind can hardly be construed except
in ways that are intellectualizedd,' and what is
'body' can hardly be construed by him except in
ways that are 'mechanical.' He cannot construe
his facts comprehensively except as he goes back
to the earliest forms of preverbal thinking. Only
at that primitive level may we find that the
'mind' and the 'body' were not preemptively
separated. (Kelly, 1955, p.921)

The nineteenth and twentieth century existential

philosophers such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, and

Merleau-Ponty strongly influenced modern monistic approaches

(Shaffer, 1978), including Existential psychotherapy,

Gestalt psychotherapy, and a wide array of humanistic

approaches. A consideration of physiological processes is

often incorporated into their approaches to psychotherapy.

A brief overview of various bodily oriented approaches may










provide a catalyst for the utilization of experiential

techniques.


Gestalt Approaches


Gestalt approaches have been described as "supremely

experiential" in that the therapist places a strong emphasis

on the client's physiological reaction and focus on the

"moment-to-moment flow of awareness" (Shaffer, 1978, p.87).

Two concepts central to the practice of Gestalt therapy are

to help the client recognize and accept all of the various

aspects of oneself, and to take responsibility for oneself

and one's actions. Typically, a Gestalt therapist may

keenly observe a client's bodily reactions and direct the

client's attention to those reactions in order that the

reactions may become therapeutic vehicles. A Gestalt

therapist may direct a client to exaggerate a curled-up

posture or the tapping of a foot. The client and therapist

then explore the meaning behind the bodily reaction in

relation to issues being explored in the therapy session.

Gestalt therapists consider body movement to symbolize an

unconscious level of awareness (Shaffer, 1978).

Gestalt theorists differentiate between intelligent

awareness and psychophysical awareness. Kempler (1973)

notes that these two types of awareness are "distinctly

different and inseparable" (p. 259). He describes these










types of awareness as being unified at birth, but later

splitting as a result of the civilizing process and the

development of the ability to conceptualize. Kempler argues

that, once this splitting has occurred, a single event can

be experienced in two distinct ways. The individual may

have awareness on one level, and simultaneously have no

awareness on the other level. Kempler further notes that

intelligent awareness can modify or distort an experience

through the use of conceptual understanding, while

psychophysical awareness offers the experience in its

unmodified form. He contends that it is the aim of therapy

to help the client bring these levels of awareness into

correspondence with each other.

Gestalt Therapy responds to coordinated
psychophysical awareness and does not respect
intelligent awareness when it functions
independently. When they are separated, the
Gestalt therapist listens to intelligent awareness
with one ear while searching with the other for a
message from psychophysical awareness. Gestalt
Therapy talks to intelligent awareness as though
it were a messenger boy being instructed to return
to the company in which it works to deliver
information. Part of the work of Gestalt Therapy
is to coordinate intelligent and
psychophysiological awareness wherever they are
found alienated from one another. (Kempler, 1973,
p. 260)

More recent variations of the Gestalt approach, such as

Edward Smith's Embodied Psychotherapy (Smith, 1990), place

an even greater emphasis on developing physiological

awareness.










Lowen's Bioenergetics


Alexander Lowen (1975), under the influence of his

mentor Wilhelm Reich, developed a therapeutic approach which

utilizes physiological awareness as a means to psychological

intervention. Reich proposed that emotional repression or

blockage is expressed as muscular tension, a phenomenon he

termed "character body armor," (Shaffer, 1978). Lowen went

on to propose that psychological change must be accompanied

by a change in the bodily experience, stating "unfortunately

information does not become knowledge unless it has

relevance to experience. We constantly overlook the fact

that experience is a bodily phenomenon. One only

experiences that which takes place in the body" (Lowen,

1975, p.62). Lowen viewed adults as functioning on two

levels simultaneously, one with physiologic awareness and

one with a psychic awareness (1975, p.142). He reported

that many of his patients complained of physical pain as

well as emotional discomfort. Lowen found that, by using

physical techniques to first accentuate then relieve the

physical pain, his patients would frequently become aware of

repressed emotional pain. This emotional pain was then

addressed by way of additional physical interventions as

well as more conventional verbal therapy. Lowen considered

the estrangement of the psychic and physiologic levels of








15

awareness to be a central obstacle to the patient's ability

to resolve life problems. While some therapists continue to

practice Bioenergetic therapy, other clinicians and

researchers have taken different approaches to bridging the

schism between psychic and physiologic awareness.



Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy



Humanistic theories have the common element of a belief

in an innate tendency for humans to grow and develop toward

higher, or healthier, functioning. Kelly argues that the

force for this growth, motivation, is an inherent aspect of

the human condition (Kelly 1955). With his Choice

Corollary, "A person chooses for himself that alternative in

a dichotomized construct through which he anticipates the

greater possibility for extension and definition of his

system" (Kelly, 1963, p. 64), Kelly provides an explanation

for the mechanism and direction of growth.

Eugene Gendlin argues that while not all human

processes necessarily lead to healthier functioning, there

is an innate and fundamental process by which growth and

development occur. He further points out that this process

must be trusted and that the therapist must not attempt to

impose values on the content of the individuals experience.










We do not need a metaphysical assumption that
human process always moves toward health. We do
not want sloppy optimism. With so much suffering
and destructiveness all around us, optimism is an
insult to those who suffer. But pessimism is an
insult to life. Life always has its own forward
direction, whatever else may also be occurring.
To follow or encourage a growth direction is
very different from promoting a set of values, an
idea of 'good' or 'bad.' Contents do not stay
static. What seems bad soon opens and alters what
we think is bad. Therefore good and bad must be
rethought just as all notions of content must be
rethought.
Theory cannot direct the process we are
discussing because it has its own direction. But
theory (a new kind of theory) can find the
'direction' even though it is not definable in
terms of its content. (Gendlin, 1996, p.23)


Gendlin has developed an approach to a psychotherapy

which fosters and utilizes this growth direction. He has

referred to this approach as "Experiential Psychotherapy"

(Gendlin, 1969, 1973, 1978) and, more recently, as

"Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy" (Gendlin, 1996). His,

approach is deeply experiential and places strong emphasis

on awareness of the present and self-responsibility.

In the middle nineteen-sixties, Gendlin began

developing a psychotherapy and personal growth technique he

called "Focusing" (Gendlin, 1964, 1969, 1973, 1981, 1986,

1996). Focusing is designed to match verbal labels with a

person's experiential awareness of the moment.

Gendlin notes that most people have become disembodied

in their daily lives.








17

When thinking is cut off from the other kinds of
experience, it is called intellectualizingg' and
brings little psychological change. Most people
do not know that an experientially connected kind
of thinking is even possible. We have been taught
to think at a great distance from experience.
Even when we want to think about a specific
experience, we often leave our direct sense of it
behind, in order to think about it. As soon as we
have one thought about it, we think from that
thought to another and another, without ever
returning to the experience to see if our thoughts
do justice to it. (Gendlin, 1996, pp.240-41)


This intellectual knowing without experiencing limits one's

ability to take a fresh perspective or create a new way of

being. According to Gendlin, "experiencing is always more

intricate than concepts" (Gendlin, 1996, p.268). The lived

bodily experience goes beyond the language symbols people

have available for expressing thought. In an earlier work

where he discussed the philosophical aspects of meaning,

Gendlin stated, "meaning is formed in the interaction of

experiencing and something that functions symbolically.

Feeling without symbolization is blind; symbolization

without feeling is empty" (Gendlin, 1990, p.5).

Gendlin's approach relies on a level of awareness which

he calls a "felt sense," a level of consciousness where an

experience is available but not yet in conscious awareness.

What I am referring to is the layer of the
unconscious that is likely to come up next. This
is at first sensed somatically, not yet known or
opened, not yet in the 'preconscious.' Freud had
no term for this layer. Nor has there been a term
for it in the common language. We now call it a
'felt sense.' (Gendlin, 1996, p.19)













As a heretofore undefined entity, the felt sense

requires a great deal of explanation. The felt sense is a

level of awareness that goes beyond what is known

intellectually, and is more encompassing than the mere

experience of physical and emotional reactions.

Experience is often thought of as if it consisted
only of feelings, interactions, cognitions,
memories, actions, images, and so on. But is it
really divided into these neat little packages?
The felt sense is an experiential mesh that is
not divided. At the conscious-unconscious border
zone one senses the ongoing experiential process,
and it is always implicitly intricate. That means
it includes a whole range of images, feelings,
actions, and so on that have never happened as
such, but could come. (Gendlin 1996, p.174)


The felt sense is a total awareness which encompasses

what is known intellectually, felt physically, and

experienced emotionally; "A felt sense contains a maze of

meanings, a whole texture of facets, a Persian rug of

patterning--more than could be said or thought" (Gendlin,

1996, p.58). There are eight characteristics of a felt

sense:

1. A felt sense forms at the border zone between
conscious and unconscious.
2. The felt sense has at first only an unclear
quality (although unique and unmistakable).
3. The felt sense is experienced bodily.
4. The felt sense is experienced as a whole, a
single datum that is internally complex.
5. The felt sense moves through steps; it shifts
and opens step by step.
6. A step brings one closer to being that self
which is not any content.








19

7. The process step has its own growth direction.
8. Theoretical explanations of a step can be
devised only retrospectively. (Gendlin, 1996,
p.24)



Most people do not look to the felt sense when

thinking about their experience. From Gendlin's

perspective, the ability to experience oneself in a lived,

bodily sense is crucial to psychological health and

psychotherapy; psychological maladjustment is "the loss of

touch with one's inward experience" (Gendlin, 1973, p.331).

Gendlin and his colleagues have reported several

studies which indicate that the degree to which one is able

to experience the therapeutic process on a "whole body"

level, versus a "cognitive only" level, and to work on the

edge of what is known and unknown, is highly associated

with the degree of success one will experience in therapy

(Gendlin 1969, 1973, 1996; Mathieu-Coughlan & Klein, 1984).

This ability to experience one's state of felt existence

was found to be a strong predictor of therapeutic outcome;

the more able one is to experience this felt existence and

explore the edge of one's awareness of meaning, the more

likely one is to have a successful therapeutic outcome.

In its most basic form, Focusing-Oriented Therapy

relies on the following process: The client is taught

Focusing and develops or enhances an ability to experience

a present holistic awareness. This awareness leads to more










authentic living, and authentic living is the goal of

Focusing-Oriented psychotherapy.

Focusing is a method of inquiry of one's bodily sense

in order to gain further understanding and articulate what

is going on in one's life. Gendlin notes that when he uses

the word "body," he means the body "as sensed from inside"

(Gendlin, 1996, p.181). He contends that people utilize

body based knowing daily without bringing bodily knowing

into consciousness.

Your body feels the complexity of each situation,
and enacts much of what you do all day without
your needing to think about each move. What you
think is of course important, but you can think of
only a few things at one time. It is your body
that totals up the whole situation and comes up
with appropriate actions most of the time. Human
bodies live immediately and directly in each
situation. (Gendlin, 1996, p.181)


In order to develop and capitalize on this body based

awareness, Gendlin teaches his clients the Focusing

procedure. Once a client has learned the Focusing

procedure, the procedure can be used as a self-

awareness/personal growth exercise or be used as a

technique to aid in psychotherapy. Once a client is

skilled at Focusing, the client may choose to utilize only

selected steps of the procedure for any given experience.

Ideally, a person who has learned Focusing will utilize a

Focusing approach daily to enhance awareness of one's

experience.








21

Focusing is a six "movement" procedure. The following

is a summary of the movements and their instructions:


First Movement: Clearing a space.

The client may be instructed to, "Ask yourself, 'How

do I feel? Why don't I feel wonderful right now? What is

bugging me on this particular day?" The client is then

instructed to "Stay quiet. Listen. Let what comes come,"

and to passively let any and all currently troublesome

issues to accumulate on a list without giving priority to

any particular one. The client does this in a detached

manner until one feels that the troublesome thoughts are

all listed. An alternative approach that is highly

effective, but somewhat startling, is to have the client

say, "Everything in my life is perfect just the way it is,"

and observe all of the thoughts that arise about those

things that are not perfect.

The focusing client is then asked to "step back"

emotionally from the troublesome thoughts, acknowledging

that the thoughts are concerns, but giving oneself

permission not to be concerned about these things right

now. The "clearing a space" step is complete when the

focuser can comfortably say, "except for those, I am fine."


Second Movement: Felt sense of the problem.

The client chooses a concern or feeling to focus on,

and then asks oneself, "What does this whole thing feel








22

like?" The most difficult part of this movement is getting

past the details, self-talk, and attempts at figuring out

an answer to the problem. One must "stand back" from

trying to solve the problem and just observe until getting

a sense of "what does this whole thing feel like?". It is

important that one is able to gain a safe distance from the

problem so as to not be overwhelmed by it and to be able to

observe it. Gendlin notes that a felt sense "will have a

certain bodily quality, such as, jumpy, heavy, sticky,

jittery, or tight. At times the bodily quality might best

be described in words that are also the names of emotions,

for example scared, shameful, or guilty" (1996, p.59). A

felt sense is not just a bodily sensation, but is a bodily

felt awareness about something. Gendlin explains that even

though a felt sense might be best described by the names of

emotions, the felt sense is not the same as an emotion.

The felt sense conveys much more than an emotion.

The first and main difference between an emotion
and a felt sense is that an emotion is
recognizable. We usually know just what emotion
we have. When we are angry, sad, or joyful we not
only feel it but we know what it is. But with a
felt sense we say, 'I can feel it, right there,
but I don't know what it is.' A felt sense has
its own meaning, but it is usually more intricate
than we can express with the usual phrases and
categories. (p.58)


Third Movement: Finding a handle.

The task during this movement is to find a word or

image, a "handle," which will capture the quality of the








23

felt sense. The goal is to translate the experience of the

awareness provided by the felt sense into a symbol (verbal,

visual, auditory) that will capture the essence of that

experience. What one is after is the "core" of the felt

sense, the crux of "all that" which is contained in the

felt sense. Gendlin likens the "handle" of a felt sense to

a more familiar object, "As with the handle of a suitcase,

which brings with it the whole weight of the suitcase, the

whole weight of the felt sense is brought forward by that

one word or phrase when one repeats it to oneself"

(Gendlin, 1996, p.48). As words or other types of symbols

come up, the felt sense might start to change. It may feel

different than expected, different from anything that might

have arisen from rational analysis. When the felt sense

changes, when there is a slight bodily shift, one has found

a "handle" for the felt sense.


Fourth Movement: Resonating between the handle and the

felt sense.

In this movement, one checks the "fit" between the

word label and the felt sense. Either or both may shift

during this process until they feel just right together.

To do this, one must maintain contact with the bodily felt

sense, and not let it go as soon as a verbal label is

found. Once the match between the felt sense and the word

are just right, one pauses for a minute or two to allow the

body to adjust to this new awareness.










Fifth Movement: Asking.

While patiently staying in touch with the felt sense,

one now asks the felt sense for a fuller understanding of

the problem. The following questions have been found to be

helpful--"What is it about this whole problem that makes me

so ?", "What is the worst of this?", or "What would

it take for this to feel OK?". If the felt sense provides

an answer which leads to a deeper understanding, there will

also be a shift in the bodily felt sense which feels good.


Sixth Movement: Receiving.

The awareness or message that arises from the focusing

exercise is welcomed, no matter what it is. If one takes

a "receiving" attitude, welcoming anything that comes with

the body shift yet staying a little distance away from it,

one will not be overwhelmed by the message. The result of

any Focusing is to be considered a starting point for

further exploration, not as a definitive answer which

precludes further exploration (Gendlin, 1981, pp. 52 61).



These movements constitute the basic components of

Focusing. After one learns the process, Focusing can

proceed as a continuous flow of awareness, openness, and

moving forward into new awareness. Once a client is

familiar with Focusing, it can be utilized in conjunction

with practically any other therapeutic technique.










What can be achieved through these Focusing steps is

that one can tap into a greater level of awareness than is

available at a purely cognitive level, and by capturing

this awareness in words or other symbols, can bring this

awareness to the cognitive level. Doing so not only

changes one's cognitive awareness, but also changes the way

the issue is experienced on a bodily felt level. Gendlin

refers to Focusing as "a conversation between the felt

sense and the cognitive side" (1996, p. 238). He contends

that cognition is only one level of many levels of

organizing performed in the human experience.

Once a symbolic handle has been found for the felt

sense and there has been a shift in the awareness and

experience, the person has been carried forward in the

direction of growth. This carrying forward allows for

different subsequent experiences and fuller awareness.

For Gendlin (1996), pathology occurs when an

individual is blocked from being carried forward toward

further experiencing. This is similar to Kelly's (1955)

notion that the key to healthy psychological functioning is

to continue to revise one's construct by means of lived

experimentation. One aspect of Gendlin's approach that is

particularly ripe for further experiencing and continuing

revision of one's view of oneself in the world is that it

invites unpredictability in the lived experience.










Focusing is both an active and a passive endeavor

simultaneously. While one very actively attends to the

felt sense, one does not attempt to direct the path of this

process. That the person Focusing allows whatever

experience and awareness that presents itself to arise

provides an opportunity for unexpected insights and

understandings to present themselves. In this situation,

the individual's potential for growth and resolution of

problem areas can meet with novel concepts which have not

been channelized by prior attempts to resolve the problem.

It is this openness to novel and unexpected facets of

awareness coupled with utilization of the felt sense that

makes Gendlin's approach unique and an exciting prospect

for further application. In his earlier work (1969, 1981)

Gendlin emphasized the step by step mechanics of teaching

the Focusing procedure. He later applied Focusing to dream

interpretation (Gendlin, 1986). In his most recent book

(Gendlin, 1996), Gendlin places less emphasis on the

mechanics of Focusing, and instead emphasizes reliance on

the felt sense and an openness to new experience as a

fundamental approach which can be utilized in a wide

variety of therapeutic approaches.

In 1984, Epting (p.19) suggested that it may be

fruitful for Constructivists to adopt Gendlin's Focusing

technique as a means to gain greater access to poorly

articulated or unarticulated constructs. Greenberg and










Pascaul-Leone (1995) have recently reissued this call to

use the felt sense to gain a fuller understanding of

constructs. Bradford, in discussing Gendlin's experiential

approach to psychotherapy, points out that fundamental to

Gendlin's approach is ". the insight that words and

concepts emerge from a preconceptual dimension of embodied

feeling;" a dimension which is seen as being "primordial to

any theoretical vocabulary" (Bradford, 1989, p. 242).

Perhaps using the felt sense and an experiential approach

can provide a valuable tool for constructivists' use in

therapy and assessment. Such an approach may provide

access to preverbal and/or superordinate constructs in a

way that will promote greater extension and definition of

an individual's construct system.



Preverbal Constructs


George Kelly proposed that much of one's construct

system is comprised of constructs which have no consistent

word symbol, or "preverbal constructs" (Kelly, 1955, pp.

459-61). And, that even when a construct does have a

verbal label, the verbalization is only a cognitive symbol

of the construct and not the construct itself. Kelly

(1955, p.565) argued that constructs which are preverbal

may have been devised prior to the individual developing a

command of speech, or may have been devised before the

capacity for verbal symbolization was present. Expanding










on this concept, Epting (1984, p.18) contends that

preverbal constructs may be loosely formulated, new, or may

have been formulated prior to the person having command of

the use of verbal symbolization.

Mahoney (Neimeyer, R. and Mahoney, M., 1995) speaks of

"powerful and mostly nonlinguistic processes of human self-

organization," which he and others have termed "Core

Ordering Processes." These core ordering processes

function in a manner which "render perceptual and

experiential order itself and, hence, pattern, meaning, and

experienced reality. ." (Neimeyer, R. and Mahoney, M.,

1995, p. 403). It is these core, and often preverbal,

constructs which hold particular interest in the pursuit of

therapeutic intervention and/or gaining an academic

understanding of human personality and change processes.


For the most part, the material dealt with in
psychotherapy will center around what is termed
role governing core. These are the subset of core
constructs which deal with the way we relate to
others through establishing role relationships
with them. Much of the material here, however may
not be well verbalized owing to the early age at
which it was established. Eptrir,, 1984, p. 47)

Developing an awareness and understanding of these

core constructs is crucial in the development of a role

relationship in which the therapist can subsume the

construct system and gain an understanding of the client's

construction of experience. Bringing these core constructs

to a level of awareness to which they can be symbolically










represented by words, and thus communicated, can be a key

component of the therapeutic process.


change usually starts at the preverbal level
and the client later becomes articulate in the
therapy room There is frequently however a
great deal of grappling with the material at a
preverbal level before the client can grasp what
is going on at the verbal level and thereby truly
encounter the change that is taking place.
(Epting, 1984, pp. 111-112)

R. Neimeyer (1995), Liotti (1987), and others note

that the classic view of resistance as being a maladaptive

barrier to therapeutic change is not the view held by

constructivists; instead, constructivists understand

"resistance" as the client's attempt to maintain one's core

constructs in an effort to maintain the sense of self.

Maintaining the core constructs allows the individual to

experience a consistency throughout a wide variety of lived

experiences and allows the person to utilize a multitude of

past experiences in anticipating future perceptions of

reality.

From a constructivist perspective, the interpretation

of new events, the development of new meanings, and the

evolving sense of who one is in the world is built on the

foundation of one's core constructs. Many of these core

constructs are likely to be composed of constructs formed

early in the developmental process and are likely to be

preverbal. Given that one sees the world through the

lenses of one's own construct system, and that each new










construct is developed through the perspective of the

already existing system, it is vital that a therapist gain

an understanding of this foundation which is so resistant

to change, rather than to simply try to impart a "better"

way of being. Even if a clinician were to "succeed" at

breaking through the resistance and invalidating a

problematic means of thinking about the world, such an

imposed dismantling of the core constructs would be likely

to throw the client into a phenomenological chaos. This

underscores the importance of the therapist becoming

familiar with and respecting the core of a client's

construct system before attempting to facilitate

substantive change.

As of yet, constructivists continue to struggle to

gain access to core constructs and little has been done to

specifically address those constructs which may be

preverbal (Neimeyer, R., 1993). The frustration of not

being able to access the core of the construct system

during the therapeutic process is demonstrated by a

personal journal passage quoted by Robert Neimeyer

(Neimeyer, R., 1995, p.232) in which his client "Mandy"

described her experience of completing a repertory grid:

The result of my reptest .I am disappointed.
Reflected is my superficial public self; I could
not tap my inner core. As I write this I sense an
enmeshment with that inner being the self I
have much to learn from. In public, I am
separated from it I hide from myself. As I
completed the grid in group my inner self begged
for more time for a safe place to think and










feel I had none at that moment. I am left
with what I know; the grid reflected only what I
fed it. I contemplate the separateness of my
being. What does it feel like to be whole?
(Something in this line has moved me to tears).


Neimeyer went on to cite Yorke's observation that perhaps

"it is difficult for meaning to pass through the linguistic

constrictions of the grid matrix" (Yorke, 1989, p.65).

In a prior publication, R. Neimeyer presented the use

of the stream of conscious technique, an approach similar to

Freudian free association, as a means to access more

meaningful constructs. In his depiction of a therapy

session with "Joan P.," his application of "stream of

conscious" is strikingly similar to aspects of Gendlin's

Focusing procedure:

.We then used some progressive muscle
relaxation techniques to induce the streaming
state, after which I quietly invited her to begin
sharing whatever came to her awareness whenever
she was ready to do so. Over several minutes,
Joan began by associating first to relationships,
then to Gene, then to a strong feeling of anger,
and then to a 'knot' in her stomach, at which
point she paused. I encouraged her simply to
repeat the word knot aloud several times. As she
did this, she seemed to become more angry, tensing
her fists and feet until she suddenly fell silent.
She expressed the feeling of being 'stuck in the
knot' and unable to enter it further. I then
suggested that she simply allow her mind to wander
once again to whatever drew her attention. She
relaxed for a moment and then associated to
Colorado, horses, riding horses, feeling free,
wanting to be free, experiencing herself as not
free, imagining herself behind bars, and then
returning to anger. .. (Neimeyer, R., 1993,
pp. 93)










Clearly, Neimeyer's creating a calm environment through

relaxation, then directing Joan P. to transition between the

felt experience of a knot in her stomach to the use of the

word "knot," to allow her mind to "wander," accepting

various, seemingly unrelated associations, runs parallel to

the Focusing movements of Clearing a Space, Felt Sense of

the Problem, Finding a Handle, and Resonating.

Neimeyer's depiction of this intervention continued

with aspects that led to cognitively incorporating this

experience into a fuller understanding of the self. This

passage bears striking similarity to the Focusing steps of

Asking, and Receiving.

We noted the compelling contrast of her image of
herself as locked behind bars versus riding freely
on a horse, which seemed to represent a powerful
preverbal construct for her. We also described
the tightness of the knot and her sense of being
entrapped within it. She remarked that a part of
her was screaming to get out of this prison and
commented that this may have been the part of her
that wanted to live. She contrasted this with the
part of her that felt trapped, suffering, and
wanted to die. Thus our first use of streaming in
therapy seemed to yield useful understanding of
the constructions that she continued to attach to
the incest experience .. (Neimeyer, R., 1993,
pp. 93-4)


This therapeutic episode demonstrates that an intervention

similar to Focusing can serve as a powerful tool in gaining

access to preverbal constructs and fostering therapeutic

insight into levels of meaning previously hidden from

cognitive awareness.










Construct Meaningfulness and Superordination


In presenting his Theory of Personal Constructs, Kelly

proposed that construct systems are organized in

hierarchical systems of superordinate and subordinate

constructs.

Organization Corollary: Each person character-
istically evolves for his convenience in
anticipating events, a construction system
embracing ordinal relationships between
constructs. (Kelly, 1963, p.56)


Kelly described this ordinal relationship as functioning in

a system "composed of complementary superordinate and

subordinate relationships" (Kelly, 1963, p.68). At the

highest levels of this hierarchy are the core constructs

". which govern a person's maintenance processes, .

those by which he maintains his identity and existence"

(Kelly, 1955, p.482). Landfield (1977) notes that the more

superordinate a construct is, the more wide ranging are its

implications to, and its meaningfulness in, one's processes

of anticipating future events.

Constructivists have long sought to gain an

understanding of hierarchical ordination and the associated

levels of meaningfulness of construct systems. In his 1993

article, Constructivist Approaches to the Measurement of

Meaning, R. Neimeyer (1993) reviewed several techniques

available to clinicians for gaining a better understanding

of a client's construct contents and organization. However,








34

no single measure has yet been developed which can be viewed

as the definitive measure of construct ordination and/or

meaningfulness.

As I reported in a previous study (Pittman, 1993), one

factor that causes some confusion in this area of study is

the lack of clarity regarding the concepts of meaningfulness

and superordination.

The terms "meaningfulness" and superordinationn"
have been used interchangeably to describe one
aspect of personal constructs, when they actually
describe two separate aspects. In Personal
Construct Theory, the term "meaningfulness" is a
functional characteristic which denotes the degree
of implication a construct has on the rest of the
personal construct system; the term
superordinationn" denotes a structural
characteristic of one's personal construct system.
Although these terms have been used
interchangeably, they are not synonymous. The
current state of the research in this area has not
yet provided methods for separating these two
factors; it is assumed that they are very highly
correlated and when one studies meaningfulness, by
implication one is studying superordination, and
vice-versa. (Pittman, 1993, p.24)


Liotti considered the functional and organizational aspects

to represent "two sides of the same coin" (Liotti, 1987,

p.92). Thus, for the purpose of the current study, measures

of ordination will be assumed to imply meaningfulness, and

measures of meaningfulness will be assumed to imply

ordination.

One of the few studies to directly compare measures of

ordination/meaningfulness was conducted by Metzler and G.

Neimeyer (1988). They compared six different measures of










ordination applied to vocational hierarchies. Metzler and

G. Neimeyer reported that Cochran's Implicit Measure and a

Total Variance measure accounted for the most variance among

the measures of ordination in their study of vocational

hierarchies. The Implicit Measure was produced by the level

of correlation between ratings of provided vocational

constructs and a rank ordering of vocational preferences.

These measures were followed by Explicit (a subject

generated rank ordering) and the Extremity score. Metzler

and G. Neimeyer concluded that the Implicit measure and

Total Variance measures are the best omnibus measures of

ordination. They cautioned however that these various

methods may measure different facets of construct

ordination; thus they advise the utilization of multiple

measures.

As I have noted previously (Pittman, 1993), the two

strongest measures identified by Metzler and G. Neimeyer,

Implicit and Total Variance, are measures which are

dependent upon the constructs being measured falling within

a unidimensional system, such as vocational choices.

However, when constructs are elicited without being

artificially limited to a unidimensional construct

subsystem, there is a strong likelihood that the elicited

constructs will have a low degree of intercorrelation. This

is predicted by Kelly's Fragmentation Corollary: "A person

may successively employ a variety of construction subsystems










which are inferentially incompatible with each other"

(Kelly, 1963, p.83). Thus it follows that the Implicit and

Total Variance measures are not appropriate measures of

superordination/meaningfulness when the construct system

being examined is multidimensional, as is the case when

constructs are not limited to a given topic.

It can also be argued that the Explicit rating, which

is a subject generated rank-ordering according to importance

or meaningfulness, does not adequately accommodate the multi

dimensionality of unfettered construct elicitation. The act

of rank ordering imposes a linear relationship with one

construct, by definition being either more or less

meaningful than the other elicited constructs. However,

with the multi dimensionality predicted by the Fragmentation

Corollary, one could have multiple constructs at similar

levels of superordination which would have no direct

relationship upon one-another. Therefore, it would seem

reasonable to modify the Explicit measure in such a way that

the individual can subjectively rate the level of

importance/meaningfulness and accommodate the multi-

dimensionality of one's construct system. It appears that a

Likert type rating which does not force the ratings into a

linear arrangement would accomplish this task.

The third measure noted by Metzler and G. Neimeyer,

extremity, was first reported by Landfield (1965, 1968). He

found that when subjects are asked to rate persons










(elements) as to the degree they are like either end of a

bipolar construct (e.g., happy sad), they tend to make

their ratings more toward the extreme ends of the scale if

the construct is a more meaningful construct in their

construct system. Mancuso and Eimer (1982) proposed the

following explanation for this pattern:



.when a judge uses a construct as a bipolar
rating scale ne would think of the extreme ends of
the constructs as the location of the prototype.
.we would expect that the familiar persons
might be prototypical persons. Thus, in this
case, as in other studies of meaningfulness and
range, one could conclude that meaningfulness is
associated with the availability of prototypes.
If the features that define a construct are
clearly organized in the judge's system, he will
be more likely to have available a prototype
against which to contrast the range of events that
might be proximate to that prototype. (p.147)


The extremity of one's ratings on a construct is measured

by the absolute value of the deviations of the ratings

from the midpoint of the scale (Mitterer & Adams-Webber,

1988). By simultaneously using the extremity of ratings

and a Likert type importance-rating of construct

meaningfulness, one should be able to obtain an indication

of subjects' construct system ordination. That is to say,

these measures should give an indication as to the level

of construct meaningfulness represented in the particular

sample of constructs elicited from the participants.

An additional feature that has been noted in studies

of construct meaningfulness is that constructs that are

elicited early in the repertory grid procedure tend to be








38

rated as more meaningful and have higher extremity scores

than constructs elicited late in the elicitation process.

McDonagh and Adams-Webber (1987) found that constructs

elicited early in a repertory grid elicitation tend to be

more meaningful and have greater implications than

constructs elicited toward the end of the procedure.




Arguments for an Experiential Constructivism


In the recently published Constructivism in

Psychotherapy (R. Neimeyer & M. Mahoney, Eds., 1995), there

are multiple calls by various authors to take

constructivist psychology toward a more experiential

direction. However, there has always been an interest in

the role that experience plays in construction processes;

as Feixas notes (1995, p. 315), "For Kelly (1955), the

process of experience was an intrinsic part of being human,

and, therefore, he was not concerned with explaining its

causes and motives the why. Rather, he proposed to

consider this very process as the most fundamental

mechanism of change and evolution."

Despite Kelly's early acknowledgment of the primacy of

experience, constructivists' embrace of the role moment-to-

moment experience plays in psychological processes is

today, some forty years later, still in its infancy. In

discussing the future of constructivism, Mahoney writes,










One of the most difficult challenges facing the
constructivist counselor involves the act of
practicing psychotherapy in a way that respects
what Hayek(1978) has termed 'the primacy of the
abstract' that is, the extent to which the most
basic and important human processes of organizing
our moment-to-moment experience operate at levels
far beyond what we consider conscious awareness.
(Mahoney, 1995 a, p.389)


It is this challenge which contemporary theorists are

beginning to address.

There is a growing recognition of the validity of

alternate forms of knowledge and/or awareness that are not

part and parcel of language based cognitive awareness. R.

Neimeyer comments, ". human affective experience is

infused with significance and can itself be viewed as a

refined form of knowing" (1995 c, p.2). The difficulty lies

in being able to work with this alternate level of awareness

in a therapeutic venue given the difficulty of translating

this lived experience into the verbal commerce of cognitive

interchange and therapeutic interventions, ". human

beings are denied any direct access to an immediate reality

beyond language, defined broadly as the entire repertory of

symbolic utterances and actions afforded us by our culture

. ." (R. Neimeyer, 1995 a, p.15). R. Neimeyer (1995 a,

p.18) goes on to proclaim that this struggle to translate

clients' difficulties into symbolic communication is at the

core of the therapeutic endeavor, "Ultimately, the aim of

therapy is to create a personal and interpersonal atmosphere

in which presenting problems can be reformulated and










resolved in language and in which clients can recruit social

validation for new, less 'problem-saturated' identities."

Various authors (Mahoney, 1995 b; Guidano, 1995 a & b;

Greenberg & Pascual-Leone, 1995) propose that the

development of strategies to enhance phenomenological

awareness and subsequent symbolization of that awareness may

provide an avenue to more effective psychological

interventions. In his discussion of the future directions

and challenges of constructivist therapies, Mahoney cites as

an area for further development, "Issues of embodiment the

bodily context that affords all forms of experiencing will

become increasingly central to therapeutic relevance; that

is, embodied therapies will fare better than those therapies

that are relatively disembodied ." (Mahoney, 1995 b,

p.55).

Guidano argues that constructivists need to make a

concerted effort with their clients to develop skills to

become more aware of their moment-to-moment experiences.

Self-observation provides the raw materials that
are necessary in the attempted reconstruction of
events of therapeutic interest, working at the
interface between immediate experiencing and
symbolic explaining. It permits the exploration
and analysis of three levels of processing:
immediate awareness, mediated explanations, and
the dynamic and ever-developing relationship
between these basic contrasts. (Guidano, 1995 a,
p.155)

Guidano argues for the primacy of experience as being

the means by which persons perceive being in their

environment. As such, experiential awareness is not subject










to error; rather errors in knowledge occur only in the

translation of these experiences into cognitive symbolism.


Human experience, therefore, appears as the
emerging product of a process of mutual regulation
continuously alternating between experiencing and
explaining that is, a process in which ongoing
patterns of activity (immediate experience) become
subject to linguistic distinctions and are
reordered in terms of symbolic propositions
distributed across conceptual networks. .
affective-emotional activity corresponds to and
depends on immediate and irrefutable apprehensions
of the world. Hence, from a purely ontological
point of view, feelings can never be "mistaken."
It is through feelings that we experience our way
of being in the world. At the level of
immediate experiencing, it is not possible to
distinguish between perception and illusion. .
Only by shifting to the level of "languaging" can
the individual explain the felt experience in a
variety of alternative manners, such as its having
been a trick of light or an illusion, thereby
making the experience consistent with his or her
current appraisal of the world. In other words,
errors can be noticed only a posteriori (after the
experience) and depend on the point of view that
we, as observers, take in reordering our
experiencing. All rational-cognitive reordering
involves expanding the coherence of symbolic rules
to make the flow of immediate experience more
consistent with the continuity of one's current
appraisal of the world.
Rather than representing an already given
reality according to a logic of external
correspondence, knowledge is the continuous
construction and reconstruction of a world by the
ordering individual in an attempt to make ongoing
experiences consistent. (Guidano, 1995 a, p.95)

It is that crucial interchange between immediate

experiencing and explicit verbalization that is fecund for

revision of one's construct system (Guidano, 1995 b).

Guidano proposes that the basic procedure for assisting

clients with construct revisions "consists of training










clients, through methods of self-observation, to

differentiate between immediate self-perception and

conscious beliefs and attitudes, and then to reconstruct the

patterns of coherence that they use to maintain consistency

with their feelings" (Guidano, 1995 b, p.102).

This task requires concerted effort given that

experiential awareness can exist "in consciousness

independently of cognition" (Guidano, 1995 b, p.102). And,

when the immediate experience is not translated into

symbolic cognitions, it is realized as physiologic

manifestations (Guidano, 1995 b). These physiologic

manifestations may not be comprehended as an element of

knowledge about one's being in the world, but may instead be

interpreted as "an externally bound perturbation to the

extent that it does not fit with the range of decodability

allowed by his or her current patterns of coherence"

(Guidano, 1995 b, p.104).

This attempt to integrate the dynamic interplay of

phenomenological and cognitive knowing into the

understanding of psychological process dictates the

modification of models of thinking in general, and of

construct generation/elaboration in particular. Greenberg

and Pascual-Leone amend the definition of "meaning" to

incorporate this phenomenological-cognitive interplay.

Meaning, we argue is neither simply imposed on
experience by language nor wholly contained in
experience but, rather, is generated by a
dialectical construction. This construction is










continually guided by an implicit 'felt sense'
(Gendlin, 1964), which itself results from an
automatic, dynamic synthesis of the individual's
internal complexity A crucial part of the
meaning-making process, however, is the making of
linguistic distinctions to express this implicit
bodily felt sense of meaning. Experience is not
simply 'in' us, fully formed; rather, we need to
put words to our feeling to bring them to full
awareness. (Greenberg & Pascual-Leone, 1995,
pp.170-1)


As noted by Greenberg and Pascual-Leone in the above

statement, Eugene Gendlin's work provides a vehicle to

pursue an understanding of the dialectical interplay between

phenomenology and symbolic cognition.





Rationale for the Present Study


It appears that one of the prime areas for exploration

in constructivist theory is the study and development of

experiential approaches to psychotherapy and assessment.

The work of prior body oriented clinicians, such as

practitioners of Gestalt and Bioenergetics approaches, has

demonstrated that working with clients on a body experience

level can produce significant psychotherapeutic results.

Gendlin's Focusing Oriented approach to psychotherapy

provides a means to teach clients or research participants

to attend to their body and emotional experience, to combine

that experience with cognitive awareness, and to translate

the sum of the experiential awareness and cognitive










awareness into language. Translating awareness into

language provides a vehicle for clients and clinicians to

communicate and explore the construct system one uses to

anticipate life events. By providing such a vehicle,

Gendlin's Focusing technique may lead to more fully

elaborated constructs in the assessment process and may hold

broad implications for construct system revision in

psychotherapy.

Specifically, this experiment is designed to test if

using a modified form of the Focusing procedure will enable

experiment participants to access a more experientially

informed level of awareness of their personal constructs.

Will using a Focusing elicitation procedure cause clients to

produce more meaningful constructs on a repertory grid

assessment instrument? If so, then the increased

meaningfulness should be reflected in the meaningfulness

measures, extremity and importance rating, that the

participants indicate on their grid forms. Additionally,

since Focusing tends to lead to progressively higher levels

of awareness, participants may be likely to produce more

meaningful constructs in latter trials, instead of the more

typical pattern of producing less meaningful constructs in

latter trials.










Hypotheses


Hypothesis 1: Using the Focusing procedure during construct

elicitation yields constructs that are more meaningful than

constructs elicited using standard elicitation procedures.

This would result in subjects' ratings across multiple

trials on the repertory grids to reflect higher ratings of

meaningfulness and higher extremity scores, on average, for

subjects using an experiential approach to construct

elicitation than for subjects using standard,

nonexperiential, elicitation procedures.



Null Hypothesis: There is no significant difference in

participants' measures of meaningfulness between constructs

elicited using an experiential procedure and constructs

elicited using standard, nonexperiential, elicitations.



Hypothesis 2: Given the progressive nature of Focusing,

constructs elicited by using Focusing will tend to be rated

as more meaningful in later elicitations than in earlier

elicitations. This would result in subjects' importance-

ratings and extremity scores on the repertory grids

indicating, on average, that meaningfulness of elicited

constructs increases across trials for the Focusing group,

while a decline in meaningfulness across trials will be

noted for the control groups.








46

Null Hypothesis: There is no significant difference in

patterns of meaningfulness across trials noted between the

Focusing and Control groups.















CHAPTER III
METHOD



Preliminary Study


A separate preliminary study (conducted by Kaia Calbeck

and Stephen Pittman) was conducted to investigate the

variance in levels of meaningfulness which may be associated

with the triadic sorts, groupings of three persons the

individual personally knows, used in construct elicitation

during the repertory grid procedure. The results of the

preliminary study have not been published.

Seventy University of Florida undergraduates (52

females and 18 males) completed repertory grids which

contained 20 role descriptions of persons known to the

subject (e.g., closest same gender friend). The persons

named by the participants as fitting these role descriptors

were then used as elements in the repertory grid. The 20

elements were grouped into 4 types of triadic sorts: triads

in which one element was "self;" triads in which at least

one element was "family;" triads containing "self and

family;" and "other" (triads containing neither "self" nor

"family"). (Note: The triadic sort "types" component of








48

the study was conducted to investigate factors not directly

related to the present study). Twenty triadic sorts were

presented in a systematically varied order.

After the constructs were elicited and ratings

completed, arithmetic means were calculated for two measures

of meaningfulness, extremity and a rank-ordering score

(ordering the constructs from most meaningful to least

meaningful). There were no significant differences in

extremity scores noted for types of triadic sorts, but on

the rank-ordering measure, the "other" (containing neither

self nor family) triadic sorts were ranked significantly

lower (more meaningful) than any of the remaining three

types of sorts. The means of these measures are presented

in Appendix A.

In an effort to reduce the error variance attributed to

the triadic sorts in the Pittman 1993 study, a sample of

twelve triadic sorts which produced similar levels of

meaningfulness measures were selected for use in the

repertory grid for the present study. Triadic sorts which

fell within one standard deviation of the mean on both the

extremity and rank order dependent variables were selected.

This selection process produced nine triadic sorts. Since

twelve trials were desired (to allow for evidence in an

increase or decrease in meaningfulness across trials), three

additional triadic sorts were selected which were within










0.25 standard deviations of the mean on either one of the

two measures. A total of twelve triadic sorts were

selected, which were comprised of seventeen different role

elements.


Subjects


For the present study, forty-two undergraduate General

Psychology students were drawn from the University of

Florida Psychology subject pool. Half of the participants

were females, and half were males. Equal numbers of males

and females participated in each experimental condition.

Students who participated in the experiment received credit

toward completion of class requirements for their General

Psychology course. There was no other compensation.

Participants were unaware of the nature of the experiment

when signing up to participate.


Materials


Each participant was provided with the following: one

repertory grid (Appendix B) and one pen. The experimenter

showed the subject a construct meaningfulness rating scale

(Appendix C).

Repertory grid

The grid for the current experiment consists of a

vertical listing of seventeen roles (e.g., "closest same










gender friend") to which each subject assigns the name of

someone the subject personally knows who fits that

particular role. The names of the persons fitting the role

titles comprise the elements of the repertory grid.

Accompanying the listing of roles are twelve pages; at the

top of each page is a triadic sort identifying three of the

elements and lines on the left and right side for the

subject to write both poles of a construct. Each page also

depicts seventeen Likert type scales (one for each element).

The scales have twelve points and appear as follows:

6 5 4 3 2 1 1 2 3 4 5 6.

See Appendix B for the repertory grid instrument.

This instrument was utilized to elicit bi-polar

constructs and to gather measures of meaningfulness for the

elicited constructs.


Measures of Meaningfulness



Importance Rating Score.


The participants were asked to rate each of the

constructs on a scale of 1-12 according to "how meaningful

or how important" each construct is in their system of

understanding themselves and others. Participants were

shown a construct importance rating scale as a visual aid

(see Appendix C). A rating of "1" denotes a minimally










important/meaningful construct, and a "12" denotes a very

important/meaningful construct. This measure differs from

the rank-order "self-rating" measure used in the pilot study

in that a rank-order measure assumes a linear relationship

in the level of meaningfulness between constructs, whereas

this independent rating of meaningfulness does not require

such an assumption. Twelve rating points were available in

order to allow the participants to rate the 12 constructs in

a linear fashion if they so chose. Additionally, a rank

order variable, being an ordinal variable, does not allow

the use of parametric statistics for analysis, whereas the

Likert type rating used in this experiment does permit the

use of parametric statistics.


Extremity Scores.


The extremity score for each construct represents the

sum of the ratings for each of the seventeen elements on the

twelve point Likert scale for each trial.


Procedure


Each experiment session was conducted in a single two

hour block. Each subject took part in the experiment under

one of three conditions: standard elicitation (control

group), guided imagery elicitation (control group), and








52

Focusing elicitation (experimental group). The experimenter

met with each subject individually.

At the beginning of the experiment, the participants

were told, "The following procedure is designed to

investigate ways of tapping into a person's self awareness."

Participants provided basic demographic data on the

instrument. Each student then wrote the name of persons

he/she personally knows who fit the role for each of the

seventeen role titles on the grid form. They were allowed

to use any one individual for one and only one role.


Construct Elicitation Procedures


All participants were exposed to the same intervention

during the first trial. The experimenter directed each

subject to elicit the first construct using the standard

triadic elicitation procedure as described below. The first

trial was utilized to teach all participants how to complete

the repertory grid. This also allowed the experimenter to

utilize the meaningfulness measures produced in the first

trial to examine homogeneity between the three groups.


Standard triadic elicitation

In the triadic elicitation procedure, participants

were told to consider three of the people (triadic sorts

preselected by the experimenter) they listed. In the first








53

trial, participants were to consider the persons they listed

as fitting roles identified as B, F, and G on the grid form

(mother, romantic partner, and former romantic partner).

Participants were then instructed to think of a way two of

those three people are alike that is different from the

other person, and to write a word or phrase that describes

this characteristic. Next, the participants wrote a word or

phrase which they considered to be the opposite of this

characteristic. The set of opposite descriptors that were

produced by the subject are considered to represent a

bipolar construct which that person utilizes.

Following the elicitation of each bipolar construct,

the participants then rated each of the elements (persons

they listed as matching the role titles) on a twelve point

Likert scale according to which pole of the construct

describes that particular person, and to what degree. A

rating toward the extreme ends of the scale indicates the

person is considered by the subject to be very much like

that pole of the construct, while a rating toward the middle

of the scale would indicate that the person is considered to

be less like that pole of the construct. After rating each

element (person), the subject then assigned an importance

rating score (described above) to indicate the subjective










level of importance of that construct. Each subject then

completed the remainder of the repertory grid under one of

the three experiment conditions.

The standard elicitation control group continued to

complete the repertory grid under standard triadic

elicitation procedures as described above; the experimenter

was available to answer questions and to provide

instructional assistance when needed, but otherwise remained

present without having further interaction with the subject.


Guided imagery elicitation

The guided imagery control group is designed to provide

participants with a level of interaction with the

experimenter that is similar to that which was experienced

by participants in the experimental (Focusing) group.

Participants in the Guided Imagery group were instructed to

imagine taking a trip to a beach throughout the elicitation

process. This procedure also provided the participants in

this group ample opportunities to attend to the experiential

aspects of their imagined trip (sights, sounds, smells,

touch). However, they were not instructed to attend to

these experiential components. Starting with the second

trial, prior to considering the three-person triadic sort,

the subject was instructed to imagine a specific component










of taking a trip to the beach. Following each guided

imagery intervention, the participant completed one trial of

the repertory grid.


Guided imagery instructions

Trial 2: I want you to imagine that you are going to take a

day trip to the beach. Throughout the rest of the

experiment, I will guide you through different

parts of the trip. Feel free to close your eyes

if that helps you to imagine the trip. Also, feel

free to tell me about your imagined trip, or, if

you prefer, you can keep your imagined trip

completely private (the experimenter may briefly

talk with the participant in a polite but non-

instructive manner in order to facilitate rapport

if the participant chooses to share aspects of the

imagined trip). Now, I want you to imagine that

you are talking with your friends, family, and/or

your romantic partner while planning a trip to the

beach. Take a few minutes, or longer, to imagine

this scene and let me know when you are ready to

proceed.

Trial 3: Now imagine that you are getting ready for the

trip, packing towels, food, drinks, selecting swim










wear, packing the car, and starting on the trip.

Imagine this for a while and tell me when you are

ready to go on.

Trial 4: This time, imagine the drive to the beach, the

places you will drive through, what you will do to

pass the time in the car, and finally, arriving at

the beach.

Trial 5: Imagine that you have arrived at the beach. Now,

you are selecting your spot to set up for the day.

Think about what all you are considering when

deciding where to set up. Do you use a chair or a

towel? Do you listen to a radio or to the sound

of the ocean? Make sure everything is set, just

the way you like it.

Trial 6: Imagine playing on the beach. You're not ready to

go into the water yet. Think about the things you

like to do on the sand.

Trial 7: Now imagine yourself going into the water. Some

people like to wade among the waves; some swim

vigorously; some like to surf. Think about the

ways you like to play in or along the water.

Trial 8: Now, you're on the beach, and you decide it's time

to eat. What types of food and drink did you










bring? Think about how eating at the beach is

different from eating at home. Take some time to

enjoy this part of your day.

Trial 9: Now that you have spent time playing on the beach

and in the water, imagine taking some time to

relax. Perhaps you would like to lay there

soaking up some sun, maybe reading, or perhaps a

nice relaxing stroll along the water's edge.

Trial 10: Unfortunately, it is starting to get late, and it

is time to pack up to head back home. What all do

you have to do? How is this different from when

you were packing earlier in the day to go to the

beach? Do you leave the beach in a hurry, or do

you linger?

Trial 11: Now imagine the drive back home. How is this

drive different from the drive to the beach? Do

you pass the time the same way?

Trial 12: Imagine that you have arrived back home after your

trip to the beach. Picture yourself unloading

your things from the car. What will you and the

people who went with you do now? Think about what

this day at the beach has been like for you.










Each subject was allowed up to six minutes to imagine

each phase of the guided imagery beach trip. Following each

guided imagery intervention, the subject completed a trial

of the repertory grid using standard repertory grid

procedure (i.e., consider the triadic sort, elicit one pole

of the construct, elicit the opposite construct pole, rate

the elements, and rate the level of construct

meaningfulness).


Focusing elicitation

The Focusing group was used to test the effect of

teaching participants to attend to their experiential

phenomena while completing the repertory grid. The training

in attending to experiential phenomena is based on Eugene

Gendlin's Focusing technique. The experimental group was

taught a modified form of the Focusing technique. The

participants utilized the Focusing technique in conjunction

with the triadic construct elicitation procedure.


Focusing instructions

Trial 2: Many times we experience more about a person or a

situation than we are able to put into words, like

when watching a beautiful sunset or looking into

the face of a loved one. By paying attention to








59

how you respond, not only intellectually, but also

physically and emotionally, you can capture more of

what it is you know about an experience. When one

attends to all levels of awareness, it becomes

easier to more fully understand the experience and

to put what you know about that person or situation

into words.

Usually, we do not take the time or make an

effort to attend beyond our intellectual response.

I am now going to teach you a way to listen to your

total experience and to put that experience into

words. Start by getting into a comfortable

position by sitting up straight with your feet flat

on the floor. Breathe deeply and pay attention to

how your body feels. Many people find that this is

easier to do if they close their eyes. You may

close your eyes or leave them open, whichever feels

right for you. Throughout the rest of the

exercise, you may find it helpful to talk about

what you are experiencing, but please feel free to

not share anything which you prefer to keep

private.










Notice how your body is feeling, perhaps

tense, relaxed, tired, or maybe energized (Pause 30

seconds).

Pay attention to what emotions you are

feeling. For example, you may notice sadness,

happiness, anger, boredom, or any number of

emotions (Pause 30 seconds).

Continue paying attention to your body and

your emotions and say to yourself, "everything in

my life is perfect just the way it is." (Pause 20

seconds).

Instead of responding to this statement by

saying what is not perfect, just passively notice

how your entire awareness responds. Notice what

things come up for you as not "perfect." (Pause 20

seconds).

Notice that these things will come up into

your awareness without you even trying to think

about them. Do not try to figure them out or

explain them. Just acknowledge that those things

that are not "perfect" are there.

Imagine that you have placed each of those

"not perfect" things in a container, perhaps a box,










and that you can step back from them and look at

each one of them. For example, if one of my "not

perfect" things is "not having enough money," I

would place that in a box and back away from my

money worries for the time being. Observe each of

your "not perfects." You do not need to worry

about these things right now. Give yourself

permission to set them aside for now. Some people

find it helpful to say to each of these things

something like, "I know you are there. I have not

forgotten about you. But, I am going to deal with

something else right now." (Pause 20 seconds).

Feel free to talk about this process, or to be

as private as you would like. Let me know when

you are a comfortable distance from those "not

perfect" things. If you need any assistance now,

or throughout the experiment, just let me know.

(Wait up to three minutes if participant takes

longer than three minutes, assist the participant

in achieving a comfortable distance.)

This process you just went through, where you

set aside those concerns that are pressing upon

you, we call "clearing a space." You will be asked










to "clear a space" several times throughout the

rest of the experiment; remember that anytime you

are clearing a space, you can simply acknowledge

whatever comes up for you and set it aside at a

comfortable distance. Notice how it feels to have

everything set aside. Now you are ready to attend

to whatever experience presents itself to you.

Now, look at the three letters noted at the

top of page two. Think of the three people whose

names you have written next to letters A, H, and K.

Just as you passively allowed the "not perfect"

things to come into your awareness, passively allow

your experience of each of these people to come

into your awareness. Take a couple of minutes to

experience your awareness of each of these persons

as if you were observing each from a comfortable

distance. Pay attention to any emotions or

physical feelings that come up for you while you

are observing. Let me know when you are ready to

proceed. (Allow up to three minutes.)

Now, think of a way in which two of these

people are similar which is different from the

other person. Again, take a passive approach and










allow a word or group of words to come up for you

that captures this difference. (Pause one minute).

As these words come up, check to see if they

capture your experience of these people. When you

find the words that capture your experience, you

may notice that it feels right, like the word

"fits" what it is you know in your thoughts,

emotions, and body about these people. If a word

you are attempting to use doesn't feel right, pay

attention to how it doesn't feel right, then let it

go and allow another word to come up for you. When

you find the right words, you may even notice that

your experience of these people shifts a little as

you capture your awareness in words. When you feel

you have determined how two of these people are

alike and different from the other, and found the

right word or words for this difference, write the

word on your form. (Allow up to three minutes).

(End of Focusing intervention for trial two).



The participants then wrote a word or words that

describes the opposite pole of the construct and completed

the ratings of the elements and the construct meaningfulness










rating in the same manner as participants in the control

groups.


Trials 3-4: For these elicitations, Focusing Elicitation

participants were asked to "clear a space" in

preparation for considering the triadic sort for

the trial. Then the participant considered the

three persons called for in the triadic sort using

a Focusing approach as in trial two.

Participants were instructed to observe their

experiential awareness of the three persons, to

allow a word or words that describes a way in which

two of the persons are alike and different from the

other to come up from the experience, to check the

fit of the word or words against the felt sense,

and to modify the word as needed. Specific time

limits were observed for the phases of the Focusing

elicitation: clearing a space = thirty seconds;

observing the three persons = two minutes; coming

up with a word\words that describes the difference

= one minute; checking the fit and/or modifying the

word/words = two minutes. This results in a

maximum elicitation time of six and one half

minutes per trial for trials three and four.











After the fourth trial, participants were asked to

proceed through the remaining Focusing elicitation trials at

their own pace without further instruction. They were

reminded to make sure to complete each phase of the Focusing

elicitation for each trial. Additional instruction or

interaction was provided by the experimenter if the

participant appeared to be having difficulty or requested

assistance, or if the participant initiated conversation.

After the bipolar construct was elicited for each trial, the

participant completed the element and meaningfulness ratings

for that bipolar construct.


Additional interventions for Focusing elicitation trials

The experimenter assisted the participants with the

Focusing elicitation if warranted by the participants'

requests or notable difficulty in completing the task. If

the participant chose to talk with the experimenter about

the content or process of the Focusing elicitation, the

experimenter assisted with the Focusing procedure in a

manner consistent with Eugene Gendlin's technique.

Specifically, the experimenter assisted the participant by

way of instruction in attending to bodily and emotional

awareness, maintaining a sense of separation from the object








66

of the Focusing (persons being considered), attending to the

felt sense of the persons, and using experiential awareness

to judge if the words chosen captured the quality of the

participant's experience. In keeping with the highly

individualized nature of the Focusing procedure, the exact

content of these interventions were idiosyncratic to the

individual participant.

At the conclusion of the experiment all participants

were debriefed and given an opportunity to ask questions.














CHAPTER IV
RESULTS




The data was arranged in a 2 X 3 X 12 design with

repeated measures. The independent variables were A) sex,

B) elicitation procedure (Standard, Imagery, or Focusing),

and C) trial. The dependent variables were A) extremity

score and B) importance rating (participants' rating of

construct importance or meaningfulness). The alpha level

for a priori tests of statistical significance was set at

e 0.05.


Statistical Analyses Design



A "split-plot" design (Kennedy & Bush, 1985, p. 417)

was utilized to accommodate an examination of between group

variance using within-subject measures (also known as

"repeated measures"). Extremity scores and importance rating

scores were analyzed independently using a split-plot

analysis of variance (ANOVA). The ANOVA was utilized to

look for main effects for the Elicitation Procedure, Sex,

and Trial and/or any interaction between these factors. The










results of these analyses were utilized to test the two

hypotheses: Hypothesis 1 Using the Focusing procedure

during construct elicitation yields constructs that are more

meaningful than constructs elicited using standard triadic

elicitation procedures; Hypothesis 2 Constructs elicited

using Focusing will tend to be progressively more meaningful

as more constructs are elicited across repeated measures.



Results Of Statistical Analyses


Tests of Hypothesis 1

Results using extremity score. The ANOVA testing Hypothesis

1 using the extremity score (displayed in Table 1) indicated

a statistically significant three way interaction between

the variables Elicitation, Sex, and Trial. As noted

earlier, the extremity score for each trial is the sum of

all the Likert-type ratings the participant provided in

reference to each element (person) for a construct. Means

and standard deviations were calculated for the extremity

scores and are depicted in Table 2.

Table 2 contains the mean extremity scores broken down

by elicitation, sex, and trial. Since the raw extremity

score (sum of all element ratings per trial) does not easily

illustrate the participants' tendency to rate elements










Table 1.

ANOVA for Elicitation, Sex, and Trial main effects and
interactions using extremity for Hypothesis 1
Source DF MS F p
Within + Residual 36 1136.49 .28 .761

Elicitation 2 312.54 .36 .553

Sex 1 408.47 .96 .393

Elicitation X Sex 2 1088.68 .96 .393


Within + Residual 360 83.33

Trial 10 96.29 1.16 .320

Elicitation X Trial 20 61.04 .73 .792

Sex X Trial 10 47.09 .577 .842

Elicitation X Sex X 20 165.93 1.99 .007 *

Trial
.05


toward the extreme ends of the bipolar construct, the

"average" extremity ratings were calculated by dividing the

extremity score for each trial by the number of elements

rated in each trial (17). For illustrative purposes, Table

3 depicts these average extremity ratings, and all graphs

featuring extremity ratings utilize average extremity

scores. A graph depicting these average extremity scores by

elicitation, sex, and trial is shown in Figure 1. However,

as in the statistical results of the first analysis, this

does not present a clear picture of the interaction.










Table 2.

Extremity Scores: Elicitation X Sex X Trial



Standard Imagery Focusing
Trial x SD x SD R SD

1: all 72.07 15.13 70.29 12.43 67.93 11.51

female 75.29 13.82 69.75 15.49 67.71 13.46

male 68.71 16.73 71.00 8.05 68.14 10.29

2: all 69.85 11.38 67.71 5.12 63.71 11.73

female 71.00 12.68 67.75 6.63 63.43 10.60

male 68.71 10.81 67.67 2.58 64.00 13.63

3: all 72.14 18.43 70.43 9.35 68.93 14.71

female 74.43 10.97 65.88 9.86 69.86 13.47

male 69.86 24.57 76.50 3.72 68.00 16.88

4: all 68.79 16.55 65.50 9.78 65.93 16.05

female 73.14 14.17 66.63 5.80 66.00 15.55

male 64.43 18.67 64.00 14.03 65.86 17.79

5: all 69.14 13.36 65.79 8.18 65.36 12.07

female 72.71 14.94 64.25 9.00 66.71 15.29

male 65.57 11.57 67.83 7.17 64.00 8.79

6: all 63.50 18.31 67.07 8.74 67.21 11.91

female 68.14 16.04 70.38 7.76 63.86 9.12

male 58.86 20.47 62.67 8.59 70.57 14.07

7: all 66.93 16.10 67.21 10.04 67.29 14.10

female 72.71 11.29 70.88 8.81 64.57 15.76

male 61.14 18.86 62.33 10.17 70.00 14.90











Table 2--continued
Standard Imagery Focusing

Trial 5 SD x SD x SD

8: all 66.93 18.34 65.14 9.98 64.57 17.27

female 74.56 16.68 67.00 7.91 60.43 17.66

male 59.00 17.44 62.67 12.60 68.71 17.15

9: all 68.64 16.37 66.00 8.93 67.86 16.93

female 67.29 18.24 67.00 5.42 68.86 21.22

male 70.00 15.61 64.67 12.74 66.86 12.98

10:all 71.00 16.08 71.86 11.19 65.07 11.53

female 76.14 14.69 74.25 8.14 61.86 13.83

male 65.85 16.81 68.67 14.54 68.29 8.53

11:all 72.50 14.41 67.43 12.14 63.93 11.82

female 79.43 12.61 62.75 12.33 61.00 13.22

male 65.57 13.39 73.67 9.44 66.86 10.40

12:all 66.07 15.10 69.00 10.03 64.57 11.91

female 69.57 16.21 64.00 9.01 67.86 11.55

male 62.57 14.25 75.67 7.39 61.29 12.19

Mean of trials 2 though 12:

all 68.68 15.50 67.59 8.80 65.84 13.84

female 72.68 14.41 67.34 8.24 64.95 14.30

male 64.69 16.59 67.85 9.36 66.77 13.39

Mean of all 12 trials:

all 68.96 15.79 67.79 9.66 66.03 13.46

female 72.89 14.36 67.57 8.85 65.18 14.23

male 65.02 16.60 68.11 9.25 66.88 13.13











Table 3.

Average extremity score per Element: Elicitation X Sex X
Trial
Standard Imagery Focusing

Trial SD x SD R SD

1: all 4.12 .89 4.13 .73 3.10 .68

female 4.43 .81 4.10 .91 3.98 .79

male 4.04 .98 4.17 .47 4.01 .61

2: all 4.11 .67 3.98 .30 3.75 .69

female 4.18 .74 3.99 .39 3.73 .62

male 4.04 .63 3.98 .15 3.76 .80

3: all 4.24 1.08 4.14 .55 4.05 .86

female 4.38 .65 3.88 .58 4.11 .79

male 4.11 1.45 4.50 .22 4.00 .99

4: all 4.05 .97 3.85 .57 3.88 .94

female 4.30 .83 3.92 .34 3.88 .91

male 3.79 1.10 3.76 .83 3.87 1.05

5: all 4.07 .79 3.87 .48 3.84 .71

female 4.28 .88 3.78 .53 3.92 .90

male 3.86 .68 3.99 .42 3.76 .52

6: all 3.73 1.07 3.95 .51 3.95 .70

female 4.01 .94 4.14 .46 3.76 .54

male 3.46 1.20 3.69 .51 4.15 .83

7: all 3.94 .95 3.95 .59 3.96 .88

female 4.28 .66 4.17 .52 3.80 .93

male 3.60 1.11 3.67 .60 4.12 .88











Table 3--continued
Standard Imagery Focusing

Trial x SD x SD x SD

8: all 3.94 1.08 3.83 .58 3.80 1.02

female 4.40 .98 3.94 .47 3.56 1.04

male 3.47 1.03 3.69 .74 4.04 1.01

9: all 4.04 .96 3.88 .53 3.99 .10

female 3.96 1.07 3.94 .32 4.05 1.25

male 4.12 .92 3.80 .75 3.93 .76

10:all 4.18 .95 4.23 .66 3.83 .68

female 4.48 .86 4.37 .48 3.64 .81

male 3.87 .99 4.04 .86 4.02 .50

ll:all 4.26 .85 3.97 .71 3.76 .70

female 4.67 .74 3.69 .73 3.59 .78

male 3.86 .79 4.33 .55 3.93 .61

12:all 3.89 .89 4.06 .59 3.80 .70

female 4.09 .95 3.76 .53 3.99 .68

male 3.69 .84 4.45 .44 3.61 .72

Mean of trials 2 through 12:

all 4.04 .93 3.98 .56 3.87 .72

female 4.28 .84 3.96 .48 3.82 .84

male 3.81 .98 3.99 .56 3.93 .78

Mean of all 12 trials:

all 4.06 .93 3.99 .57 3.99 .72

female 4.29 .84 3.97 .52 3.97 .84

male 3.82 .98 4.01 .55 4.01 .77












4.i / Standard Female

S4.4 l Standard ale
S4.2
4.0 <'* Imagery Female
3.8 Imagery Male

3.6 FoIusing Female
3.4 ""
3.2l Focusing Male
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

trial
Figure 1. Average extremity ratings by Elicitation X Sex
X Trial for all elicitation procedures.



The next step in the analysis was to conduct a series

of ANOVAs in order to isolate the Elicitation X Sex X Trial

interaction. Three split-plot ANOVAs were conducted looking

for simple effects and/or lower order interactions within

each of the three elicitation procedure groups. To control

for an increase in the familywise error rate, a Bonferroni

adjustment to the alpha level resulted in an alpha level of

p < .016 for these analyses. The results of these analyses

are presented in Tables 4 6 along with accompanying graphs

of the elicitation group average extremity means in

Figures 2 4.










Table 4.


ANOVA for Standard


elicitation by Sex X Trial


,-' "! Standard Female

Standard Male
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

trial
Figure 2. Mean extremity ratings by Sex X Trial for
Standard elicitation.


Source DF MS F p
Within + Residual 12 1795.01
Sex 1 2456.01 1.37 .265

Within + Residual 120 96.92
Trial 10 102.69 1.06 .399
Sex X Trial 10 96.99 1.00 .447










Table 5.

ANOVA for Imaaerv elicitation


* 2 .016




4.6'

4.4

4.2'

| 4.0


1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1234567

trial
Figure 3. Mean extremity
Imagery elicitation.


by Sex X Trial


Imagery Female

Imagery Male


ratings by Sex X Trial for


Source DF MS F p

Within + Residual 12 218.13

Sex 1 9.72 0.04 .836



Within + Residual 120 70.74

Trial 10 73.67 1.04 .413
Sex X Trial 10 196.41 2.78 .004*










Table 6.

ANOVA for Focusing


elicitation by Sex X Trial


Focusing Female

Focusing Male


trial
Figure 4. Mean extremity rating by Sex X Trial for
Focusing elicitation.


Source DF MS F

Within + Residual 12 1396.33

Sex 1 127.27 0.09 .768


Within + Residual 120 82.33

Trial 10 41.73 .51 .882
Sex X Trial 10 84.29 1.02 .428










These analyses indicate a Sex X Trial interaction for

the imagery elicitation procedure (recall that the imagery

procedure was utilized as a control group). This

interaction was significant at the adjusted alpha level of

.016. It appears that this interaction indicates that the

extremity of participants' ratings varied in relation to

there sex and the specific trial, with males' scores

frequently demonstrating high extremity while females'

scores demonstrating low extremity, and vice versa. There

was no evidence of any simple effects or interactions for

the elicitation independent variable, with no other tests

approaching statistical significance. These results do not

support Hypothesis 1 for extremity scores.



Results using importance rating score. The importance

rating score, the scores that participants assigned to

indicate how "important or meaningful" each bipolar

construct is in their consideration of people in their life,

required no manipulation. An ANOVA using the importance

rating dependent variable scores to test Hypothesis 1 did

not indicate a main effect for the sex or trial independent

variables, nor for any interactions. However, a

statistically significant main effect for the elicitation










Table 7.

ANOVA for Elicitation, Sex, and Trial main effects and
interactions using importance rating for Hypothesis 1
Source DF MS F p

Within + Residual 36 28.62

Elicitation 2 92.08 3.22 .052*

Sex 1 3.37 .12 .734

Elicitation X Sex 2 63.74 2.23 .123



Within + Residual 360 6.26

Trial 10 8.18 1.31 .225

Elicitation X Trial 20 3.62 .58 .927

Sex X Trial 10 4.79 .76 .663

Elicitation X Sex 20 6.02 .96 .508

X Trial


p .05


procedure independent variable was shown at the p .052

level. These results are shown in Table 7.

While this analysis does show a significant elicitation

procedure main effect, it does not indicate the nature of

the statistically significantly different ratings or the

direction of the difference. Therefore, planned pairwise

comparisons were then conducted. The first planned pairwise

comparison was between the two control groups, standard and

imagery elicitation. There was no statistically significant

difference between these groups as indicated in Table 8.











Table 8.

ANOVA for oairwise comparisons


using importance rating for


Standard vs. Imagery

Source DF MS F p

Within + Residual 40 34.60

Elicitation 1 15.46 .45 .510



(Standard + Imagery) vs. Focusing

Source DF MS F p

Within + Residual 40 29.41

Elicitation 1 191.82 6.52 .015*
.05


The final planned pairwise comparison was between the

combined control groups and the experimental, or Focusing

elicitation, group.

The ANOVA for this comparison indicated a statistically

significant difference at the P 0.015 level, also depicted

in Table 8. As the experiment was designed with these two

pairwise comparisons planned, no correction factor for the

alpha level was deemed necessary (Keppel, 1982, p. 240).

Now that it was determined that the two control groups

were not significantly different from each other, and that

the experimental (Focusing) group was significantly

different from the control groups, the task remained to


Hypothesis 1


JJ----------











Table 9.

Importance rating scores: Elicitation X Trial


Standard

SD

.79 2.97

.14 2.68

.21 3.38

.29 2.67

.79 3.26

.71 3.38

.00 2.42

.43 3.74

.00 3.14

.79 3.60

.86 3.18

.79 3.24


Trial

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

trials 2

mean

all trial

mean


Imagery


7.71

7.29

6.57

6.50

6.36

6.07

6.79

7.64

6.43

6.57

7.71

6.14


Focusing


SD x

2.64 8.86

2.43 8.07

3.18 8.50

2.38 8.71

2.73 8.14

2.67 6.86

2.72 8.86

2.85 8.57

2.53 8.00

3.25 9.00

3.56 8.36

3.01 8.50


6

7

7

7

7

5

8

7

8

6

6

6

thr

7


7.15 3.13 6.82 2.82 8.37 2.51


determine the direction of


the difference.


The means and


standard deviations of the importance rating scores are

noted in Table 9, and these results are depicted in graph

form in Figure 5. Since the ANOVAs were conducted using

trials 2 through 12, the mean importance ratings for thes

trials were considered to determine the direction of the

elicitation main effect. The data in Table 9 indicate that


ough 12

.18


3.15 6.73 2.85 8.32 2.53


SD

2.32

2.37

1.91

2.55

2.71

2.89

2.91

2.87

3.38

1.36

1.74

3.11




















., .. .Standard
6,
Imagery

5. 1 Focusing
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

trial
Figure 5: Importance rating scale by Elicitation X Trial.


the importance rating score for the Focusing participants (x

= 8.32) was higher than those of both the standard

elicitation (x = 7.18) and imagery elicitation participants

(x = 6.73). A 95 percent confidence interval places the

mean importance rating score for focusing participants

between 7.53 and 9.11. These results indicate that

participants who underwent the focusing procedure

elicitation tended to rate their elicited constructs as more

meaningful overall than did participants in the standard and

imagery elicitation groups.

Given that there were notable differences between

elicitation procedures for the importance ratings on the

first trial, which served as a baseline measure, a post hoc

ANOVA was conducted on the importance ratings on the first








83

trial. There was not a statistically significant difference

noted between the subjects prior to being exposed to the

various elicitation procedures, with F(2, 36) = 2.531, p

.094. These results support Hypothesis 1 for the importance

rating dependent variable.


Tests of Hypothesis 2


In order to test if there was an increase in

meaningfulness as measured by extremity scores and/or

importance rating scores as participants in one or more

groups proceeded through the elicitation trials, difference

scores were calculated to contrast scores from early trials

with scores from later trials. Extremity and importance

rating scores from the first, second, and third trials were

subtracted from the extremity and importance rating scores

from the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth trials respectively.

For purposes of notation, the extremity difference scores

are noted as "extremdiff" with the trials used in the

calculation noted in parentheses, for example,

extremdiff(10-1) is the extremity difference score for trial

10 minus trial 1. The importance rating difference scores

are noted in a like manner, with "importdiff" and the trials

noted in parentheses. Specifically, the three extremity











difference sores for

following formulas:

Extremdiff(10 1) =

Extremdiff(ll 2) =

Extremdiff(12 3) =


each subject were calculated



trial 10 extremity trial 1

trial 11 extremity trial 2

trial 12 extremity trial 3


Table 10.

ANOVAs testing Hypothesis 2 using difference scores for


extremity and importance rating


scores


Extremity Difference Scores


Source

Within + Residual

Elicitation

Sex

Elicitation X Sex


DF MS F p


16 216.36

2 61.91

1 13.60

2 216.59


Importance rating Difference Scores


Within + Residual

Elicitation

Sex

Elicitation X Sex X
Trial


36 14.47

2 3.13

1 43.55

2 13.54


The importance rating difference scores were calculated

using the following formulas:

Importdiff(10 1) = trial 10 importance rating trial 1

importance rating;


84

using the



extremity;

extremity;

extremity.


.29

.06

1.00






.22

3.01

.94


.753

.803

.377






.806

.091

.402










Importdiff(11 2) = trial 11 importance rating trial 2

importance rating;

Importdiff(12 3) = trial 12 importance rating trial 3

importance rating. Note that a positive difference score

would indicate an increase in meaningfulness as indicated by

either extremity score or importance rating.

ANOVAs were run to examine Hypothesis 2 using extremity

scores and importance rating scores separately. The results

of these analyses are noted in Table 10.


Table 11.

Extremity difference scores: Elicitation X Sex

Standard Imagery Focusing
x SD x SD x SD

Extremdiff(10-1)

all -1.00 21.15 1.57 16.25 -2.86 10.12

female 0.86 21.14 4.50 15.97 -5.85 12.29

male -2.86 22.67 -2.33 17.25 0.14 7.06

Extremdiff(11-2)

all 2.64 13.65 -0.29 10.95 0.21 11.60

female 8.43 13.40 -5.00 10.53 -2.43 10.39

male -3.14 12.08 6.00 8.58 2.86 12.93

Extremdiff(12-3)

all -6.07 15.69 -1.43 7.57 -4.36 10.49

female -4.86 13.89 -1.88 9.69 -2.00 13.08

male -7.29 18.36 -0.83 4.35 -6.71 7.36











Neither of the ANOVAS produced statistically

significant results. The sex independent variable for

importance rating scores approached statistical

significance(g = .09). Means and standard deviations for

the difference scores,broken down by variable, group, and

sex, are listed in Table 11 (differences in extremity

scores) and Table 12 (differences in importance rating

scores).


Table 12.

Importance rating difference scores: Elicitation X Sex

Standard Imagery Focusing

S SD SD x SD

Importdiff(10-1)

all 0.00 3.98 -1.14 2.66 0.14 2.41

female 0.1- 4.30 -1.00 2.00 0.86 3.08

male 0.14 3.98 -1.33 3.56 -0.57 1.40

Importdiff(11-2)

all -0.29 4.01 0.43 3.88 0.29 1.77

female 2.00 3.42 0.00 4.28 0.14 1.68

male -2.57 3.31 1.00 3.58 0.43 1.99

Importdiff(11-2)

all -0.43 5.18 -0.43 5.03 0.00 3.86

female 0.71 6.07 0.00 4.44 1.00 2.89

male -1.57 4.28 -1.00 6.13 -1.00 4.65








87

These results do not support acceptance of Hypothesis 2 for

either extremity scores or importance rating.



Further Post Hoc Analysis


Clearly, the results of the tests of Hypothesis 1,

whether the Focusing elicitation would cause participants to

rate constructs as more meaningful, were greatly different


Table 13.

Pearson correlations for extremity ratings and importance
rating matched by trial
importance rating

1 2 3 4 5 6

1 .138

2 .073

e 3 .218
x 4 .234
t
r 5 .234
e
m 6 .118
i
t
Y 7 8 9 10 11 12

r 7 .446
a
t 8 .305
1 9 .133
n
g 10 .049

11 .202

12 .074








88

for extremity score results versus importance rating

results. For heuristic purposes, Pearson correlation

coefficients were calculated for each trial in order to

examine the relationship between extremity scores and

importance rating scores. The correlations are listed in

Table 14. The correlations ranged from .446 (trial 7) to

.049 (trial 10). No further analyses were conducted.














CHAPTER V
DISCUSSION




The results of the statistical analyses for this study

were mixed in their support of the two hypotheses tested.

The tests of the first hypothesis, that participants trained

to use the Focusing procedure would produce constructs which

were more meaningful, showed a statistically significant

main effect in support of this hypothesis when considering

the importance rating measure of meaningfulness. However,

results based on the extremity score measure of

meaningfulness did not support rejection of the null

hypothesis. There was also an unexpected three way

interaction for Elicitation X Sex X Trial variables when

extremity scores were considered.


In regard to the second hypothesis, that participants

using the Focusing elicitation procedure would produce more

meaningful constructs in latter trials, when compared to

early trials, while the control group participants would

tend to produce less meaningful constructs in latter trials,

the hypothesis was not supported by the results using either











extremity scores or importance rating scores. There was

some indication of a Sex variable effect noted for the

differences between early trial importance ratings and late

trial importance rating (p = .09). However. This failed to

meet the a priori setting of statistical significance which

was set at the p .05 level.

The possible implications of these findings, the

limitations of this study, and applications of this area of

study to constructivist approaches to assessment and

psychotherapy, will be discussed in the remainder of this

chapter.



Effects of Elicitation Procedure
on the Overall Level of Meaningfulness


Contrary to predictions, the extremity scores for the

Focusing participants were not higher (in fact, were

slightly lower) than the extremity scores for participants

in the two control groups. The mean rating on the six point

Likert scale for a single element (person), for a single

construct, ranged from 3.87 (Focusing elicitation) to 4.04

(standard elicitation) when one considers trials two through

twelve (recall that all participants underwent an identical

procedure during the first trial). The only noteworthy

difference in extremity scores for the elicitation procedure

variable is that participants in the imagery control group










had a markedly lower standard deviation for extremity.

Specifically, SD = 8.80 was noted for the imagery

participants versus SD = 15.50 for standard participants and

SD = 13.84 for Focusing participants. This pattern was

consistent for males and females. This difference in score

variance may be related to the Elicitation X Sex X Trial

interaction noted for extremity scores, which will be

discussed later.

Unlike the extremity measure, the importance rating

measure did show a statistically significant main effect for

the elicitation procedure variable. This effect was

significant at the p s .015 level. Post hoc analysis of the

first trial ratings indicated that there was not a

statistically significant difference at baseline between the

groups for the importance ratings. Pairwise comparisons

indicated there was no statistically significant difference

between the two control groups (standard elicitation and

imagery elicitation). When these two control groups were

combined, they were shown to be different from the

experimental group (Focusing Elicitation). A comparison of

the mean importance rating scores indicates that the

Focusing group had higher average importance rating scores

than the control groups. These results for the importance

rating dependent variable are consistent with the prediction

made in Hypothesis 1.




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/2 81,9(56,7< 2) )/25,'$ LLLLLLQLLJL


EXPERIENTIAL CONSTRUCT ELICITATION:
USING FOCUSING TO ACCESS MORE
MEANINGFUL CONSTRUCTS
BY
STEPHEN D. PITTMAN
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1997

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
There are many people who have provided me with
support, guidance, and friendship throughout the years in my
journey to obtain this degree to whom I am grateful: to the
entire faculty of the Counseling Psychology program and the
Albany Psychology Internship Consortium, who have created
environments where students are treated as colleagues and
given ample opportunity to grow into that distinguished
company; to Dr. Maggie Labarta who taught me how to practice
outside the sheltered walls of academia and became a dear
friend; to Dr. Franz Epting who has inspired my thought and
guided my steps throughout graduate school; to my wife,
Anita, who has held my hand, given me the strength to
complete my goals, and carries in her love the promise of
tomorrow; and, to my parents, Gene and Faye Pittman, who
have always stood by me with unwavering love and support.
To these people, and to many other friends, teachers, and
clients I wish to express my deepest gratitude.
ii

TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ii
LIST OF TABLES V
LIST OF FIGURES vi
ABSTRACT vii
CHAPTERS
I INTRODUCTION 1
II LITERATURE REVIEW 9
Physiologic Aspects of Emotional Awareness 10
Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy 15
Preverbal Constructs 27
Construct Meaningfulness and Superordination .... 33
Arguments for an Experiential Constructivism .... 38
Rational for the Present Study 43
Hypotheses 45
III METHOD 47
Preliminary Study 47
Subjects 49
Materials 49
Measures of Meaningfulness 50
Procedure 51
IV RESULTS 67
Statistical Analyses Design 67
Results of Statistical Analyses 68
Further Post Hoc Analysis 87
iii

V DISCUSSION 89
Effects of Elicitation Procedure on the Overall
Level of Meaningfulness 90
Changes in Meaningfulness Across Trials 93
Elicitation X Gender X Trial Interaction 95
Comparing the Measures of Meaningfulness: Extremity
and Importance Rating 98
Concluding Remarks 100
APPENDICES
A PRELIMINARY STUDY RESULTS 103
B REPERTORY GRID INSTRUMENT 105
C CONSTRUCT MEANINGFULNESS RATING SCALE 119
REFERENCES 120
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 125
iv

LIST OF TABLES
Table page
1. ANOVA for Elicitation, Sex, and Trial main
effects and interactions using extremity for
Hypothesis 1 69
2. Extremity scores: Elicitation X Sex X Trial. ... 70
3. Average extremity score per Element: Elicitation
X Sex X Trial 72
4. ANOVA for Standard elicitation by Sex X Trial. . . 75
5. ANOVA for Imagery elicitation by Sex X Trial. . .76
6. ANOVA for Focusing elicitation by Sex X Trial. . . 77
7. ANOVA for Elicitation, Sex, and Trial main
effects and interactions using importance rating
for Hypothesis 1 79
8. ANOVA for pairwise comparisons using importance
rating for Hypothesis 1 80
9. Importance rating scores: Elicitation X Trial. . . 81
10. ANOVAs testing Hypothesis 2 using difference scores
for extremity and importance rating scores. ... 84
11. Extremity difference scores: Elicitation X Sex. . 85
12. Importance rating difference scores: Elicitation
X Sex 8 6
13. Pearson correlations for extremity ratings and
importance rating matched by trial 87
v

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
page
1. Average extremity ratings by Elicitation X Sex X
Trial for all elicitation procedures 74
2. Mean extremity ratings by Sex X Trial for Standard
elicitation 75
3. Mean extremity ratings by Sex X Trial for Imagery
elicitation 76
4. Mean extremity ratings by Sex X Trial for Focusing
elicitation 77
5. Importance rating scale by Elcitation X Trial . . . 82
vi

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
EXPERIENTIAL CONSTRUCT ELICITATION:
USING FOCUSING TO ACCESS MORE
MEANINGFUL CONSTRUCTS
By
Stephen D. Pittman
May, 1997
Chairperson: Franz R. Epting, Ph.D.
Major Department: Psychology
This study investigates the application of experiential
awareness techniques to construct elicitation. The
elicitation of personal constructs is used to gain better
understanding of a person's means of interpreting the world,
and is a standard practice in constructivist oriented
psychology. Various constructivists have called for using a
more experiential approach to clinical practice and
research. It was proposed that using an experiential
approach to the repertory grid procedure would lead to the
elicitation of constructs which are more meaningful for the
person. Eugene Gendlin's Focusing technique was adapted to
the grid procedure in an effort to enhance experiential
vii

awareness and facilitate the verbalization of that
awareness.
A sample of 42 undergraduate students completed
repertory grids using one of three procedures: standard
triadic elicitation; guided imagery elicitation; and
Focusing elicitation. The meaningfulness of the elicited
constructs was measured using a rating of perceived
construct meaningfulness and by the extremity of construct
ratings regarding various people.
The hypothesis that Focusing would elicit more
meaningful constructs overall was supported by the
importance rating dependent variable, but not by the
extremity score dependent variable. A second hypothesis,
that Focusing would lead to participants producing
progressively more meaningful constructs in latter
elicitation trials, was not supported by either dependent
variable. There was also an unexpected Elicitation X Sex X
Trial interaction noted for extremity scores. Specifically,
extremity scores for participants in the guided imagery
control group tended to be influenced by the Sex and Trial
independent variables. It is argued that this may have been
due to differences in males' and females' reactions to the
various tasks presented in the guided imagery script.
The results of this study do support the call for
fostering experiential awareness in assessment and
viii

psychotherapy. However, there is a need for a greater
understanding of the concept of construct meaningfulness and
its measure. Gendlin's Focusing procedure and other
techniques which function to enhance experiential awareness
may prove to be valuable tools for constructivist clinicians
and researchers. Further study is needed in order to better
understand the uses and benefits of enhancing experiential
awareness in clinical practice and research.
IX

CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
Over the past few years, constructivist approaches to
psychology have had an increasingly influential impact on
psychological theory and psychotherapy. This interest is
perhaps best demonstrated by the American Psychological
Association's recent publication of Constructivism in
Psychotherapy {Neimeyer and Mahoney, 1995) , which is likely
to serve as an introduction to constructivist thinking and
techniques to many students and practitioners in the field
of psychology. Aspects of a constructivistic approach were
evident in the work of Alfred Adler and many of the early
existentialists. However, there was not a formalized
constructivist theory until the seminal work of George Kelly
and his publication of the text that laid the foundation for
constructivist approaches, The Psychology of Personal
Constructs: A Theory of Personality (Kelly, 1955).
Kelly's approach was a radical departure from the
prevailing theories of the day, most notably behaviorism and
psychoanalysis. Instead of seeing individuals as being
directed by external reinforcers or unconscious drives,
1

2
Kelly viewed people as teleologic scientists who actively
seek out an understanding of their environment through their
interaction with it. He coined the term "man as scientist"
(Kelly, 1955) to describe the experimental process by which
an individual formulates hypotheses in order to anticipate
events, and tests those hypotheses by examining the
outcomes. This examination leads to confirmation,
disconfirmation, or elaboration of one's hypotheses, and
allows the individual to construct a working theory of the
world which guides one's future actions.
An underlying assumption which is central to Kelly's
Personal Construct Psychology, and to constructivist
approaches in general, is that people access their
environment only through the interpretation of their
perceptions. Thus, people function based on their
interpretations of their perceptions of reality rather than
on reality itself. Since no one has direct access to a
concrete reality, constructivist psychologists do not
propose to correct faulty cognitions or teach correct ways
of thinking as cognitive psychologists might. Instead, they
focus their efforts toward gaining a fuller understanding of
an individual's hypotheses and anticipations about the
world, otherwise referred to as a person's construct system.
By developing an understanding of a person's construct
system, researchers and clinicians hope to understand how it

3
is that one functions in the world and to assist individuals
in their efforts to modify behaviors and emotions.
Kelly (1955) proposed that an individual's
constructs are organized in a hierarchical structure, with
some constructs being superordinate in the construct system.
These superordinate constructs would have greater
implications to the rest of the construct system than would
subordinate constructs, and thus, would be more meaningful
in the individual's interpretation of the world and the
self. It is usually with these more meaningful constructs
that psychotherapy clients require assistance during the
course of therapy (Epting, 1984) . However, it is also these
more meaningful constructs that are most resistant to change
(Kelly, 1955; Leitner, 1984) . Oftentimes, superordinate
constructs may be preverbal (Epting, 1984), and thus
difficult to identify and understand utilizing verbal tools.
Constructivists have long sought means of gathering
information about superordinate constructs. Hinkle (1966)
developed a technique, laddering, which continues to prove
useful in eliciting a string of constructs which extends
into superordinate constructions (Neimeyer, R., 1993).
Another approach has been to use questions about the
implications a construct has to how a person views the world
to elicit more meaningful constructs (Neimeyer, R., 1993).
These methods, as well as standard repertory grid

4
elicitation, are limited in that they depend on the
subject/client having a pre-existing verbal label for the
construct dimension being described, and thus, are limited
to constructs to which one already has a cognitive
representation.
Contemporary theorists in humanistic psychology
(Gendlin, 1996) and constructivist psychology (Greenberg &
Pascual-Leone, 1995, and Guidano, 1995 a) have called for
the utilization of experiential methods to the processes of
therapy and assessment. They argue that experiential
methods will allow subjects/clients to go beyond the level
of cognitive awareness they already possess and to verbalize
insights which they previously did not know how to
verbalize.
Eugene Gendlin speaks of looking past those answers of
which one is already aware, and using one's ability to
reflect upon the lived experience, of searching for a path
to guide one to the words that most accurately reflect the
lived experience (Gendlin, 1995). In attempting to describe
this experiential level of awareness and the struggle to
match it with words, Gendlin likens the process to the
experience of writing a poem. One may produce the first few
lines with little effort; but, at a point one struggles for
the correct words. Words come to the poet, but they are not
the right words. The poet knows that they are not the right

5
words, even though she does not know what the right words
are, because at an experiential level there is an awareness
that has not yet been verbalized. Upon finding the words
that fit the experiential knowledge, the poet feels a sense
of ease (Gendlin, 1995). After reflecting on Gendlin's
words, I pose the following query to myself: If I ask a
question to which a person is readily able to provide an
answer, have I helped that person learn more about himself?
Gendlin has developed a specific technique for
promoting the exploration and verbalization of experiential
awareness which he calls "Focusing" (Gendlin, 1969, 1971,
1983, 1996). Focusing is a technique which teaches the
individual to attend to emotional and physical responses in
conjunction with intellectual responses. In an earlier
publication I proposed applying Gendlin's Focusing technique
to Kelly's repertory grid procedure in an effort to elicit
more meaningful constructs (Epting, Probert, & Pittman,
1993) .
In a subsequent study, I (Pittman, 1993) hypothesized
that utilizing the Focusing technique during the assessment
procedure of construct elicitation would lead to the
elicitation of more meaningful constructs and negate a well
established pattern for the level of meaningfulness to
decline across repeated trials (McDonagh & Adams-Webber,
1987). Constructs were elicited using an abbreviated form

6
of Focusing. The Focusing elicited constructs were compared
to constructs elicited by standard triadic elicitation and a
progressive relaxation elicitation.
I found marginal support for the negation of the
decline in meaningfulness, but the hypothesis that Focusing
would generate more meaningful constructs was not supported.
Analysis of the results appeared to indicate that sampling
error and an uncontrolled confound had an impact on the
analysis of the data and increased the probability of a Type
II error. The sampling error was evident in that the
results of the first elicitation were measured as markedly
less meaningful for the Focusing group than for the two
control groups, despite all three groups being subject to
identical conditions for the first elicitation.
The data from this initial study also produced an
unexpected result that appeared to add to the error
variance, thus increasing the probability of a Type II
error. This was evident in that the meaningfulness levels
of the experimental and control groups varied systematically
in a pattern that seemed to indicate that the stimuli used
for construct elicitation, various groups of three persons
the subject personally knew (triadic sorts), affected the
level of meaningfulness of the elicited construct. This was
an unexpected result and had not been the subject of
previous study. Subsequently, a colleague and I (Calbeck

7
and Pittman) have conducted a study to examine this effect
(noted in Chapter III and Appendix A).
Upon further reflection on the 1993 study, and upon
receiving further training in Focusing with Dr. Gendlin and
others at the Focusing Institute during the summer of 1993,
it was evident that the Focusing procedure would be more
likely to have an impact on the elicitation process if it
were taught on an individual basis, rather than in the group
format utilized in the previous study. Further
investigation was warranted into attempts to increase the
level of meaningfulness by using experiential methods,
specifically the Focusing procedure.
The results of the 1993 experiment (Pittman, 1993) and
the study regarding the effect various triadic sorts have on
the measured levels of meaningfulness of elicited constructs
were utilized to refine the experimental process. The
information garnered from the triadic sorts study was
utilized to reduce error variance in this study. I also
conducted the Focusing training and construct elicitation on
an individual basis and in a less structured manner in an
attempt to adhere more closely to Gendlin's presentation of
Focusing procedure and to maximize the effect of this
experiential intervention. The specific application of the
experiential techniques to repertory grid procedure may
prove valuable in that it may aid in the elicitation of more

8
meaningful or previously nonverbalized constructs. The
verbalization of one's experience is not only a process of
discovery (assessment), but is simultaneously a process of
elaboration as well. As such, it is a therapeutic process
in its own right. Should this experiment indicate that the
Focusing procedure does provide an avenue for gaining a
greater understanding of a person's more meaningful
constructs, it would support the current calls for more
experientially based therapeutic interventions and research,
and provide clinicians with evidence that experiential
methods, such as Focusing, can be valuable assessment and
therapeutic tools.

CHAPTER II
LITERATURE REVIEW
In this chapter I will review the literature which is
pertinent to the application of an experiential technique,
specifically a modified version of Eugene Gendlin's Focusing
technique, to the construct elicitation assessment process.
Initially, this review will give a brief overview of
philosophical positions regarding the relationship between
the mind and the body. There is then an overview of some of
the major body oriented psychotherapy approaches, primarily
Gestalt and Bioenergetics. I then provide a description of
Eugene Gendlin's experientially based approach to
psychotherapy, Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy, and the
Focusing procedure. The final three sections deal with
aspects of constructivism. I will discuss the nature of
preverbal constructs and the importance unverbalized
constructs play in psychotherapy. Next, there is a
discussion of construct meaningfulness and hierarchy, which
includes issues regarding the measurement of these
characteristics. The final literature review section
examines the call for a more experientially oriented
9

10
constructivist psychology. These somewhat diverse content
areas are brought together in order to provide a foundation
for the application of an experientially based intervention
to the repertory grid assessment procedure.
Physiological Aspects of Emotional Awareness
The physiologic reactions of clients to emotion have
played a role in psychotherapy since its inception. It was
the presentation of bodily symptoms which did not fit known
anatomical characteristics, such as glove anesthesia, which
first led the physician, Sigmund Freud, to explore a talking
cure. The nature of the relationship between the mind,
body, and psychological processes has been the subject of
philosophical debate since the time of Aristotle and Plato.
Each theory of psychology is predicated on its explanation
of the mind-body relationship. Two general camps of belief
are used to describe this relationship, dualism and monism.
Dualism, the belief in a distinct split between the
mind and the body, is based in Platonic thought. One
variation of dualism views the mind as the central feature
of humanity, with the body playing a secondary role (Leahy,
1987). This is the underlying philosophical position seen
in early psychodynamically oriented theories as well as
newer approaches, such as Psychobiological Psychotherapy

11
(Rossi, 1990). A divergent form of dualism, one based on
Cartesian philosophy, relegates consciousness to the realm
of epiphenomena and gives primacy to physiological
processes. This philosophy is at the root of motor
theories, such as Classical Behaviorism and Radical
Behaviorism (Leahy, 1987).
The monistic philosophical position, which can be
traced back to the teachings of Aristotle (Leahy, 1987),
views the body and mind as operating as an integrated
entity. In reflecting upon the draw of seeing human
existence dualistically versus monistically, George Kelly
wrote,
. . . what is mind can hardly be construed except
in ways that are 'intellectualized,' and what is
'body' can hardly be construed by him except in
ways that are 'mechanical.' He cannot construe
his facts comprehensively except as he goes back
to the earliest forms of preverbal thinking. Only
at that primitive level may we find that the
'mind' and the 'body' were not preemptively
separated. (Kelly, 1955, p.921)
The nineteenth and twentieth century existential
philosophers such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, and
Merleau-Ponty strongly influenced modern monistic approaches
(Shaffer, 1978), including Existential psychotherapy,
Gestalt psychotherapy, and a wide array of humanistic
approaches. A consideration of physiological processes is
often incorporated into their approaches to psychotherapy.
A brief overview of various bodily oriented approaches may

12
provide a catalyst for the utilization of experiential
techniques.
Gestalt Approaches
Gestalt approaches have been described as "supremely
experiential" in that the therapist places a strong emphasis
on the client's physiological reaction and focus on the
"moment-to-moment flow of awareness" (Shaffer, 1978, p.87).
Two concepts central to the practice of Gestalt therapy are
to help the client recognize and accept all of the various
aspects of oneself, and to take responsibility for oneself
and one's actions. Typically, a Gestalt therapist may
keenly observe a client's bodily reactions and direct the
client's attention to those reactions in order that the
reactions may become therapeutic vehicles. A Gestalt
therapist may direct a client to exaggerate a curled-up
posture or the tapping of a foot. The client and therapist
then explore the meaning behind the bodily reaction in
relation to issues being explored in the therapy session.
Gestalt therapists consider body movement to symbolize an
unconscious level of awareness (Shaffer, 1978).
Gestalt theorists differentiate between intelligent
awareness and psychophysical awareness. Kempler (1973)
notes that these two types of awareness are "distinctly
different and inseparable" (p. 259). He describes these

13
types of awareness as being unified at birth, but later
splitting as a result of the civilizing process and the
development of the ability to conceptualize. Kempler argues
that, once this splitting has occurred, a single event can
be experienced in two distinct ways. The individual may
have awareness on one level, and simultaneously have no
awareness on the other level. Kempler further notes that
intelligent awareness can modify or distort an experience
through the use of conceptual understanding, while
psychophysical awareness offers the experience in its
unmodified form. He contends that it is the aim of therapy
to help the client bring these levels of awareness into
correspondence with each other.
Gestalt Therapy responds to coordinated
psychophysical awareness and does not respect
intelligent awareness when it functions
independently. When they are separated, the
Gestalt therapist listens to intelligent awareness
with one ear while searching with the other for a
message from psychophysical awareness. Gestalt
Therapy talks to intelligent awareness as though
it were a messenger boy being instructed to return
to the company in which it works to deliver
information. Part of the work of Gestalt Therapy
is to coordinate intelligent and
psychophysiological awareness wherever they are
found alienated from one another. (Kempler, 1973,
p. 260)
More recent variations of the Gestalt approach, such as
Edward Smith's Embodied Psychotherapy (Smith, 1990), place
an even greater emphasis on developing physiological
awareness.

14
Lowen's Bioenerqetics
Alexander Lowen (1975), under the influence of his
mentor Wilhelm Reich, developed a therapeutic approach which
utilizes physiological awareness as a means to psychological
intervention. Reich proposed that emotional repression or
blockage is expressed as muscular tension, a phenomenon he
termed "character body armor," (Shaffer, 1978). Lowen went
on to propose that psychological change must be accompanied
by a change in the bodily experience, stating "unfortunately
information does not become knowledge unless it has
relevance to experience. We constantly overlook the fact
that experience is a bodily phenomenon. One only
experiences that which takes place in the body" (Lowen,
1975, p.62). Lowen viewed adults as functioning on two
levels simultaneously, one with physiologic awareness and
one with a psychic awareness (1975, p.142). He reported
that many of his patients complained of physical pain as
well as emotional discomfort. Lowen found that, by using
physical techniques to first accentuate then relieve the
physical pain, his patients would frequently become aware of
repressed emotional pain. This emotional pain was then
addressed by way of additional physical interventions as
well as more conventional verbal therapy. Lowen considered
the estrangement of the psychic and physiologic levels of

15
awareness to be a central obstacle to the patient's ability
to resolve life problems. While some therapists continue to
practice Bioenergetic therapy, other clinicians and
researchers have taken different approaches to bridging the
schism between psychic and physiologic awareness.
Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy
Humanistic theories have the common element of a belief
in an innate tendency for humans to grow and develop toward
higher, or healthier, functioning. Kelly argues that the
force for this growth, motivation, is an inherent aspect of
the human condition (Kelly 1955). With his Choice
Corollary, "A person chooses for himself that alternative in
a dichotomized construct through which he anticipates the
greater possibility for extension and definition of his
system" (Kelly, 1963, p. 64), Kelly provides an explanation
for the mechanism and direction of growth.
Eugene Gendlin argues that while not all human
processes necessarily lead to healthier functioning, there
is an innate and fundamental process by which growth and
development occur. He further points out that this process
must be trusted and that the therapist must not attempt to
impose values on the content of the individuals experience.

16
We do not need a metaphysical assumption that
human process always moves toward health. We do
not want sloppy optimism. With so much suffering
and destructiveness all around us, optimism is an
insult to those who suffer. But pessimism is an
insult to life. Life always has its own forward
direction, whatever else may also be occurring.
To follow or encourage a growth direction is
very different from promoting a set of values, an
idea of 'good' or 'bad.' Contents do not stay
static. What seems bad soon opens and alters what
we think is bad. Therefore good and bad must be
rethought just as all notions of content must be
rethought.
Theory cannot direct the process we are
discussing because it has its own direction. But
theory (a new kind of theory) can find the
'direction' even though it is not definable in
terms of its content. (Gendlin, 1996, p.23)
Gendlin has developed an approach to a psychotherapy
which fosters and utilizes this growth direction. He has
referred to this approach as "Experiential Psychotherapy"
(Gendlin, 1969, 1973, 1978) and, more recently, as
"Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy" (Gendlin, 1996) . His,
approach is deeply experiential and places strong emphasis
on awareness of the present and self-responsibility.
In the middle nineteen-sixties, Gendlin began
developing a psychotherapy and personal growth technique he
called "Focusing" (Gendlin, 1964, 1969, 1973, 1981, 1986,
1996). Focusing is designed to match verbal labels with a
person's experiential awareness of the moment.
Gendlin notes that most people have become disembodied
in their daily lives.

17
When thinking is cut off from the other kinds of
experience, it is called 'intellectualizing' and
brings little psychological change. Most people
do not know that an experientially connected kind
of thinking is even possible. We have been taught
to think at a great distance from experience.
Even when we want to think about a specific
experience, we often leave our direct sense of it
behind, in order to think about it. As soon as we
have one thought about it, we think from that
thought to another and another, without ever
returning to the experience to see if our thoughts
do justice to it. (Gendlin, 1996, pp.240-41)
This intellectual knowing without experiencing limits one's
ability to take a fresh perspective or create a new way of
being. According to Gendlin, "experiencing is always more
intricate than concepts" (Gendlin, 1996, p.268). The lived
bodily experience goes beyond the language symbols people
have available for expressing thought. In an earlier work
where he discussed the philosophical aspects of meaning,
Gendlin stated, "meaning is formed in the interaction of
experiencing and something that functions symbolically.
Feeling without symbolization is blind; symbolization
without feeling is empty" (Gendlin, 1990, p.5).
Gendlin's approach relies on a level of awareness which
he calls a "felt sense," a level of consciousness where an
experience is available but not yet in conscious awareness.
What I am referring to is the layer of the
unconscious that is likely to come up next. This
is at first sensed somatically, not yet known or
opened, not yet in the 'preconscious.' Freud had
no term for this layer. Nor has there been a term
for it in the common language. We now call it a
'felt sense.' (Gendlin, 1996, p.19)

18
As a heretofore undefined entity, the felt sense
requires a great deal of explanation. The felt sense is a
level of awareness that goes beyond what is known
intellectually, and is more encompassing than the mere
experience of physical and emotional reactions.
Experience is often thought of as if it consisted
only of feelings, interactions, cognitions,
memories, actions, images, and so on. But is it
really divided into these neat little packages? .
. . The felt sense is an experiential mesh that is
not divided. At the conscious-unconscious border
zone one senses the ongoing experiential process,
and it is always implicitly intricate. That means
it includes a whole range of images, feelings,
actions, and so on that have never happened as
such, but could come. (Gendlin 1996, p.174)
The felt sense is a total awareness which encompasses
what is known intellectually, felt physically, and
experienced emotionally; "A felt sense contains a maze of
meanings, a whole texture of facets, a Persian rug of
patterning—more than could be said or thought" (Gendlin,
1996, p.58). There are eight characteristics of a felt
sense:
1. A felt sense forms at the border zone between
conscious and unconscious.
2. The felt sense has at first only an unclear
quality (although unique and unmistakable) .
3. The felt sense is experienced bodily.
4. The felt sense is experienced as a whole, a
single datum that is internally complex.
5. The felt sense moves through steps; it shifts
and opens step by step.
6. A step brings one closer to being that self
which is not any content.

19
7. The process step has its own growth direction.
8. Theoretical explanations of a step can be
devised only retrospectively. (Gendlin, 1996,
p.24)
Most people do not look to the felt sense when
thinking about their experience. From Gendlin's
perspective, the ability to experience oneself in a lived,
bodily sense is crucial to psychological health and
psychotherapy; psychological maladjustment is "the loss of
touch with one's inward experience" (Gendlin, 1973, p.331).
Gendlin and his colleagues have reported several
studies which indicate that the degree to which one is able
to experience the therapeutic process on a "whole body"
level, versus a "cognitive only" level, and to work on the
edge of what is known and unknown, is highly associated
with the degree of success one will experience in therapy
(Gendlin 1969, 1973, 1996; Mathieu-Coughlan & Klein, 1984).
This ability to experience one's state of felt existence
was found to be a strong predictor of therapeutic outcome;
the more able one is to experience this felt existence and
explore the edge of one's awareness of meaning, the more
likely one is to have a successful therapeutic outcome.
In its most basic form, Focusing-Oriented Therapy
relies on the following process: The client is taught
Focusing and develops or enhances an ability to experience
a present holistic awareness. This awareness leads to more

20
authentic living, and authentic living is the goal of
Focusing-Oriented psychotherapy.
Focusing is a method of inquiry of one's bodily sense
in order to gain further understanding and articulate what
is going on in one's life. Gendlin notes that when he uses
the word "body," he means the body "as sensed from inside"
(Gendlin, 1996, p.181). He contends that people utilize
body based knowing daily without bringing bodily knowing
into consciousness.
Your body feels the complexity of each situation,
and enacts much of what you do all day without
your needing to think about each move. What you
think is of course important, but you can think of
only a few things at one time. It is your body
that totals up the whole situation and comes up
with appropriate actions most of the time. Human
bodies live immediately and directly in each
situation. (Gendlin, 1996, p.181)
In order to develop and capitalize on this body based
awareness, Gendlin teaches his clients the Focusing
procedure. Once a client has learned the Focusing
procedure, the procedure can be used as a self¬
awareness/personal growth exercise or be used as a
technique to aid in psychotherapy. Once a client is
skilled at Focusing, the client may choose to utilize only
selected steps of the procedure for any given experience.
Ideally, a person who has learned Focusing will utilize a
Focusing approach daily to enhance awareness of one's
experience.

21
Focusing is a six "movement" procedure. The following
is a summary of the movements and their instructions:
First Movement: Clearing a space.
The client may be instructed to, "Ask yourself, 'How
do I feel? Why don't I feel wonderful right now? What is
bugging me on this particular day?" The client is then
instructed to "Stay quiet. Listen. Let what comes come,"
and to passively let any and all currently troublesome
issues to accumulate on a list without giving priority to
any particular one. The client does this in a detached
manner until one feels that the troublesome thoughts are
all listed. An alternative approach that is highly
effective, but somewhat startling, is to have the client
say, "Everything in my life is perfect just the way it is,"
and observe all of the thoughts that arise about those
things that are not perfect.
The focusing client is then asked to "step back"
emotionally from the troublesome thoughts, acknowledging
that the thoughts are concerns, but giving oneself
permission not to be concerned about these things right
now. The "clearing a space" step is complete when the
focuser can comfortably say, "except for those, I am fine."
Second Movement: Felt sense of the problem.
The client chooses a concern or feeling to focus on,
and then asks oneself, "What does this whole thing feel

22
like?" The most difficult part of this movement is getting
past the details, self-talk, and attempts at figuring out
an answer to the problem. One must "stand back" from
trying to solve the problem and just observe until getting
a sense of "what does this whole thing feel like?". It is
important that one is able to gain a safe distance from the
problem so as to not be overwhelmed by it and to be able to
observe it. Gendlin notes that a felt sense "will have a
certain bodily quality, such as, jumpy, heavy, sticky,
jittery, or tight. At times the bodily quality might best
be described in words that are also the names of emotions,
for example scared, shameful, or guilty" (1996, p.59). A
felt sense is not just a bodily sensation, but is a bodily
felt awareness about something. Gendlin explains that even
though a felt sense might be best described by the names of
emotions, the felt sense is not the same as an emotion.
The felt sense conveys much more than an emotion.
The first and main difference between an emotion
and a felt sense is that an emotion is
recognizable. We usually know just what emotion
we have. When we are angry, sad, or joyful we not
only feel it but we know what it is. But with a
felt sense we say, 'I can feel it, right there,
but I don't know what it is.' A felt sense has
its own meaning, but it is usually more intricate
than we can express with the usual phrases and
categories. (p.58)
Third Movement: Finding a handle.
The task during this movement is to find a word or
image, a "handle," which will capture the quality of the

23
felt sense. The goal is to translate the experience of the
awareness provided by the felt sense into a symbol (verbal,
visual, auditory) that will capture the essence of that
experience. What one is after is the "core" of the felt
sense, the crux of "all that" which is contained in the
felt sense. Gendlin likens the "handle" of a felt sense to
a more familiar object, "As with the handle of a suitcase,
which brings with it the whole weight of the suitcase, the
whole weight of the felt sense is brought forward by that
one word or phrase when one repeats it to oneself"
(Gendlin, 1996, p.48). As words or other types of symbols
come up, the felt sense might start to change. It may feel
different than expected, different from anything that might
have arisen from rational analysis. When the felt sense
changes, when there is a slight bodily shift, one has found
a "handle" for the felt sense.
Fourth Movement: Resonating between the handle and the
felt sense.
In this movement, one checks the "fit" between the
word label and the felt sense. Either or both may shift
during this process until they feel just right together.
To do this, one must maintain contact with the bodily felt
sense, and not let it go as soon as a verbal label is
found. Once the match between the felt sense and the word
are just right, one pauses for a minute or two to allow the
body to adjust to this new awareness.

24
Fifth Movement: Asking.
While patiently staying in touch with the felt sense,
one now asks the felt sense for a fuller understanding of
the problem. The following questions have been found to be
helpful—"What is it about this whole problem that makes me
so ?", "What is the worst of this?", or "What would
it take for this to feel 0K?". If the felt sense provides
an answer which leads to a deeper understanding, there will
also be a shift in the bodily felt sense which feels good.
Sixth Movement: Receiving.
The awareness or message that arises from the focusing
exercise is welcomed, no matter what it is. If one takes
a "receiving" attitude, welcoming anything that comes with
the body shift yet staying a little distance away from it,
one will not be overwhelmed by the message. The result of
any Focusing is to be considered a starting point for
further exploration, not as a definitive answer which
precludes further exploration (Gendlin, 1981, pp. 52 - 61).
These movements constitute the basic components of
Focusing. After one learns the process, Focusing can
proceed as a continuous flow of awareness, openness, and
moving forward into new awareness. Once a client is
familiar with Focusing, it can be utilized in conjunction
with practically any other therapeutic technique.

25
What can be achieved through these Focusing steps is
that one can tap into a greater level of awareness than is
available at a purely cognitive level, and by capturing
this awareness in words or other symbols, can bring this
awareness to the cognitive level. Doing so not only
changes one's cognitive awareness, but also changes the way
the issue is experienced on a bodily felt level. Gendlin
refers to Focusing as "a conversation between the felt
sense and the cognitive side" (1996, p. 238). He contends
that cognition is only one level of many levels of
organizing performed in the human experience.
Once a symbolic handle has been found for the felt
sense and there has been a shift in the awareness and
experience, the person has been carried forward in the
direction of growth. This carrying forward allows for
different subsequent experiences and fuller awareness.
For Gendlin (1996), pathology occurs when an
individual is blocked from being carried forward toward
further experiencing. This is similar to Kelly's (1955)
notion that the key to healthy psychological functioning is
to continue to revise one's construct by means of lived
experimentation. One aspect of Gendlin's approach that is
particularly ripe for further experiencing and continuing
revision of one's view of oneself in the world is that it
invites unpredictability in the lived experience.

26
Focusing is both an active and a passive endeavor
simultaneously. While one very actively attends to the
felt sense, one does not attempt to direct the path of this
process. That the person Focusing allows whatever
experience and awareness that presents itself to arise
provides an opportunity for unexpected insights and
understandings to present themselves. In this situation,
the individual's potential for growth and resolution of
problem areas can meet with novel concepts which have not
been channelized by prior attempts to resolve the problem.
It is this openness to novel and unexpected facets of
awareness coupled with utilization of the felt sense that
makes Gendlin's approach unique and an exciting prospect
for further application. In his earlier work (1969, 1981)
Gendlin emphasized the step by step mechanics of teaching
the Focusing procedure. He later applied Focusing to dream
interpretation (Gendlin, 1986). In his most recent book
(Gendlin, 1996), Gendlin places less emphasis on the
mechanics of Focusing, and instead emphasizes reliance on
the felt sense and an openness to new experience as a
fundamental approach which can be utilized in a wide
variety of therapeutic approaches.
In 1984, Epting (p.19) suggested that it may be
fruitful for Constructivists to adopt Gendlin's Focusing
technique as a means to gain greater access to poorly
articulated or unarticulated constructs. Greenberg and

27
Pascaul-Leone (1995) have recently reissued this call to
use the felt sense to gain a fuller understanding of
constructs. Bradford, in discussing Gendlin's experiential
approach to psychotherapy, points out that fundamental to
Gendlin's approach is . . the insight that words and
concepts emerge from a preconceptual dimension of embodied
feeling;" a dimension which is seen as being "primordial to
any theoretical vocabulary" (Bradford, 1989, p. 242).
Perhaps using the felt sense and an experiential approach
can provide a valuable tool for constructivists' use in
therapy and assessment. Such an approach may provide
access to preverbal and/or superordinate constructs in a
way that will promote greater extension and definition of
an individual's construct system.
Preverbal Constructs
George Kelly proposed that much of one's construct
system is comprised of constructs which have no consistent
word symbol, or "preverbal constructs" (Kelly, 1955, pp.
459-61) . And, that even when a construct does have a
verbal label, the verbalization is only a cognitive symbol
of the construct and not the construct itself. Kelly
(1955, p.565) argued that constructs which are preverbal
may have been devised prior to the individual developing a
command of speech, or may have been devised before the
capacity for verbal symbolization was present. Expanding

28
on this concept, Epting (1984, p.18) contends that
preverbal constructs may be loosely formulated, new, or may
have been formulated prior to the person having command of
the use of verbal symbolization.
Mahoney (Neimeyer, R. and Mahoney, M., 1995) speaks of
"powerful and mostly nonlinguistic processes of human self¬
organization," which he and others have termed "Core
Ordering Processes." These core ordering processes
function in a manner which "render perceptual and
experiential order itself and, hence, pattern, meaning, and
experienced reality. . (Neimeyer, R. and Mahoney, M.,
1995, p. 403). It is these core, and often preverbal,
constructs which hold particular interest in the pursuit of
therapeutic intervention and/or gaining an academic
understanding of human personality and change processes.
For the most part, the material dealt with in
psychotherapy will center around what is termed
role governing core. These are the subset of core
constructs which deal with the way we relate to
others through establishing role relationships
with them. Much of the material here, however may
not be well verbalized owing to the early age at
which it was established. (Epting, 1984, p. 47)
Developing an awareness and understanding of these
core constructs is crucial in the development of a role
relationship in which the therapist can subsume the
construct system and gain an understanding of the client's
construction of experience. Bringing these core constructs
to a level of awareness to which they can be symbolically

29
represented by words, and thus communicated, can be a key
component of the therapeutic process.
. . . change usually starts at the preverbal level
and the client later becomes articulate in the
therapy room . . . There is frequently however a
great deal of grappling with the material at a
preverbal level before the client can grasp what
is going on at the verbal level and thereby truly
encounter the change that is taking place.
(Epting, 1984, pp. 111-112)
R. Neimeyer (1995), Liotti (1987), and others note
that the classic view of resistance as being a maladaptive
barrier to therapeutic change is not the view held by
constructivists; instead, constructivists understand
"resistance" as the client's attempt to maintain one's core
constructs in an effort to maintain the sense of self.
Maintaining the core constructs allows the individual to
experience a consistency throughout a wide variety of lived
experiences and allows the person to utilize a multitude of
past experiences in anticipating future perceptions of
reality.
From a constructivist perspective, the interpretation
of new events, the development of new meanings, and the
evolving sense of who one is in the world is built on the
foundation of one's core constructs. Many of these core
constructs are likely to be composed of constructs formed
early in the developmental process and are likely to be
preverbal. Given that one sees the world through the
lenses of one's own construct system, and that each new

30
construct is developed through the perspective of the
already existing system, it is vital that a therapist gain
an understanding of this foundation which is so resistant
to change, rather than to simply try to impart a "better"
way of being. Even if a clinician were to "succeed" at
breaking through the resistance and invalidating a
problematic means of thinking about the world, such an
imposed dismantling of the core constructs would be likely
to throw the client into a phenomenological chaos. This
underscores the importance of the therapist becoming
familiar with and respecting the core of a client's
construct system before attempting to facilitate
substantive change.
As of yet, constructivists continue to struggle to
gain access to core constructs and little has been done to
specifically address those constructs which may be
preverbal (Neimeyer, R., 1993). The frustration of not
being able to access the core of the construct system
during the therapeutic process is demonstrated by a
personal journal passage quoted by Robert Neimeyer
(Neimeyer, R., 1995, p.232) in which his client "Mandy"
described her experience of completing a repertory grid:
The result of my reptest . . .I am disappointed.
Reflected is my superficial public self; I could
not tap my inner core. As I write this I sense an
enmeshment with that inner being . . . the self I
have much to learn from. In public, I am
separated from it ... I hide from myself. As I
completed the grid in group my inner self begged
for more time . . . for a safe place to think and

31
feel ... I had none at that moment. I am left
with what I know; the grid reflected only what I
fed it. I contemplate the separateness of my
being. What does it feel like to be whole?
(Something in this line has moved me to tears).
Neimeyer went on to cite Yorke's observation that perhaps
"it is difficult for meaning to pass through the linguistic
constrictions of the grid matrix" (Yorke, 1989, p.65).
In a prior publication, R. Neimeyer presented the use
of the stream of conscious technique, an approach similar to
Freudian free association, as a means to access more
meaningful constructs. In his depiction of a therapy
session with "Joan P.," his application of "stream of
conscious" is strikingly similar to aspects of Gendlin's
Focusing procedure:
... We then used some progressive muscle
relaxation techniques to induce the streaming
state, after which I quietly invited her to begin
sharing whatever came to her awareness whenever
she was ready to do so. Over several minutes,
Joan began by associating first to relationships,
then to Gene, then to a strong feeling of anger,
and then to a 'knot' in her stomach, at which
point she paused. I encouraged her simply to
repeat the word knot aloud several times. As she
did this, she seemed to become more angry, tensing
her fists and feet until she suddenly fell silent.
She expressed the feeling of being 'stuck in the
knot' and unable to enter it further. I then
suggested that she simply allow her mind to wander
once again to whatever drew her attention. She
relaxed for a moment and then associated to
Colorado, horses, riding horses, feeling free,
wanting to be free, experiencing herself as not
free, imagining herself behind bars, and then
returning to anger. . .. (Neimeyer, R., 1993,
pp. 93)

32
Clearly, Neimeyer's creating a calm environment through
relaxation, then directing Joan P. to transition between the
felt experience of a knot in her stomach to the use of the
word "knot," to allow her mind to "wander," accepting
various, seemingly unrelated associations, runs parallel to
the Focusing movements of Clearing a Space, Felt Sense of
the Problem, Finding a Handle, and Resonating.
Neimeyer's depiction of this intervention continued
with aspects that led to cognitively incorporating this
experience into a fuller understanding of the self. This
passage bears striking similarity to the Focusing steps of
Asking, and Receiving.
We noted the compelling contrast of her image of
herself as locked behind bars versus riding freely
on a horse, which seemed to represent a powerful
preverbal construct for her. We also described
the tightness of the knot and her sense of being
entrapped within it. She remarked that a part of
her was screaming to get out of this prison and
commented that this may have been the part of her
that wanted to live. She contrasted this with the
part of her that felt trapped, suffering, and
wanted to die. Thus our first use of streaming in
therapy seemed to yield useful understanding of
the constructions that she continued to attach to
the incest experience .... (Neimeyer, R., 1993,
pp. 93-4)
This therapeutic episode demonstrates that an intervention
similar to Focusing can serve as a powerful tool in gaining
access to preverbal constructs and fostering therapeutic
insight into levels of meaning previously hidden from
cognitive awareness.

33
Construct Meaninqfulness and Superordination
In presenting his Theory of Personal Constructs, Kelly
proposed that construct systems are organized in
hierarchical systems of superordinate and subordinate
constructs.
Organization Corollary: Each person character¬
istically evolves for his convenience in
anticipating events, a construction system
embracing ordinal relationships between
constructs. (Kelly, 1963, p.56)
Kelly described this ordinal relationship as functioning in
a system "composed of complementary superordinate and
subordinate relationships" (Kelly, 1963, p.68). At the
highest levels of this hierarchy are the core constructs
. which govern a person's maintenance processes, . . .
those by which he maintains his identity and existence"
(Kelly, 1955, p.482). Landfield (1977) notes that the more
superordinate a construct is, the more wide ranging are its
implications to, and its meaningfulness in, one's processes
of anticipating future events.
Constructivists have long sought to gain an
understanding of hierarchical ordination and the associated
levels of meaningfulness of construct systems. In his 1993
article, Constructivist Approaches to the Measurement of
Meaning, R. Neimeyer (1993) reviewed several techniques
available to clinicians for gaining a better understanding
of a client's construct contents and organization. However,

34
no single measure has yet been developed which can be viewed
as the definitive measure of construct ordination and/or
meaningfulness.
As I reported in a previous study (Pittman, 1993), one
factor that causes some confusion in this area of study is
the lack of clarity regarding the concepts of meaningfulness
and superordination.
The terms "meaningfulness" and "superordination"
have been used interchangeably to describe one
aspect of personal constructs, when they actually
describe two separate aspects. In Personal
Construct Theory, the term "meaningfulness" is a
functional characteristic which denotes the degree
of implication a construct has on the rest of the
personal construct system; the term
"superordination" denotes a structural
characteristic of one's personal construct system.
Although these terms have been used
interchangeably, they are not synonymous. The
current state of the research in this area has not
yet provided methods for separating these two
factors; it is assumed that they are very highly
correlated and when one studies meaningfulness, by
implication one is studying superordination, and
vice-versa. (Pittman, 1993, p.24)
Liotti considered the functional and organizational aspects
to represent "two sides of the same coin" (Liotti, 1987,
p.92). Thus, for the purpose of the current study, measures
of ordination will be assumed to imply meaningfulness, and
measures of meaningfulness will be assumed to imply
ordination.
One of the few studies to directly compare measures of
ordination/meaningfulness was conducted by Metzler and G.
Neimeyer (1988). They compared six different measures of

35
ordination applied to vocational hierarchies. Metzler and
G. Neimeyer reported that Cochran's Implicit Measure and a
Total Variance measure accounted for the most variance among
the measures of ordination in their study of vocational
hierarchies. The Implicit Measure was produced by the level
of correlation between ratings of provided vocational
constructs and a rank ordering of vocational preferences.
These measures were followed by Explicit (a subject
generated rank ordering) and the Extremity score. Metzler
and G. Neimeyer concluded that the Implicit measure and
Total Variance measures are the best omnibus measures of
ordination. They cautioned however that these various
methods may measure different facets of construct
ordination; thus they advise the utilization of multiple
measures.
As I have noted previously (Pittman, 1993), the two
strongest measures identified by Metzler and G. Neimeyer,
Implicit and Total Variance, are measures which are
dependent upon the constructs being measured falling within
a unidimensional system, such as vocational choices.
However, when constructs are elicited without being
artificially limited to a unidimensional construct
subsystem, there is a strong likelihood that the elicited
constructs will have a low degree of intercorrelation. This
is predicted by Kelly's Fragmentation Corollary: "A person
may successively employ a variety of construction subsystems

36
which are inferentially incompatible with each other"
(Kelly, 1963, p.83). Thus it follows that the Implicit and
Total Variance measures are not appropriate measures of
superordination/meaningfulness when the construct system
being examined is multidimensional, as is the case when
constructs are not limited to a given topic.
It can also be argued that the Explicit rating, which
is a subject generated rank-ordering according to importance
or meaningfulness, does not adequately accommodate the multi
dimensionality of unfettered construct elicitation. The act
of rank ordering imposes a linear relationship with one
construct, by definition being either more or less
meaningful than the other elicited constructs. However,
with the multi dimensionality predicted by the Fragmentation
Corollary, one could have multiple constructs at similar
levels of superordination which would have no direct
relationship upon one-another. Therefore, it would seem
reasonable to modify the Explicit measure in such a way that
the individual can subjectively rate the level of
importance/meaningfulness and accommodate the multi¬
dimensionality of one's construct system. It appears that a
Likert type rating which does not force the ratings into a
linear arrangement would accomplish this task.
The third measure noted by Metzler and G. Neimeyer,
extremity, was first reported by Landfield (1965, 1968). He
found that when subjects are asked to rate persons

37
(elements) as to the degree they are like either end of a
bipolar construct (e.g., happy - sad), they tend to make
their ratings more toward the extreme ends of the scale if
the construct is a more meaningful construct in their
construct system. Mancuso and Eimer (1982) proposed the
following explanation for this pattern:
. . . when a judge uses a construct as a bipolar
rating scale ne would think of the extreme ends of
the constructs as the location of the prototype. .
. . we would expect that the familiar persons
might be prototypical persons. Thus, in this
case, as in other studies of meaningfulness and
range, one could conclude that meaningfulness is
associated with the availability of prototypes.
If the features that define a construct are
clearly organized in the judge's system, he will
be more likely to have available a prototype
against which to contrast the range of events that
might be proximate to that prototype. (p.147)
The extremity of one's ratings on a construct is measured
by the absolute value of the deviations of the ratings
from the midpoint of the scale (Mitterer & Adams-Webber,
1988). By simultaneously using the extremity of ratings
and a Likert type importance-rating of construct
meaningfulness, one should be able to obtain an indication
of subjects' construct system ordination. That is to say,
these measures should give an indication as to the level
of construct meaningfulness represented in the particular
sample of constructs elicited from the participants.
An additional feature that has been noted in studies
of construct meaningfulness is that constructs that are
elicited early in the repertory grid procedure tend to be

38
rated as more meaningful and have higher extremity scores
than constructs elicited late in the elicitation process.
McDonagh and Adams-Webber (1987) found that constructs
elicited early in a repertory grid elicitation tend to be
more meaningful and have greater implications than
constructs elicited toward the end of the procedure.
Arguments for an Experiential Constructivism
In the recently published Constructivism in
Psychotherapy (R. Neimeyer & M. Mahoney, Eds., 1995), there
are multiple calls by various authors to take
constructivist psychology toward a more experiential
direction. However, there has always been an interest in
the role that experience plays in construction processes;
as Feixas notes (1995, p. 315), "For Kelly (1955), the
process of experience was an intrinsic part of being human,
and, therefore, he was not concerned with explaining its
causes and motives - the why. Rather, he proposed to
consider this very process as the most fundamental
mechanism of change and evolution."
Despite Kelly's early acknowledgment of the primacy of
experience, constructivists' embrace of the role moment-to-
moment experience plays in psychological processes is
today, some forty years later, still in its infancy. In
discussing the future of constructivism, Mahoney writes,

39
One of the most difficult challenges facing the
constructivist counselor involves the act of
practicing psychotherapy in a way that respects
what Hayek(1978) has termed 'the primacy of the
abstract' - that is, the extent to which the most
basic and important human processes of organizing
our moment-to-moment experience operate at levels
far beyond what we consider conscious awareness.
(Mahoney, 1995 a, p.389)
It is this challenge which contemporary theorists are
beginning to address.
There is a growing recognition of the validity of
alternate forms of knowledge and/or awareness that are not
part and parcel of language based cognitive awareness. R.
Neimeyer comments, "... human affective experience is
infused with significance and can itself be viewed as a
refined form of knowing" (1995 c, p.2). The difficulty lies
in being able to work with this alternate level of awareness
in a therapeutic venue given the difficulty of translating
this lived experience into the verbal commerce of cognitive
interchange and therapeutic interventions, "... human
beings are denied any direct access to an immediate reality
beyond language, defined broadly as the entire repertory of
symbolic utterances and actions afforded us by our culture .
. ." (R. Neimeyer, 1995 a, p.15). R. Neimeyer (1995 a,
p.18) goes on to proclaim that this struggle to translate
clients' difficulties into symbolic communication is at the
core of the therapeutic endeavor, "Ultimately, the aim of
therapy is to create a personal and interpersonal atmosphere
in which presenting problems can be reformulated and

40
resolved in language and in which clients can recruit social
validation for new, less 'problem-saturated' identities."
Various authors (Mahoney, 1995 b; Guidano, 1995 a & b;
Greenberg & Pascual-Leone, 1995) propose that the
development of strategies to enhance phenomenological
awareness and subsequent symbolization of that awareness may
provide an avenue to more effective psychological
interventions. In his discussion of the future directions
and challenges of constructivist therapies, Mahoney cites as
an area for further development, "Issues of embodiment - the
bodily context that affords all forms of experiencing - will
become increasingly central to therapeutic relevance; that
is, embodied therapies will fare better than those therapies
that are relatively disembodied ..." (Mahoney, 1995 b,
P. 55) .
Guidano argues that constructivists need to make a
concerted effort with their clients to develop skills to
become more aware of their moment-to-moment experiences.
Self-observation provides the raw materials that
are necessary in the attempted reconstruction of
events of therapeutic interest, working at the
interface between immediate experiencing and
symbolic explaining. It permits the exploration
and analysis of three levels of processing:
immediate awareness, mediated explanations, and
the dynamic and ever-developing relationship
between these basic contrasts. (Guidano, 1995 a,
p. 155)
Guidano argues for the primacy of experience as being
the means by which persons perceive being in their
environment. As such, experiential awareness is not subject

to error; rather errors in knowledge occur only in the
translation of these experiences into cognitive symbolism.
41
Human experience, therefore, appears as the
emerging product of a process of mutual regulation
continuously alternating between experiencing and
explaining - that is, a process in which ongoing
patterns of activity (immediate experience) become
subject to linguistic distinctions and are
reordered in terms of symbolic propositions
distributed across conceptual networks. . . .
affective-emotional activity corresponds to and
depends on immediate and irrefutable apprehensions
of the world. Hence, from a purely ontological
point of view, feelings can never be "mistaken."
It is through feelings that we experience our way
of being in the world. ... At the level of
immediate experiencing, it is not possible to
distinguish between perception and illusion. . . .
Only by shifting to the level of "languaging" can
the individual explain the felt experience in a
variety of alternative manners, such as its having
been a trick of light or an illusion, thereby
making the experience consistent with his or her
current appraisal of the world. In other words,
errors can be noticed only a posteriori (after the
experience) and depend on the point of view that
we, as observers, take in reordering our
experiencing. All rational-cognitive reordering
involves expanding the coherence of symbolic rules
to make the flow of immediate experience more
consistent with the continuity of one's current
appraisal of the world.
Rather than representing an already given
reality according to a logic of external
correspondence, knowledge is the continuous
construction and reconstruction of a world by the
ordering individual in an attempt to make ongoing
experiences consistent. (Guidano, 1995 a, p.95)
It is that crucial interchange between immediate
experiencing and explicit verbalization that is fecund for
revision of one's construct system (Guidano, 1995 b).
Guidano proposes that the basic procedure for assisting
clients with construct revisions "consists of training

42
clients, through methods of self-observation, to
differentiate between immediate self-perception and
conscious beliefs and attitudes, and then to reconstruct the
patterns of coherence that they use to maintain consistency
with their feelings" (Guidano, 1995 b, p.102).
This task requires concerted effort given that
experiential awareness can exist "in consciousness
independently of cognition" (Guidano, 1995 b, p.102). And,
when the immediate experience is not translated into
symbolic cognitions, it is realized as physiologic
manifestations (Guidano, 1995 b). These physiologic
manifestations may not be comprehended as an element of
knowledge about one's being in the world, but may instead be
interpreted as "an externally bound perturbation to the
extent that it does not fit with the range of decodability
allowed by his or her current patterns of coherence"
(Guidano, 1995 b, p.104).
This attempt to integrate the dynamic interplay of
phenomenological and cognitive knowing into the
understanding of psychological process dictates the
modification of models of thinking in general, and of
construct generation/elaboration in particular. Greenberg
and Pascual-Leone amend the definition of "meaning" to
incorporate this phenomenological-cognitive interplay.
Meaning, we argue is neither simply imposed on
experience by language nor wholly contained in
experience but, rather, is generated by a
dialectical construction. This construction is

43
continually guided by an implicit 'felt sense'
(Gendlin, 1964), which itself results from an
automatic, dynamic synthesis of the individual's
internal complexity ... A crucial part of the
meaning-making process, however, is the making of
linguistic distinctions to express this implicit
bodily felt sense of meaning. Experience is not
simply 'in' us, fully formed; rather, we need to
put words to our feeling to bring them to full
awareness. (Greenberg & Pascual-Leone, 1995,
pp.170-1)
As noted by Greenberg and Pascual-Leone in the above
statement, Eugene Gendlin's work provides a vehicle to
pursue an understanding of the dialectical interplay between
phenomenology and symbolic cognition.
Rationale for the Present Study
It appears that one of the prime areas for exploration
in constructivist theory is the study and development of
experiential approaches to psychotherapy and assessment.
The work of prior body oriented clinicians, such as
practitioners of Gestalt and Bioenergetics approaches, has
demonstrated that working with clients on a body experience
level can produce significant psychotherapeutic results.
Gendlin's Focusing Oriented approach to psychotherapy
provides a means to teach clients or research participants
to attend to their body and emotional experience, to combine
that experience with cognitive awareness, and to translate
the sum of the experiential awareness and cognitive

44
awareness into language. Translating awareness into
language provides a vehicle for clients and clinicians to
communicate and explore the construct system one uses to
anticipate life events. By providing such a vehicle,
Gendlin's Focusing technique may lead to more fully
elaborated constructs in the assessment process and may hold
broad implications for construct system revision in
psychotherapy.
Specifically, this experiment is designed to test if
using a modified form of the Focusing procedure will enable
experiment participants to access a more experientially
informed level of awareness of their personal constructs.
Will using a Focusing elicitation procedure cause clients to
produce more meaningful constructs on a repertory grid
assessment instrument? If so, then the increased
meaningfulness should be reflected in the meaningfulness
measures, extremity and importance rating, that the
participants indicate on their grid forms. Additionally,
since Focusing tends to lead to progressively higher levels
of awareness, participants may be likely to produce more
meaningful constructs in latter trials, instead of the more
typical pattern of producing less meaningful constructs in
latter trials.

45
Hypotheses
Hypothesis 1: Using the Focusing procedure during construct
elicitation yields constructs that are more meaningful than
constructs elicited using standard elicitation procedures.
This would result in subjects' ratings across multiple
trials on the repertory grids to reflect higher ratings of
meaningfulness and higher extremity scores, on average, for
subjects using an experiential approach to construct
elicitation than for subjects using standard,
nonexperiential, elicitation procedures.
Null Hypothesis: There is no significant difference in
participants' measures of meaningfulness between constructs
elicited using an experiential procedure and constructs
elicited using standard, nonexperiential, elicitations.
Hypothesis 2: Given the progressive nature of Focusing,
constructs elicited by using Focusing will tend to be rated
as more meaningful in later elicitations than in earlier
elicitations. This would result in subjects' importance-
ratings and extremity scores on the repertory grids
indicating, on average, that meaningfulness of elicited
constructs increases across trials for the Focusing group,
while a decline in meaningfulness across trials will be
noted for the control groups.

46
Null Hypothesis: There is no significant difference in
patterns of meaningfulness across trials noted between the
Focusing and Control groups.

CHAPTER III
METHOD
Preliminary Study
A separate preliminary study (conducted by Kaia Calbeck
and Stephen Pittman) was conducted to investigate the
variance in levels of meaningfulness which may be associated
with the triadic sorts, groupings of three persons the
individual personally knows, used in construct elicitation
during the repertory grid procedure. The results of the
preliminary study have not been published.
Seventy University of Florida undergraduates (52
females and 18 males) completed repertory grids which
contained 20 role descriptions of persons known to the
subject (e.g., closest same gender friend). The persons
named by the participants as fitting these role descriptors
were then used as elements in the repertory grid. The 20
elements were grouped into 4 types of triadic sorts: triads
in which one element was "self;" triads in which at least
one element was "family;" triads containing "self and
family;" and "other" (triads containing neither "self" nor
"family"). (Note: The triadic sort "types" component of
47

48
the study was conducted to investigate factors not directly
related to the present study). Twenty triadic sorts were
presented in a systematically varied order.
After the constructs were elicited and ratings
completed, arithmetic means were calculated for two measures
of meaningfulness, extremity and a rank-ordering score
(ordering the constructs from most meaningful to least
meaningful). There were no significant differences in
extremity scores noted for types of triadic sorts, but on
the rank-ordering measure, the "other" (containing neither
self nor family) triadic sorts were ranked significantly
lower (more meaningful) than any of the remaining three
types of sorts. The means of these measures are presented
in Appendix A.
In an effort to reduce the error variance attributed to
the triadic sorts in the Pittman 1993 study, a sample of
twelve triadic sorts which produced similar levels of
meaningfulness measures were selected for use in the
repertory grid for the present study. Triadic sorts which
fell within one standard deviation of the mean on both the
extremity and rank order dependent variables were selected.
This selection process produced nine triadic sorts. Since
twelve trials were desired (to allow for evidence in an
increase or decrease in meaningfulness across trials), three
additional triadic sorts were selected which were within

49
0.25 standard deviations of the mean on either one of the
two measures. A total of twelve triadic sorts were
selected, which were comprised of seventeen different role
elements.
Subjects
For the present study, forty-two undergraduate General
Psychology students were drawn from the University of
Florida Psychology subject pool. Half of the participants
were females, and half were males. Equal numbers of males
and females participated in each experimental condition.
Students who participated in the experiment received credit
toward completion of class requirements for their General
Psychology course. There was no other compensation.
Participants were unaware of the nature of the experiment
when signing up to participate.
Materials
Each participant was provided with the following: one
repertory grid (Appendix B) and one pen. The experimenter
showed the subject a construct meaningfulness rating scale
(Appendix C).
Repertory grid
The grid for the current experiment consists of a
vertical listing of seventeen roles (e.g., "closest same

50
gender friend") to which each subject assigns the name of
someone the subject personally knows who fits that
particular role. The names of the persons fitting the role
titles comprise the elements of the repertory grid.
Accompanying the listing of roles are twelve pages; at the
top of each page is a triadic sort identifying three of the
elements and lines on the left and right side for the
subject to write both poles of a construct. Each page also
depicts seventeen Likert type scales (one for each element).
The scales have twelve points and appear as follows:
65432112345 6.
See Appendix B for the repertory grid instrument.
This instrument was utilized to elicit bi-polar
constructs and to gather measures of meaningfulness for the
elicited constructs.
Measures of Meaninqfulness
Importance Rating Score.
The participants were asked to rate each of the
constructs on a scale of 1-12 according to "how meaningful
or how important" each construct is in their system of
understanding themselves and others. Participants were
shown a construct importance rating scale as a visual aid
(see Appendix C). A rating of "1" denotes a minimally

51
important/meaningful construct, and a "12" denotes a very
important/meaningful construct. This measure differs from
the rank-order "self-rating" measure used in the pilot study
in that a rank-order measure assumes a linear relationship
in the level of meaningfulness between constructs, whereas
this independent rating of meaningfulness does not require
such an assumption. Twelve rating points were available in
order to allow the participants to rate the 12 constructs in
a linear fashion if they so chose. Additionally, a rank
order variable, being an ordinal variable, does not allow
the use of parametric statistics for analysis, whereas the
Likert type rating used in this experiment does permit the
use of parametric statistics.
Extremity Scores.
The extremity score for each construct represents the
sum of the ratings for each of the seventeen elements on the
twelve point Likert scale for each trial.
Procedure
Each experiment session was conducted in a single two
hour block. Each subject took part in the experiment under
one of three conditions: standard elicitation (control
group), guided imagery elicitation (control group), and

52
Focusing elicitation (experimental group). The experimenter
met with each subject individually.
At the beginning of the experiment, the participants
were told, "The following procedure is designed to
investigate ways of tapping into a person's self awareness."
Participants provided basic demographic data on the
instrument. Each student then wrote the name of persons
he/she personally knows who fit the role for each of the
seventeen role titles on the grid form. They were allowed
to use any one individual for one and only one role.
Construct Elicitation Procedures
All participants were exposed to the same intervention
during the first trial. The experimenter directed each
subject to elicit the first construct using the standard
triadic elicitation procedure as described below. The first
trial was utilized to teach all participants how to complete
the repertory grid. This also allowed the experimenter to
utilize the meaningfulness measures produced in the first
trial to examine homogeneity between the three groups.
Standard triadic elicitation
In the triadic elicitation procedure, participants
were told to consider three of the people (triadic sorts
preselected by the experimenter) they listed. In the first

53
trial, participants were to consider the persons they listed
as fitting roles identified as B, F, and G on the grid form
(mother, romantic partner, and former romantic partner).
Participants were then instructed to think of a way two of
those three people are alike that is different from the
other person, and to write a word or phrase that describes
this characteristic. Next, the participants wrote a word or
phrase which they considered to be the opposite of this
characteristic. The set of opposite descriptors that were
produced by the subject are considered to represent a
bipolar construct which that person utilizes.
Following the elicitation of each bipolar construct,
the participants then rated each of the elements (persons
they listed as matching the role titles) on a twelve point
Likert scale according to which pole of the construct
describes that particular person, and to what degree. A
rating toward the extreme ends of the scale indicates the
person is considered by the subject to be very much like
that pole of the construct, while a rating toward the middle
of the scale would indicate that the person is considered to
be less like that pole of the construct. After rating each
element (person), the subject then assigned an importance
rating score (described above) to indicate the subjective

54
level of importance of that construct. Each subject then
completed the remainder of the repertory grid under one of
the three experiment conditions.
The standard elicitation control group continued to
complete the repertory grid under standard triadic
elicitation procedures as described above; the experimenter
was available to answer questions and to provide
instructional assistance when needed, but otherwise remained
present without having further interaction with the subject.
Guided imagery elicitation
The guided imagery control group is designed to provide
participants with a level of interaction with the
experimenter that is similar to that which was experienced
by participants in the experimental (Focusing) group.
Participants in the Guided Imagery group were instructed to
imagine taking a trip to a beach throughout the elicitation
process. This procedure also provided the participants in
this group ample opportunities to attend to the experiential
aspects of their imagined trip (sights, sounds, smells,
touch). However, they were not instructed to attend to
these experiential components. Starting with the second
trial, prior to considering the three-person triadic sort,
the subject was instructed to imagine a specific component

55
of taking a trip to the beach. Following each guided
imagery intervention, the participant completed one trial of
the repertory grid.
Guided imagery instructions
Trial 2: I want you to imagine that you are going to take a
day trip to the beach. Throughout the rest of the
experiment, I will guide you through different
parts of the trip. Feel free to close your eyes
if that helps you to imagine the trip. Also, feel
free to tell me about your imagined trip, or, if
you prefer, you can keep your imagined trip
completely private (the experimenter may briefly
talk with the participant in a polite but non-
instructive manner in order to facilitate rapport
if the participant chooses to share aspects of the
imagined trip). Now, I want you to imagine that
you are talking with your friends, family, and/or
your romantic partner while planning a trip to the
beach. Take a few minutes, or longer, to imagine
this scene and let me know when you are ready to
proceed.
Trial 3: Now imagine that you are getting ready for the
trip, packing towels, food, drinks, selecting swim

56
Trial 4:
Trial 5:
Trial 6:
Trial 7:
wear, packing the car, and starting on the trip.
Imagine this for a while and tell me when you are
ready to go on.
This time, imagine the drive to the beach, the
places you will drive through, what you will do to
pass the time in the car, and finally, arriving at
the beach.
Imagine that you have arrived at the beach. Now,
you are selecting your spot to set up for the day.
Think about what all you are considering when
deciding where to set up. Do you use a chair or a
towel? Do you listen to a radio or to the sound
of the ocean? Make sure everything is set, just
the way you like it.
Imagine playing on the beach. You're not ready to
go into the water yet. Think about the things you
like to do on the sand.
Now imagine yourself going into the water. Some
people like to wade among the waves; some swim
vigorously; some like to surf. Think about the
ways you like to play in or along the water.
Now, you're on the beach, and you decide it's time
to eat. What types of food and drink did you
Trial 8:

57
bring? Think about how eating at the beach is
different from eating at home. Take some time to
enjoy this part of your day.
Trial 9: Now that you have spent time playing on the beach
and in the water, imagine taking some time to
relax. Perhaps you would like to lay there
soaking up some sun, maybe reading, or perhaps a
nice relaxing stroll along the water's edge.
Trial 10: Unfortunately, it is starting to get late, and it
is time to pack up to head back home. What all do
you have to do? How is this different from when
you were packing earlier in the day to go to the
beach? Do you leave the beach in a hurry, or do
you linger?
Trial 11: Now imagine the drive back home. How is this
drive different from the drive to the beach? Do
you pass the time the same way?
Trial 12: Imagine that you have arrived back home after your
trip to the beach. Picture yourself unloading
your things from the car. What will you and the
people who went with you do now? Think about what
this day at the beach has been like for you.

58
Each subject was allowed up to six minutes to imagine
each phase of the guided imagery beach trip. Following each
guided imagery intervention, the subject completed a trial
of the repertory grid using standard repertory grid
procedure (i.e., consider the triadic sort, elicit one pole
of the construct, elicit the opposite construct pole, rate
the elements, and rate the level of construct
meaningfulness).
Focusing elicitation
The Focusing group was used to test the effect of
teaching participants to attend to their experiential
phenomena while completing the repertory grid. The training
in attending to experiential phenomena is based on Eugene
Gendlin's Focusing technique. The experimental group was
taught a modified form of the Focusing technique. The
participants utilized the Focusing technique in conjunction
with the triadic construct elicitation procedure.
Focusing instructions
Trial 2: Many times we experience more about a person or a
situation than we are able to put into words, like
when watching a beautiful sunset or looking into
the face of a loved one. By paying attention to

59
how you respond, not only intellectually, but also
physically and emotionally, you can capture more of
what it is you know about an experience. When one
attends to all levels of awareness, it becomes
easier to more fully understand the experience and
to put what you know about that person or situation
into words.
Usually, we do not take the time or make an
effort to attend beyond our intellectual response.
I am now going to teach you a way to listen to your
total experience and to put that experience into
words. Start by getting into a comfortable
position by sitting up straight with your feet flat
on the floor. Breathe deeply and pay attention to
how your body feels. Many people find that this is
easier to do if they close their eyes. You may
close your eyes or leave them open, whichever feels
right for you. Throughout the rest of the
exercise, you may find it helpful to talk about
what you are experiencing, but please feel free to
not share anything which you prefer to keep
private.

60
Notice how your body is feeling, perhaps
tense, relaxed, tired, or maybe energized (Pause 30
seconds).
Pay attention to what emotions you are
feeling. For example, you may notice sadness,
happiness, anger, boredom, or any number of
emotions (Pause 30 seconds).
Continue paying attention to your body and
your emotions and say to yourself, "everything in
my life is perfect just the way it is." (Pause 20
seconds).
Instead of responding to this statement by
saying what is not perfect, just passively notice
how your entire awareness responds. Notice what
things come up for you as not "perfect." (Pause 20
seconds).
Notice that these things will come up into
your awareness without you even trying to think
about them. Do not try to figure them out or
explain them. Just acknowledge that those things
that are not "perfect" are there.
Imagine that you have placed each of those
"not perfect" things in a container, perhaps a box,

61
and that you can step back from them and look at
each one of them. For example, if one of my "not
perfect" things is "not having enough money," I
would place that in a box and back away from my
money worries for the time being. Observe each of
your "not perfects." You do not need to worry
about these things right now. Give yourself
permission to set them aside for now. Some people
find it helpful to say to each of these things
something like, "I know you are there. I have not
forgotten about you. But, I am going to deal with
something else right now." (Pause 20 seconds).
Feel free to talk about this process, or to be
as private as you would like. Let me know when
you are a comfortable distance from those "not
perfect" things. If you need any assistance now,
or throughout the experiment, just let me know.
(Wait up to three minutes - if participant takes
longer than three minutes, assist the participant
in achieving a comfortable distance.)
This process you just went through, where you
set aside those concerns that are pressing upon
you, we call "clearing a space." You will be asked

62
to "clear a space" several times throughout the
rest of the experiment; remember that anytime you
are clearing a space, you can simply acknowledge
whatever comes up for you and set it aside at a
comfortable distance. Notice how it feels to have
everything set aside. Now you are ready to attend
to whatever experience presents itself to you.
Now, look at the three letters noted at the
top of page two. Think of the three people whose
names you have written next to letters A, H, and K.
Just as you passively allowed the "not perfect"
things to come into your awareness, passively allow
your experience of each of these people to come
into your awareness. Take a couple of minutes to
experience your awareness of each of these persons
as if you were observing each from a comfortable
distance. Pay attention to any emotions or
physical feelings that come up for you while you
are observing. Let me know when you are ready to
proceed. (Allow up to three minutes.)
Now, think of a way in which two of these
people are similar which is different from the
other person. Again, take a passive approach and

63
allow a word or group of words to come up for you
that captures this difference. (Pause one minute).
As these words come up, check to see if they
capture your experience of these people. When you
find the words that capture your experience, you
may notice that it feels right, like the word
"fits" what it is you know in your thoughts,
emotions, and body about these people. If a word
you are attempting to use doesn't feel right, pay
attention to how it doesn't feel right, then let it
go and allow another word to come up for you. When
you find the right words, you may even notice that
your experience of these people shifts a little as
you capture your awareness in words. When you feel
you have determined how two of these people are
alike and different from the other, and found the
right word or words for this difference, write the
word on your form. (Allow up to three minutes).
(End of Focusing intervention for trial two) .
The participants then wrote a word or words that
describes the opposite pole of the construct and completed
the ratings of the elements and the construct meaningfulness

64
rating in the same manner as participants in the control
groups.
Trials 3-4: For these elicitations, Focusing Elicitation
participants were asked to "clear a space" in
preparation for considering the triadic sort for
the trial. Then the participant considered the
three persons called for in the triadic sort using
a Focusing approach as in trial two.
Participants were instructed to observe their
experiential awareness of the three persons, to
allow a word or words that describes a way in which
two of the persons are alike and different from the
other to come up from the experience, to check the
fit of the word or words against the felt sense,
and to modify the word as needed. Specific time
limits were observed for the phases of the Focusing
elicitation: clearing a space = thirty seconds;
observing the three persons = two minutes; coming
up with a word\words that describes the difference
= one minute; checking the fit and/or modifying the
word/words = two minutes. This results in a
maximum elicitation time of six and one half
minutes per trial for trials three and four.

65
After the fourth trial, participants were asked to
proceed through the remaining Focusing elicitation trials at
their own pace without further instruction. They were
reminded to make sure to complete each phase of the Focusing
elicitation for each trial. Additional instruction or
interaction was provided by the experimenter if the
participant appeared to be having difficulty or requested
assistance, or if the participant initiated conversation.
After the bipolar construct was elicited for each trial, the
participant completed the element and meaningfulness ratings
for that bipolar construct.
Additional interventions for Focusing elicitation trials
The experimenter assisted the participants with the
Focusing elicitation if warranted by the participants'
requests or notable difficulty in completing the task. If
the participant chose to talk with the experimenter about
the content or process of the Focusing elicitation, the
experimenter assisted with the Focusing procedure in a
manner consistent with Eugene Gendlin's technique.
Specifically, the experimenter assisted the participant by
way of instruction in attending to bodily and emotional
awareness, maintaining a sense of separation from the object

66
of the Focusing (persons being considered), attending to the
felt sense of the persons, and using experiential awareness
to judge if the words chosen captured the quality of the
participant's experience. In keeping with the highly
individualized nature of the Focusing procedure, the exact
content of these interventions were idiosyncratic to the
individual participant.
At the conclusion of the experiment all participants
were debriefed and given an opportunity to ask questions.

CHAPTER IV
RESULTS
The data was arranged in a 2 X 3 X 12 design with
repeated measures. The independent variables were A) sex,
B) elicitation procedure (Standard, Imagery, or Focusing),
and C) trial. The dependent variables were A) extremity
score and B) importance rating (participants' rating of
construct importance or meaningfulness). The alpha level
for a priori tests of statistical significance was set at
p s 0.05.
Statistical Analyses Design
A "split-plot" design (Kennedy & Bush, 1985, p. 417)
was utilized to accommodate an examination of between group
variance using within-subject measures (also known as
"repeated measures"). Extremity scores and importance rating
scores were analyzed independently using a split-plot
analysis of variance (ANOVA). The ANOVA was utilized to
look for main effects for the Elicitation Procedure, Sex,
and Trial and/or any interaction between these factors. The
67

68
results of these analyses were utilized to test the two
hypotheses: Hypothesis 1 - Using the Focusing procedure
during construct elicitation yields constructs that are more
meaningful than constructs elicited using standard triadic
elicitation procedures; Hypothesis 2 - Constructs elicited
using Focusing will tend to be progressively more meaningful
as more constructs are elicited across repeated measures.
Results Of Statistical Analyses
Tests of Hypothesis 1
Results using extremity score. The ANOVA testing Hypothesis
1 using the extremity score (displayed in Table 1) indicated
a statistically significant three way interaction between
the variables Elicitation, Sex, and Trial. As noted
earlier, the extremity score for each trial is the sum of
all the Likert-type ratings the participant provided in
reference to each element (person) for a construct. Means
and standard deviations were calculated for the extremity
scores and are depicted in Table 2.
Table 2 contains the mean extremity scores broken down
by elicitation, sex, and trial. Since the raw extremity
score (sum of all element ratings per trial) does not easily
illustrate the participants' tendency to rate elements

69
Table 1.
ANOVA for Elicitation,
Sex, and
Trial main
effects
and
interactions using extremity for
Hypothesis
1
Source
DF
MS
F
P
Within + Residual
36
1136.49
.28
.761
Elicitation
2
312.54
.36
.553
Sex
1
408.47
.96
.393
Elicitation X Sex
2
1088.68
.96
.393
Within + Residual
360
83.33
Trial
10
96.29
1.16
.320
Elicitation X Trial
20
61.04
.73
.792
Sex X Trial
10
47.09
.577
.842
Elicitation X Sex X
20
165.93
1.99
.007 *
Trial
*p s .05
toward the extreme ends of the bipolar construct, the
"average" extremity ratings were calculated by dividing the
extremity score for each trial by the number of elements
rated in each trial (17). For illustrative purposes, Table
3 depicts these average extremity ratings, and all graphs
featuring extremity ratings utilize average extremity
scores. A graph depicting these average extremity scores by
elicitation, sex, and trial is shown in Figure 1. However,
as in the statistical results of the first analysis, this
does not present a clear picture of the interaction.

70
Table 2.
Extremity
Scores:
Elicitation X Sex
X Trial
Standard
Imaqe
11
Focusing
Trial
X
SD
X
SD
X
SD
1: all
72.07
15.13
70.29
12.43
67.93
11.51
female
75.29
13.82
69.75
15.49
67.71
13.46
male
68.71
16.73
71.00
8.05
68.14
10.29
2: all
69.85
11.38
67.71
5.12
63.71
11.73
female
71.00
12.68
67.75
6.63
63.43
10.60
male
68.71
10.81
67.67
2.58
64.00
13.63
3: all
72.14
18.43
70.43
9.35
68.93
14.71
female
74.43
10.97
65.88
9.86
69.86
13.47
male
69.86
24.57
76.50
3.72
68.00
16.88
4: all
68.79
16.55
65.50
9.78
65.93
16.05
female
73.14
14.17
66.63
5.80
66.00
15.55
male
64.43
18.67
64.00
14.03
65.86
17.79
5: all
69.14
13.36
65.79
8.18
65.36
12.07
female
72.71
14.94
64.25
9.00
66.71
15.29
male
65.57
11.57
67.83
7.17
64.00
8.79
6: all
63.50
18.31
67.07
8.74
67.21
11.91
female
68.14
16.04
70.38
7.76
63.86
9.12
male
58.86
20.47
62.67
8.59
70.57
14.07
7: all
66.93
16.10
67.21
10.04
67.29
14.10
female
72.71
11.29
70.88
8.81
64.57
15.76
male
61.14
18.86
62.33
10.17
70.00
14.90

71
Table 2—continued
Standard Imagery Focusing
Trial
X
SD
X
SD
X
SD
8: all
66.93
18.34
65.14
9.98
64.57
17.27
female
74.56
16.68
67.00
7.91
60.43
17.66
male
59.00
17.44
62.67
12.60
68.71
17.15
9: all
68.64
16.37
66.00
8.93
67.86
16.93
female
67.29
18.24
67.00
5.42
68.86
21.22
male
70.00
15.61
64.67
12.74
66.86
12.98
10: all
71.00
16.08
71.86
11.19
65.07
11.53
female
76.14
14.69
74.25
8.14
61.86
13.83
male
65.85
16.81
68.67
14.54
68.29
8.53
11:all
72.50
14.41
67.43
12.14
63.93
11.82
female
79.43
12.61
62.75
12.33
61.00
13.22
male
65.57
13.39
73.67
9.44
66.86
10.40
12:all
66.07
15.10
69.00
10.03
64.57
11.91
female
69.57
16.21
64.00
9.01
67.86
11.55
male
62.57
14.25
75.67
7.39
61.29
12.19
Mean of
trials
2 though
12:
all
68.68
15.50
67.59
8.80
65.84
13.84
female
72.68
14.41
67.34
8.24
64.95
14.30
male
64.69
16.59
67.85
9.36
66.77
13.39
Mean of
all 12
trials:
all
68.96
15.79
67.79
9.66
66.03
13.46
female
72.89
14.36
67.57
8.85
65.18
14.23
male
65.02
16.60
68.11
9.25
66.88
13.13

72
Table 3.
Average extremity score per Element: Elicitation X Sex X
Trial
Standard
Imagery
Focusing
Trial
X
SD
X
SD
X
SD
1: all
4.12
â–  89
4.13
.73
3.10
â–  68
female
4.43
.81
4.10
.91
3.98
.79
male
4.04
.98
4.17
.47
4.01
.61
2: all
4.11
â–  67
3.98
â–  30
3.75
.69
female
4.18
.74
3.99
.39
3.73
.62
male
4.04
.63
3.98
.15
3.76
.80
3: all
4.24
1.08
4.14
â–  55
4.05
.86
female
4.38
.65
3.88
.58
4.11
.79
male
4.11
1.45
4.50
.22
4.00
.99
4: all
4.05
â–  97
3.85
.57
3.88
â–  94
female
4.30
.83
3.92
.34
3.88
.91
male
3.79
1.10
3.76
.83
3.87
1.05
5: all
4.07
â–  79
3.87
â–  48
3.84
â–  71
female
4.28
.88
3.78
.53
3.92
.90
male
3.86
.68
3.99
.42
3.76
.52
6: all
3.73
1.07
3.95
â–  51
3.95
â–  70
female
4.01
.94
4.14
.46
3.76
.54
male
3.46
1.20
3.69
.51
4.15
.83
7: all
3.94
â–  95
3.95
â–  59
3.96
â–  88
female
4.28
.66
4.17
.52
3.80
.93
male
3.60
1.11
3.67
.60
4.12
.88

73
Table 3—continued
Standard Imagery Focusing
Trial
X
SD
X
SD
X
SD
8: all
3.94
1.08
3.83
â–  58
3.80
1.02
female
4.40
.98
3.94
.47
3.56
1.04
male
3.47
1.03
3.69
.74
4.04
1.01
9: all
4.04
,96
3.88
,53
3.99
â–  10
female
3.96
1.07
3.94
.32
4.05
1.25
male
4.12
.92
3.80
.75
3.93
.76
10:all
4.18
â–  95
4.23
â–  66
3.83
â–  68
female
4.48
.86
4.37
.48
3.64
.81
male
3.87
.99
4.04
.86
4.02
.50
11:all
4.26
.85
3.97
â–  71
3.76
â–  70
female
4.67
.74
3.69
.73
3.59
.78
male
3.86
.79
4.33
.55
3.93
.61
12:all
3.89
â–  89
4.06
â–  59
3.80
.70
female
4.09
.95
3.76
.53
3.99
.68
male
3.69
.84
4.45
.44
3.61
.72
Mean of
trials
2 through
12:
all
4.04
â–  93
3.98
â–  56
3.87
.72
female
4.28
.84
3.96
.48
3.82
.84
male
3.81
.98
3.99
.56
3.93
.78
Mean of
all 12
trials:
all
4.06
.93
3.99
.57
3.99
.72
female
4.29
.84
3.97
.52
3.97
.84
male
3.82
.98
4.01
.55
4.01
.77

74
trial
Figure 1. Average extremity ratings by Elicitation X Sex
X Trial for all elicitation procedures.
The next step in the analysis was to conduct a series
of ANOVAs in order to isolate the Elicitation X Sex X Trial
interaction. Three split-plot ANOVAs were conducted looking
for simple effects and/or lower order interactions within
each of the three elicitation procedure groups. To control
for an increase in the familywise error rate, a Bonferroni
adjustment to the alpha level resulted in an alpha level of
p < .016 for these analyses. The results of these analyses
are presented in Tables 4-6 along with accompanying graphs
of the elicitation group average extremity means in
Figures 2 - 4.

75
Table 4.
ANOVA for Standard
elicitation
by Sex X
Trial
Source
DF
MS
F
P
Within + Residual
12
1795.01
Sex
1
2456.01
1.37
.265
Within + Residual
120
96.92
Trial
10
102.69
1.06
.399
Sex X Trial
10
96.99
1.00
.447
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
trial
Figure 2. Mean extremity ratings by Sex X Trial for
Standard elicitation.

76
Table 5.
ANOVA for Imagery elicitation by Sex X Trial
Source
DF
MS
F
P
Within + Residual
12
218.13
Sex
1
9.72
0.04
.836
Within + Residual
120
70.74
Trial
10
73.67
1.04
.413
Sex X Trial
10
196.41
2.78
.004*
* 2 s .016
Figure 3. Mean extremity ratings by Sex X Trial for
Imagery elicitation.

77
Table 6.
ANOVA for Focusing elicitation by Sex X Trial
Source
DF
MS
F
P
Within + Residual
12
1396.33
Sex
1
127.27
0.09
.768
Within + Residual
120
82.33
Trial
10
41.73
.51
.882
Sex X Trial
10
84.29
1.02
.428
Figure 4. Mean extremity rating by Sex X Trial for
Focusing elicitation.

78
These analyses indicate a Sex X Trial interaction for
the imagery elicitation procedure (recall that the imagery
procedure was utilized as a control group). This
interaction was significant at the adjusted alpha level of
.016. It appears that this interaction indicates that the
extremity of participants' ratings varied in relation to
there sex and the specific trial, with males' scores
frequently demonstrating high extremity while females'
scores demonstrating low extremity, and vice versa. There
was no evidence of any simple effects or interactions for
the elicitation independent variable, with no other tests
approaching statistical significance. These results do not
support Hypothesis 1 for extremity scores.
Results using importance rating score. The importance
rating score, the scores that participants assigned to
indicate how "important or meaningful" each bipolar
construct is in their consideration of people in their life,
required no manipulation. An ANOVA using the importance
rating dependent variable scores to test Hypothesis 1 did
not indicate a main effect for the sex or trial independent
variables, nor for any interactions. However, a
statistically significant main effect for the elicitation

79
Table 7.
ANOVA for Elicitation,
Sex, and
Trial main effects
and
interactions using importance rating for
Hypothesis
1
Source
DF
MS
F
P
Within + Residual
36
28.62
Elicitation
2
92.08
3.22
.052*
Sex
1
3.37
.12
.734
Elicitation X Sex
2
63.74
2.23
.123
Within + Residual
360
6.26
Trial
10
8.18
1.31
.225
Elicitation X Trial
20
3.62
.58
. 927
Sex X Trial
10
4.79
.76
.663
Elicitation X Sex
20
6.02
.96
.508
X Trial
* g £ .05
procedure independent variable was shown at the p £ .052
level. These results are shown in Table 7.
While this analysis does show a significant elicitation
procedure main effect, it does not indicate the nature of
the statistically significantly different ratings or the
direction of the difference. Therefore, planned pairwise
comparisons were then conducted. The first planned pairwise
comparison was between the two control groups, standard and
imagery elicitation. There was no statistically significant
difference between these groups as indicated in Table 8.

80
Table 8.
ANOVA for pairwise comparisons using importance rating for
Hypothesis 1
Standard vs. Imagery
Source
DF
MS F
P
Within + Residual
40
34.60
Elicitation
1
15.46 .45
.510
(Standard + Imagery) vs.
Focusing
Source
DF
MS _F_
P
Within + Residual
40
29.41
Elicitation
1
191.82 6.52
.015*
* p i .05
The final planned pairwise comparison was between the
combined control groups and the experimental, or Focusing
elicitation, group.
The ANOVA for this comparison indicated a statistically
significant difference at the P s 0.015 level, also depicted
in Table 8. As the experiment was designed with these two
pairwise comparisons planned, no correction factor for the
alpha level was deemed necessary (Keppel, 1982, p. 240) .
Now that it was determined that the two control groups
were not significantly different from each other, and that
the experimental (Focusing) group was significantly
different from the control groups, the task remained to

81
Table 9.
Importance
rating
scores:
Elicitation
X Trial
Standard
Imagery
Focusing
Trial
X
SD
X
SD
X
SD
1
6.79
2.97
7.71
2.64
8.86
2.32
2
7.14
2.68
7.29
2.43
8.07
2.37
3
7.21
3.38
6.57
3.18
8.50
1.91
4
7.29
2.67
6.50
2.38
8.71
2.55
5
7.79
3.26
6.36
2.73
8.14
2.71
6
5.71
3.38
6.07
2.67
6.86
2.89
7
8.00
2.42
6.79
2.72
8.86
2.91
8
7.43
3.74
7.64
2.85
8.57
2.87
9
8.00
3.14
6.43
2.53
8.00
3.38
10
6.79
3.60
6.57
3.25
9.00
1.36
11
6.86
3.18
7.71
3.56
8.36
1.74
12
6.79
3.24
6.14
3.01
8.50
3.11
trials 2 through
12
mean
7.18
3.15
6.73
2.85
8.32
2.53
all trials
mean
7.15
3.13
6.82
2.82
8.37
2.51
determine the direction of the difference. The means and
standard deviations of the importance rating scores are
noted in Table 9, and these results are depicted in graph
form in Figure 5. Since the ANOVAs were conducted using
trials 2 through 12, the mean importance ratings for thes
trials were considered to determine the direction of the
elicitation main effect. The data in Table 9 indicate that

82
Figure 5: Importance rating scale by Elicitation X Trial.
the importance rating score for the Focusing participants (x
= 8.32) was higher than those of both the standard
elicitation (x = 7.18) and imagery elicitation participants
(x = 6.73). A 95 percent confidence interval places the
mean importance rating score for focusing participants
between 7.53 and 9.11. These results indicate that
participants who underwent the focusing procedure
elicitation tended to rate their elicited constructs as more
meaningful overall than did participants in the standard and
imagery elicitation groups.
Given that there were notable differences between
elicitation procedures for the importance ratings on the
first trial, which served as a baseline measure, a post hoc
ANOVA was conducted on the importance ratings on the first

83
trial. There was not a statistically significant difference
noted between the subjects prior to being exposed to the
various elicitation procedures, with F(2, 36) = 2.531, p i
.094. These results support Hypothesis 1 for the importance
rating dependent variable.
Tests of Hypothesis 2
In order to test if there was an increase in
meaningfulness as measured by extremity scores and/or
importance rating scores as participants in one or more
groups proceeded through the elicitation trials, difference
scores were calculated to contrast scores from early trials
with scores from later trials. Extremity and importance
rating scores from the first, second, and third trials were
subtracted from the extremity and importance rating scores
from the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth trials respectively.
For purposes of notation, the extremity difference scores
are noted as "extremdiff" with the trials used in the
calculation noted in parentheses, for example,
extremdiff(10-1) is the extremity difference score for trial
10 minus trial 1. The importance rating difference scores
are noted in a like manner, with "importdiff" and the trials
noted in parentheses. Specifically, the three extremity

84
difference sores for each subject were calculated using the
following formulas:
Extremdiff(10 - 1) = trial 10 extremity - trial 1 extremity;
Extremdiff(11 - 2) = trial 11 extremity - trial 2 extremity;
Extremdiff(12 - 3) = trial 12 extremity - trial 3 extremity.
Table 10.
ANOVAs testing Hypothesis 2 using difference scores for
extremity and importance
rating
scores
Extremity Difference Scores
Source
DF
MS
F
P
Within + Residual
36
216.36
Elicitation
2
61.91
.29
.753
Sex
1
13.60
.06
.803
Elicitation X Sex
2
216.59
1.00
.377
Importance rating Difference Scores
Within + Residual
36
14.47
Elicitation
2
3.13
.22
.806
Sex
1
43.55
3.01
.091
Elicitation X Sex X
Trial
2
13.54
.94
.402
The importance rating difference scores were calculated
using the following formulas:
Importdiff(10 - 1) = trial 10 importance rating - trial 1
importance rating;

85
Importdiff(11 - 2) = trial 11 importance rating - trial 2
importance rating;
Importdiff(12 - 3) = trial 12 importance rating - trial 3
importance rating. Note that a positive difference score
would indicate an increase in meaningfulness as indicated by
either extremity score or importance rating.
ANOVAs were run to examine Hypothesis 2 using extremity
scores and importance rating scores separately. The results
of these analyses are noted in Table 10.
Table 11.
Extremity difference scores: Elicitation X Sex
Standard
Imagery
Focusing
X
SD
X
SD
X
SD
Extremdiff(10-1)
all
-1.00
21.15
1.57
16.25
-2.86
10.12
female
0.86
21.14
4.50
15.97
-5.85
12.29
male
-2.86
22.67
-2.33
17.25
0.14
7.06
Extremdiff
(11-2)
all
2.64
13.65
-0.29
10.95
0.21
11.60
female
8.43
13.40
-5.00
10.53
-2.43
10.39
male
-3.14
12.08
6.00
8.58
2.86
12.93
Extremdiff
(12-3)
all
-6.07
15.69
-1.43
7.57
-4.36
10.49
female
-4.86
13.89
-1.88
9.69
-2.00
13.08
male
-7.29
18.36
-0.83
4.35
-6.71
7.36

86
Neither of the flNOVAS produced statistically
significant results. The sex independent variable for
importance rating scores approached statistical
significance(g = .09). Means and standard deviations for
the difference scores,broken down by variable, group, and
sex, are listed in Table 11 (differences in extremity
scores) and Table 12 (differences in importance rating
scores).
Table 12.
Importance
rating
difference
scores:
Elicitation X Sex
Standard
Imagery
Focusing
X
SD
X
SD
X
SD
Importdiff(10-1)
all
0.00
3.98
-1.14
2.66
0.14
2.41
female
0.1-
4.30
-1.00
2.00
0.86
3.08
male
0.14
3.98
-1.33
3.56
-0.57
1.40
Importdiff
(11-2)
all
-0.29
4.01
0.43
3.88
0.29
1.77
female
2.00
3.42
0.00
4.28
0.14
1.68
male
-2.57
3.31
1.00
3.58
0.43
1.99
Importdiff(11-2)
all
-0.43
5.18
-0.43
5.03
0.00
3.86
female
0.71
6.07
0.00
4.44
1.00
2.89
male
-1.57
4.28
-1.00
6.13
-1.00
4.65

87
These results do not support acceptance of Hypothesis 2 for
either extremity scores or importance rating.
Further Post Hoc Analysis
Clearly, the results of the tests of Hypothesis 1,
whether the Focusing elicitation would cause participants to
rate constructs as more meaningful, were greatly different
Table 13.
Pearson correlations for extremity ratings and importance
rating matched by trial
importance
rating
1
2 3
4
5
6
i
.138
2
.073
e
3
.218
X
t
4
.234
r
5
.234
e
m
6
.118
i
t
y
7
8 9
10
11
12
r
7
.446
a
t
8
.305
i
n
9
.133
g
10
.049
11
.202
12
.074

for extremity score results versus importance rating
results. For heuristic purposes, Pearson correlation
coefficients were calculated for each trial in order to
examine the relationship between extremity scores and
importance rating scores. The correlations are listed in
Table 14. The correlations ranged from .446 (trial 7) to
.049 (trial 10). No further analyses were conducted.

CHAPTER V
DISCUSSION
The results of the statistical analyses for this study
were mixed in their support of the two hypotheses tested.
The tests of the first hypothesis, that participants trained
to use the Focusing procedure would produce constructs which
were more meaningful, showed a statistically significant
main effect in support of this hypothesis when considering
the importance rating measure of meaningfulness. However,
results based on the extremity score measure of
meaningfulness did not support rejection of the null
hypothesis. There was also an unexpected three way
interaction for Elicitation X Sex X Trial variables when
extremity scores were considered.
In regard to the second hypothesis, that participants
using the Focusing elicitation procedure would produce more
meaningful constructs in latter trials, when compared to
early trials, while the control group participants would
tend to produce less meaningful constructs in latter trials,
the hypothesis was not supported by the results using either
89

90
extremity scores or importance rating scores. There was
some indication of a Sex variable effect noted for the
differences between early trial importance ratings and late
trial importance rating (jo = .09). However. This failed to
meet the a priori setting of statistical significance which
was set at the p s .05 level.
The possible implications of these findings, the
limitations of this study, and applications of this area of
study to constructivist approaches to assessment and
psychotherapy, will be discussed in the remainder of this
chapter.
Effects of Elicitation Procedure
on the Overall Level of Meaninqfulness
Contrary to predictions, the extremity scores for the
Focusing participants were not higher (in fact, were
slightly lower) than the extremity scores for participants
in the two control groups. The mean rating on the six point
Likert scale for a single element (person), for a single
construct, ranged from 3.87 (Focusing elicitation) to 4.04
(standard elicitation) when one considers trials two through
twelve (recall that all participants underwent an identical
procedure during the first trial). The only noteworthy
difference in extremity scores for the elicitation procedure
variable is that participants in the imagery control group

91
had a markedly lower standard deviation for extremity.
Specifically, SD = 8.80 was noted for the imagery
participants versus SD = 15.50 for standard participants and
SD = 13.84 for Focusing participants. This pattern was
consistent for males and females. This difference in score
variance may be related to the Elicitation X Sex X Trial
interaction noted for extremity scores, which will be
discussed later.
Unlike the extremity measure, the importance rating
measure did show a statistically significant main effect for
the elicitation procedure variable. This effect was
significant at the p s .015 level. Post hoc analysis of the
first trial ratings indicated that there was not a
statistically significant difference at baseline between the
groups for the importance ratings. Pairwise comparisons
indicated there was no statistically significant difference
between the two control groups (standard elicitation and
imagery elicitation). When these two control groups were
combined, they were shown to be different from the
experimental group (Focusing Elicitation). A comparison of
the mean importance rating scores indicates that the
Focusing group had higher average importance rating scores
than the control groups. These results for the importance
rating dependent variable are consistent with the prediction
made in Hypothesis 1.

92
Given that the importance rating score is based solely
on the participants' evaluation of how meaningful or
important a construct is, it is clear that the participants'
perception of how meaningful a construct is differed
depending on the elicitation procedure they utilized. The
participants who used an experiential approach to construct
elicitation (Focusing elicitation group) perceived their
constructs as being more meaningful in how they view people
in their lives.
An intervention which provides a means to gain access
to those constructs which are more meaningful in a client's
construct system can serve as a valuable tool in assessment
and psychotherapy. It is the ability to identify core
issues and to communicate the meaning of those issues which
is central to a constructivist approach to therapy. As
Robert Neimeyer notes,
. . . constructivists envision the basic goal of
therapy as the promotion of this meaning-making
activity rather than the 'correction' of presumed
dysfunctions or deficits in the client's thinking,
feeling, or behaving . . . Therefore, in
assessment, constructivists concentrate on
identifying and eventually reformulating the
central metaphors that inform the client's self¬
narrative. (R. Neimeyer, 1995 a, p.17)
As an aid to the process of identifying those verbal
representations of core constructs, techniques which enhance
experiential awareness and the verbalization of that

93
awareness hold promise for improving the level of services
which psychotherapists can provide their clients.
Techniques such as the Focusing elicitation used in
this study may enable the therapist and client to identify
and begin work on more meaningful issues earlier in the
psychotherapy process. Consequently, by identifying core
issues earlier, the total amount of time needed to
accomplish therapeutic goals may be shortened. In these
times of managed care and shrinking mental health budgets, a
process which could decrease the allocation of therapy
resources could prove quite valuable. It remains to be seen
if using experiential approaches will yield improvements in
therapy and/or reductions in the therapy time required to
achieve therapeutic goals. However, the results noted above
indicate that these are viable avenues for future study.
Changes In Meaningfulness Across Trials
The prediction for the second hypothesis, that Focusing
would result in participants producing progressively more
meaningful constructs as they proceeded through the trials,
was not supported by the results. The extremity scores
indicated a decrease or little change in meaningfulness when
the last three trials were compared with the first three
trials. Moreover, the ANOVA indicated that there was no

94
significant difference between the extremity score
differences produced by the Focusing participants versus
extremity score differences produced by the standard and
imagery participants. Thus, the null hypothesis cannot be
rejected. That there was a decrease in meaningfulness from
early trials to later trials is consistent with the findings
reported by McDonagh and Adams-Webber (1987).
For the importance rating scores, there also was no
indication of a main effect for the elicitation procedure
variable. The level of meaningfulness, as indicated by
importance rating, appeared to remain relatively unchanged
across trials.
The results for both measures of meaningfulness do not
permit the rejection of the second null hypothesis. There
is no indication that the Focusing elicitation procedure
used progressively increased the level of construct
meaningfulness. One possible explanation for the lack of
support for the second hypothesis is that the actual
Focusing procedure works to take one to deeper levels of a
problem by following a string of connected experiences,
where one felt sense leads to a new level of awareness,
which leads to a new felt sense, and so on. Such a
progression would be similar to the progression which occurs
when one utilizes Hinkle's (1966) laddering technique.
However, in this study, the constructs which the

95
participants Focused on were not generated one from another,
rather they were generated in the different trials by
different triadic sorts of people. Thus, there was not a
progression from construct to construct across trials. This
may explain why the predicted increase in meaningfulness did
not occur.
Elicitation X Sex X Trial Interaction
The ANOVA testing the first hypothesis (differences in
overall meaningfulness) using the extremity score measure
indicated an Elicitation X Sex X Trial interaction. A
series of pairwise comparisons indicated that there was a
statistically significant (¡0 s .004) effect for a Sex X
Trial interaction for participants in the guided imagery
control group. Recall from the earlier discussion that the
standard deviations for the imagery group extremity scores
were nearly half as large as the standard deviations for the
other two groups.
When one inspects the means of the average Likert scale
ratings (depicted in Figure 3, Chapter IV), it appears that
the ratings produced by males and females tended to vary in
contrasting directions on several of the trials. For
example, while male and female ratings were nearly identical
in trial #2, there was a large increase in the extremity
rating for males for trial #3 and a simultaneous decrease

96
for females' extremity ratings. A similar pattern can be
seen throughout the remaining trials. The disparity between
the extremity scores produced by females and males was not
expected and it prompted further inspection.
In looking at the script for the guided imagery
elicitation, the imaginary beach trip, it appears that males
tended to produce higher extremity scores when the depicted
imagery step included specific tasks, such as packing the
car or selecting a location to set up on the beach. The
males tended to produce lower extremity scores when the
depicted task was less specific, such as playing on the
beach or driving to the beach. In contrast, females tended
to produce lower extremity scores when the imagery tasks
were specific, and higher scores when the tasks were less
specific. However, these patterns were not consistent for
trials #10 and #11. For trial #10 the imagery task was to
pack the car to return home, a relatively specific task.
Contrary to the results of trial #3 (pack the car to go to
the beach), males produced lower extremity scores than
females, the opposite of the results in trial #3. Also, for
trial #11, driving back home, females produced higher scores
than males produced; this too is the opposite of the trial
where the task was to imagine driving to the beach (trial
#4) .

97
Recall that the guided imagery tasks were used only to
provide a control for interaction with the experimenter, to
provide participants with an opportunity for experiential
awareness without instruction to attend to experience, and
to control for the overall time required to complete the
experiment. The completion of the repertory grid instrument
was not otherwise altered. Most notably, participants were
to elicit constructs and make their ratings by the same
procedures as the standard elicitation group with the
exception of completing an imagery task between each trial.
The participants were not instructed to relate the "trip to
the beach" imagery to the repertory grid task in any way.
Several of the participants even commented during the
debriefing that they did not understand how the beach
imagery was related to the task of filling out the repertory
grid.
Given that the imagery task was not integral to the
completion of the grid, but rather only interrupted the grid
trials, it appears that there was some sort of carry-over
effect from the imagery task to the grid task. What does it
mean that imagery tasks affected how extremely participants
rated persons when reflecting on their personal constructs?
Why is it that this effect tended to be opposite in males
and females? While these questions do not have a bearing on
the hypotheses being tested for this study, they certainly

98
warrant further study for those interested in gender
differences, guided imagery, and/or construct
meaningfulness.
Comparing the Measures of Meaningfulness:
Extremity and Importance rating
It is not clear why Hypothesis 1 was supported by the
importance rating measure of meaningfulness and not the
extremity score measure of meaningfulness. Additionally,
the interaction noted above was evident for the extremity
measure, but not for the importance rating measure. The low
levels of correlation between the extremity scores and the
importance rating scores, from .049 to .446, indicate that
there is little relationship between what the extremity
scores measure as "meaningfulness" and what the importance
rating scores measure as "meaningfulness."
As indicated in the literature review, there is
currently no known definitive measure of the level of
construct meaningfulness within a person's construct system.
As was noted by Metzler and G. Neimeyer (1988) and R.
Neimeyer (1993), the various measures which have been
utilized to measure construct meaningfulness appear to
capture differing aspects of the meaningfulness (or
construct ordination) dimension. Accordingly, these authors
have proposed using multiple measures to gauge construct

99
meaningfulness. This appears to be the best available
method for measuring meaningfulness. While this "shotgun"
approach to measurement seems rather crude, it appears to be
the best that current constructivist researchers have to
offer. It appears that a fuller understanding of construct
meaningfulness and ordination, along with better measures of
these dimensions, will be necessary for research into
meaningfulness and ordination to progress.
In this vein, this study used "importance rating"
scores, a Likert type rating of construct meaningfulness
which has not previously been reported in the literature.
This measure was used in an attempt to avoid the
difficulties noted for use of the more commonly used rank-
order measure. As was noted in the literature review, the
rank-order score does not allow for depiction of similar
meaningfulness levels among constructs which are not related
linearly and, being an ordinal variable, rank-order is not
an appropriate variable for use when parametric statistics
will be utilized. Additionally, the importance rating
measure allows for comparisons of the omnibus level of
perceived meaningfulness. The rank-order method does not
allow for such an omnibus measure because all participants
are limited to using every available score and using each
score only one time, thus all participants have the same
mean rating independent of any experimental manipulation.

100
While the importance rating clearly does not capture all
that is meant by construct meaningfulness, it does appear to
be an improvement over the rank-order method of measuring
participants' perception of construct meaningfulness.
However, it is not clear if the perception reflected in the
importance rating score is related to any other factors of
construct meaningfulness or ordination.
Concluding Remarks
One must recall that this study was not a test of the
Focusing procedure, but rather an attempt to determine if
incorporating experiential techniques into the repertory
grid assessment enhances the grid procedure. The methods
used to train participants to utilize experiential awareness
were borrowed from Focusing, but they do not do justice to
Focusing. As Eugene Gendlin notes (1996), training in
Focusing typically requires three to eight hours of face to
face contact. And, even though Focusing does allow one to
keep content private, Focusing is a very intimate experience
which often leads to deeply emotional awareness. Such a
level of intimacy and emotional awareness was not fostered
with the participants in this study as they were students
completing a research participation requirement and not
therapy clients.

101
Furthermore, an enhancement to an assessment procedure
which requires three to eight hours of preparation would not
be practical. The procedure utilized in the study required
little additional time. Most participants who completed the
repertory grid under standard elicitation procedures
completed the task in approximately forty-five minutes,
while those participants who used the Focusing elicitation
usually took between an hour and an hour and fifteen minutes
to complete the repertory grid.
This study provides encouragement for the continued
investigation into the use of experiential methods in
constructivistic approaches to assessment. Clearly there
remain a multitude of unanswered questions regarding
Focusing, repertory grid techniques, construct
meaningfulness, and construct hierarchy. That an
experientially oriented assessment technique helps to elicit
more meaningful, or at least perceived as more meaningful,
constructs could help therapists to target their
interventions and help clients to have more clarity about
what they consider truly important.
Additionally, such an experiential approach may
function to keep clients actively engaged in the therapeutic
process. As Gendlin notes, "many clients disconnect from
their bodies during their therapy hours. The body is left
sitting there, immobile, whether slumped or upright. It

102
just waits till the end of the hour. Much more therapeutic
change can happen if the body participates" (1996, p.279).
By actively engaging a bodily felt sense level of awareness
with a cognitive verbal level of awareness, experiential
approaches provide an avenue for the integration of a
person's total experience. As Guidano notes, emotions and
feelings exist in consciousness independent of cognition.
Those feelings and emotions are experienced as an
"externally bound perturbation" (Guidano, 1995 a, p.104)
until such time as the individual is able to translate that
affect into cognitive awareness. This translation provides
a fuller understanding of all that it is that a person knows
on all levels of awareness. It is this more holistic
awareness which those calling for more experiential
approaches seek. Perhaps this study can serve as a step in
a progression toward a more experientially aware psychology.

APPENDIX A
PRELIMINARY STUDY RESULTS
The preliminary study conducted by Kaia Calbeck,
Stephen Pittman, and Franz Epting, Ph.D. (1995-6) produced
the following means and standard deviations for extremity
scores and a self-rating of construct meaningfulness (which
was a rank ordering) for 20 triadic sorts:
Triad
x extremity
SD
x rank order
SD
1
85.51
16.63
10.44
6.20
2
88.53
17.21
8.90
5.81
3
85.80
17.09
11.10
5.50
4
88.89
19.24
11.26
5.76
5
85.64
17.97
10.73
5.80
6
86.31
15.04
11.37
5.86
7
87.33
18.47
9.79
5.62
8
87.59
18.53
10.17
5.40
9
90.70
18.60
9.81
5.78
10
85.00
16.65
11.74
5.84
11
87.24
16.65
11.64
5.13
12
87.13
20.47
11.70
6.00
13
86.83
17.71
11.11
5.53
14
84.01
17.81
10.21
5.64
15
83.64
15.20
11.21
5.02
16
86.20
17.48
10.90
5.32
17
88.99
17.91
8.30
5.60
18
87.06
16.44
10.17
5.40
19
88.16
17.73
9.19
5.62
20
86.10
18.80
8.73
5.89
mean for
all triads
86.83
17.58
10.42
5.68
103

The triadic sorts were composed of the following
combinations of role titles.
104
Triadic
sort #
1: self, opposite gender friend, and same gender friend.
2: self, romantic partner, and opposite gender friend.
3: self, person you feel sorry for, and happiest person
you know.
4: self, person you would like to know better, and person
around whom you feel uncomfortable.
5: self, romantic partner, and prior romantic partner.
6: mother, father, and brother.
7: mother, romantic partner, and prior romantic partner.
8: father, romantic partner, and prior romantic partner.
9: mother, father, and person around whom you feel
uncomfortable.
10:
11:
12:
13:
14:
15:
16:
17:
18:
19:
20:
father, person who meets the highest ethical
standards, and most successful person you know.
self, brother, and sister,
self, mother, and father.
self, father, and brother,
self, mother, and sister,
self, father, and sister.
most successful person you know, person who meets the
highest ethical standards, and employer/supervisor.
opposite gender person you dislike, same gender person
you dislike, and closest same gender friend.
most intelligent person you know, favorite teacher,
and unhappiest person you know.
closest same gender friend, closest opposite gender
friend, and person you would not trust.
romantic partner, prior romantic partner, and person
around whom you feel uncomfortable.

APPENDIX B
REPERTORY GRID INSTRUMENT
Note: For repertory grid administration, the right hand
edge of pages 1—12 are trimmed off so as to expose the NAMES
column on the final page.
105

6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
Consider Persons
rating#
B, F, G
THREE ARE ALIKE
FROM THE OTHER
THE OPPOSITE OF THIS
CHARACTERISTIC
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
5 6
5 6
5 6
5 6
5 6
5 6
5 6
5 6
5 6
5 6
5 6
5 6
5 6
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
(A)
(B}
{C}
{D}
{E}

{G>
ÍH}
{1}
{J}
{K}
{ Ij }
{M}
{N}
{0}
{P}
{Q}
106

6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
Consider Persons
rating#
A, H, K
THREE ARE ALIKE
FROM THE OTHER
THE OPPOSITE OF THIS
CHARACTERISTIC
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
{A}
{B}
{C}
{D}
{ F}
{G}
{H>
{1}
{J}
{K}
{L}
{M}
(N}
{0}
{P)
107

6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
Consider Persons
rating#
A, L, Q
THREE ARE ALIKE
FROM THE OTHER
THE OPPOSITE OF THIS
CHARACTERISTIC
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
{A}
{C>
{D>
{E}
{F}
{G}
{1}
{J>
{K}
{L}
{0}
{P}
(Q)
108

6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
Consider Persons
rating#
A, B, E
THREE ARE ALIKE
FROM THE OTHER
THE OPPOSITE OF THIS
CHARACTERISTIC
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
{A}
{B}
{C>
(E)
{F}
{G}
{H}
{1}
{ J)
{K}
{L}
{M}
{N}
{0}
{P}
fQ}
109

6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
Consider Persons rating#
THREE
FROM
ARE
THE
ALIKE
OTHER
A,B,
,C
THE
OPPOSITE OF THIS
CHARACTERISTIC
5
4
3
2
1
1
2
3
4
5
6
{A}
5
4
3
2
1
1
2
3
4
5
6
{B}
5
4
3
2
1
1
2
3
4
5
6
{C}
5
4
3
2
1
1
2
3
4
5
6
{D}
5
4
3
2
1
1
2
3
4
5
6
{E}
5
4
3
2
1
1
2
3
4
5
6
{F}
5
4
3
2
1
1
2
3
4
5
6
5
4
3
2
1
1
2
3
4
5
6
{H}
5
4
3
2
1
1
2
3
4
5
6
{1}
5
4
3
2
1
1
2
3
4
5
6
{J}
5
4
3
2
1
1
2
3
4
5
6
5
4
3
2
1
1
2
3
4
5
6
5
4
3
2
1
1
2
3
4
5
6
5
4
3
2
1
1
2
3
4
5
6
{N}
5
4
3
2
1
1
2
3
4
5
6
{0}
5
4
3
2
1
1
2
3
4
5
6
5
4
3
2
1
1
2
3
4
5
6
{Q}
o

6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
Consider Persons
rating#
THREE ARE ALIKE
FROM THE OTHER
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
P,M,0
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
: OPPOSITE OF THIS
CHARACTERISTIC
5 6 {A}
5 6 {B}
5 6 {C}
5 6 {D>
5 6 {E>
5 6 {F}
5 6 {G}
5 6 {H}
5 6 {1}
5 6 {J>
5 6 {K}
5 6 {L}
5 6 {M}
5 6 {N}
5 6 {0}
5 6 {P}
5 6 {Q>
111

6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
Consider Persons
rating#
THREE ARE ALIKE
FROM THE OTHER
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
C,F,G
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
; OPPOSITE OF THIS
CHARACTERISTIC
5 6 {A}
5 6 {B>
5 6 {C}
5 6 {D}
5 6 {E >
5 6 {F}
5 6 {G}
5 6 {H}
5 6 {1}
5 6 {J}
5 6 {K}
5 6 {L}
5 6 {M}
5 6 {N}
5 6 {0}
5 6 {P}
5 6 {Q}
112

6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
Consider Persons
rating#
A, F, G
THREE ARE ALIKE
FROM THE OTHER
THE OPPOSITE OF THIS
CHARACTERISTIC
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
(A)
{C>
{D}
{E}
{F}
{G >
{H}
{1}
{J}
{K>
(L)
(M>
{N}
{0}
{P}
{Q}
113

6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
Consider Persons
rating#
B,C,D
THREE ARE ALIKE
FROM THE OTHER
THE OPPOSITE OF THIS
CHARACTERISTIC
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
112
112
112
112
112
112
112
112
112
112
112
112
112
3 4 5 6
3 4 5 6
3 4 5 6
3 4 5 6
3 4 5 6
3 4 5 6
3 4 5 6
3 4 5 6
3 4 5 6
3 4 5 6
3 4 5 6
3 4 5 6
3 4 5 6
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
5 6
5 6
5 6
5 6
{A}
{B}
{C>
{E>
{F}
{G}
{H}
{1}
{J)
{K>
{M}
{N}
{0}
114

6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
Consider Persons
rating#
A, D, E
THREE ARE ALIKE
FROM THE OTHER
THE OPPOSITE OF THIS
CHARACTERISTIC
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
112 3
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
4 5 6
{A}
{B}
fC}
{E}
{F}
{G>
{H}
{1}
{K>
{L}
{M}
{N}
{0}
{P}
{Q}
115

6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
Consider Persons
rating#
THREE ARE ALIKE
FROM THE OTHER
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
5 4 3 2
J, I,N
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
112 3 4
: OPPOSITE OF THIS
CHARACTERISTIC
5 6 {A}
5 6 {B}
5 6 {C}
5 6 {D>
5 6 {E>
5 6 {F}
5 6 {G}
5 6 {H}
5 6 {1}
5 6 {J}
5 6 {K}
5 6 {L}
5 6 {M}
5 6 {N}
5 6 {0}
5 6 (P>
5 6 {Q}
116

page 12
A,C,D
WAY TWO OF THE THREE ARE ALIKE
AND DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHER
{A}
{B}
{D}
{E}
{ F>
{G>
{H}
(I)
{J>

{L}
{M}
{N}
{0}
{P}
{Q}
6 5
6 5
6 5
6 5
6 5
6 5
6 5
6 5
6 5
6 5
6 5
6 5
6 5
6 5
6 5
6 5
6 5
4 3
4 3
4 3
4 3
4 3
4 3
4 3
4 3
4 3
4 3
4 3
4 3
4 3
4 3
4 3
4 3
4 3
2 1
2 1
2 1
2 1
2 1
2 1
2 1
2 1
2 1
2 1
2 1
2 1
2 1
2 1
2 1
2 1
2 1
1 2
1 2
1 2
1 2
1 2
1 2
1 2
1 2
1 2
1 2
1 2
1 2
1 2
1 2
1 2
1 2
1 2
THE OPPOSITE OF THIS
CHARACTERISTIC
3 4 5
3 4 5
3 4 5
3 4 5
3 4 5
3 4 5
3 4 5
3 4 5
3 4 5
3 4 5
3 4 5
3 4 5
3 4 5
3 4 5
3 4 5
3 4 5
3 4 5
(A)
{B>
ÍC>
í D}
IE}
{F}
{G}
{H}
{1}
{J>
{K}
{L}
{M}
{N}
{0}
{P}
{Q}
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
6
117

Your Gender:
FEMALE MALE
Your Age:
In the NAMES column
write the name of a
person that fits the
accompanying ROLE
TITLE. You may use
first names, nicknames,
or whatever will help
you identify the
person. ONLY USE THE
NAMES OF PEOPLE YOU
KNOW PERSONALLY. Do
not use any one person
more than once. If you
can not think of anyone
that specifically fits
a given role, fill in
the name of a person
you think would be the
closest fit for you.
Subject #
ROLE TITLES NAMES
{A} Self (A) Self
{B} Your mother(or stepmother) {B}
{C} Your father (or stepfather) {C}
{D> Brother nearest you in age {D}
{E} Sister nearest you in age {E}
{F} Romantic partner (or most recent) {F}
{G> Prior romantic partner {G}
{H} Closest opposite gender friend {H}
{1} Favorite teacher/professor {1}
(J) Most intelligent person you know {J>
{K> Closest same gender friend {K}
{L} Person you feel sorry (L)
{M} Person with the highest ethical standards {M}
{N} Unhappiest person you know {N}
{0} employer or supervisor {0}
{p} Most successful person you know {P>
{QJ Happiest person you personally know {Q}
oo

APPENDIX C
CONSTRUCT MEANINGFULNESS RATING SCALE
Indicate how meaningful or important this pair of descriptors is
when you think about people in your life using the scale below.
Not very meaningful Very Meaningful
1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12
Not very important Very Important
119

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Personal Construct Psychology, 2, 65-76.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Stephen D. Pittman was born April 22, 1961, in Killeen,
Texas. He graduated from high school in Centerville, Ohio,
in 1979. Steve returned to school in 1983 and completed his
Bachelor of Science degree in psychology at The Ohio State
University in June, 1986. Steve then began his graduate
training in the Counseling Psychology doctoral program at
the University of Florida. He obtained his Master of
Science degree in May, 1993, and attended the Albany
Psychology Internship Consortium internship program during
the 1994-95 academic year. Steve received his Ph.D. from
the Counseling Psychology program at the University of
Florida in May, 1997.
124

I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degre^of Doqtqr_pf Philosophy.
Franz
Profe
pf Psychology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
%
M. Ja^Ctey Farrar
Associate Professor of Psychology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Ík 'O Vb !
R
1
o
L
Dorothy I
Professoi
iNevill (
pf Psychology
X certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fuiT^i adequát^i, jin scope .and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree ZfAlfoctMfjof Philosophy.
Peter A.D. 'Sfferrard
Associate Professor of Counselor Education
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
%vVr-f \U-i C-(a
David I. SucKman
Professor of Psychology
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty
of the Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts
and Sciences and to the Graduate School and was accepted as
partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
May, 1997
Dean, Graduate School

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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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3 1262 08556 6759