Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Part I: The evolution of hypot...
 The background
 The self as instrument concept...
 Part II: Research reports
 The perceptual organization of...
 The perceptual organization of...
 Perceptual characteristics of Episcopal...
 Perceptual organization of person-oriented...
 Perceptual characteristics of effective...
 Part III: An interpretation
 An overview and next steps
 Back Matter
 Back Cover


Florida studies in the helping professions
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Title: Florida studies in the helping professions
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Combs, Arthur W ( Arthur Wright ), 1912-
Publisher: University of Florida Press
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Copyright Date: 1969
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Table of Contents
        Page iv
        Page v
    Part I: The evolution of hypothesis
        Page 1
        Page 2
    The background
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
    The self as instrument concept of professional work
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Part II: Research reports
        Page 19
        Page 20
    The perceptual organization of effective counselors
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    The perceptual organization of effective teachers
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
    Perceptual characteristics of Episcopal pastors
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
    Perceptual organization of person-oriented and task-oriented student nurses
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
    Perceptual characteristics of effective college teachers
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
    Part III: An interpretation
        Page 67
        Page 68
    An overview and next steps
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
    Back Matter
        Page 79
        Page 80
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text

I. ,


by Arthur W. Combs
with Daniel W. Soper, C. Thomas Gooding,
John A. Benton, Jr., John Frederick Dickman,
and Richard H. Usher


3c'?. 2


Social Sciences Monographs

MARVIN E. SHAW, Chairman
Professor of Psychology

Professor of Economics

Professor of Education

Professor of Political Science

Professor of Sociology

Professor of History

C, 2_


CATALOG CARD No. 71-625778



ARTHUR W. COMBS. University of Florida, Gainesville

DANIEL W. SOPER. Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville

C. THOMAS GOODING. State University of New York, Oswego

JOHN A. BENTON, JR. Episcopal Counseling Center, Tampa, Florida

JOHN FREDERICK DICKMAN. St. Andrews Church, Tampa, Florida

RICHARD H. USHER. Colorado State College, Greeley


Over the past ten years at the University of Florida we have
been engaged in a series of explorations of the helping rela-
tionship. These studies have attempted to discover the principles
governing the nature and effective practice of helping relationships.
From a theoretical orientation the search has led through a series
of seminars to a conception of the helping relationship based upon
humanistic, perceptual approaches to psychological thought. Ex-
perimentally, we have sought to test a program of hypotheses in a
series of research studies with teachers, students, nurses, counselors,
college professors, and Episcopal priests. Some of these studies
have been published in professional journals, and some exist at this
point only as unpublished doctoral dissertations. Many requests
have been received for reports of these studies which until now
have existed in so many diverse places that access for interested
readers was most difficult. Accordingly, in this monograph we have
tried to bring them all together with a delineation of some of the

thinking which preceded the studies, accompanied the researches
in progress, or which came about as a consequence of our findings.
In addition to convenience for interested students, this monograph
may serve another function. It represents an illustration of how
knowledge grows and develops on a college campus as a conse-
quence of the interaction of teachers and students in the dialogue
provided by continuous discussion and the trial and error brought
about by participation in careful research.
Many people have been involved in these explorations: faculty
members, seminar discussants, graduate students, school adminis-
trators and, of course, the subjects of our researches-teachers, stu-
dents, counselors, nurses, and Episcopal priests. Although Profes-
sor Arthur W. Combs, senior author of this monograph, served as
the catalytic agent for these studies and the permanent thread
which bound them together over the ten-year period, the studies
reported here are truly the result of a major cooperative effort.
The theory and concepts we arrived at in these explorations are a
product of continuous dialogue. They are the result of the pulling
and hauling and searching contributions of a very large number of
people whose individual efforts can no longer be discriminated
from the whole fabric. To emphasize that fact we have abandoned
the usual "objective" format of research reporting in the discussion
sections of this monograph in favor of the collective "we."
The material included herein is presented in three parts. Part
One deals with the background of our studies and the evolution of
the thought that established our hypotheses. Part Two presents in
capsule form each of the researches completed to date. Part Three
includes a further look at the helping relationship from the van-
tage point of our completed studies.

February 12, 1969



1. The Background 3
2. The Self as Instrument Concept of
Professional Work 10

3. The Perceptual Organization of
Effective Counselors
by Arthur W. Combs and
Daniel W. Soper 21
4. The Perceptual Organization of
Effective Teachers
by C. Thomas Gooding 28

5. Perceptual Characteristics
of Episcopal Pastors
by John A. Benton, Jr. 37

6. Perceptual Organization
of Person-Oriented and
Task-Oriented Student Nurses
by John Frederick Dickman 48
7. Perceptual Characteristics
of Effective College Teachers
by Richard H. Usher 57

8. An Overview and Next Steps 69

Part One
The Evolution of Hypotheses


One of the interesting developments of the past fifty years has
been the emergence of a whole series of helping professions
in addition to the very old ones such as medicine, teaching, and the
clergy. This new group of professions is especially concerned with
assisting people in one way or another to cope with the increasing
complexities of life and to achieve a greater measure of personal
fulfillment. Included among these are social workers, counselors,
human relations experts, social action workers, school psycholo-
gists, school social workers, visiting teachers, public health nurses,
psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, rehabilitation counselors, play
therapists and, most recently, a whole constellation of professions
concerned with helping people in groups such as basic encounter
groups, sensitivity training groups, and T-groups. Each of these
professions has emerged in response to a fairly specific and practi-
cal human need. Once come into being they continued to develop
in their early days quite pragmatically in response to the problems
of their special area and developed a methodology and philosophy
out of the experiences of their practitioners. In this fashion the
helping professions have become established, each with its own
philosophy, techniques, possibilities, limitations, and training pro-
cedures becoming more and more clearly differentiated with time
and more or less lustily defended by its adherents.
More recently a number of voices have been raised suggesting
that these professions are not nearly so clearly differentiated from
each other as they appear at first glance. Like other observers
elsewhere, the editor of this monograph gradually came to this
realization as the result of his study and experience in teaching,
in counseling, and in the practice of psychotherapy in collaboration
with psychiatrists, nurses, and social workers. It seemed reasonable
that since all these professions are forms of applied psychology,
though they may vary in practical expression, the principles gov-
erning their operation must find common roots in the fundamental
discipline of the science of behavior. The fundamental question of
the helping professions is, after all, human behavior and misbe-
havior, and that is the basic problem of psychology.
Contributing further to the belief in the common character of the

helping professions was the editor's involvement in the develop-
ment of perceptual or phenomenological psychology. This is a
frame of reference which attempts to understand behavior from the
point of view of the behaver himself rather than the external
observer.1 Perceptual psychology takes a humanistic view of man
and so lends itself especially well to the understanding of the prob-
lems of behavior as the practitioner confronts them. It has even
sometimes been described as a "practitioner's psychology." Ex-
amined from this standpoint the principles and practices of the
various helping professions look remarkably similar. Accordingly,
we embarked upon a series of studies of the helping professions
designed to tease out their fundamental structure and the determi-
nants effective practice.-
The original impetus for our experiments came about as a conse-
quence of two research studies and a learned paper which so
corroborated the general feeling kindled by our studies in percep-
tual psychology as to set our series of studies in motion.
The first of the researches was a paper by Dr. Fred Fiedler.3 Dr.
Fiedler was interested in finding out what beginning and expert
psychotherapists believed was the nature of an ideal therapeutic
relationship. To examine this question he had beginners and ex-
perts from a number of different schools of thought about psycho-
therapy complete a Q-sort about the nature of the therapeutic rela-
tionship. Two of his findings were especially significant in stimulat-
ing our studies.
1. Expert psychotherapists, no matter what school of thought
1. Combs, A. W., & Snygg, D. Individual behavior: A perceptual ap-
proach to behavior. Boston: Harper and Brothers, 1959.
2. Although this monograph deals primarily with a series of research
studies on the helping professions, readers interested in exploring the theo-
retical bases of these professions more deeply may find some of the following
papers of special interest from a theoretical orientation: Combs, A. W. The
professional education of teachers: A perceptual view of teacher preparation.
Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1965. Combs, A. W. The personal approach to
good teaching. Educational Leadership, 1964, 21, 369-378. Combs, A. W.
Phenomenological concepts in non-directive therapy. Journal of Consulting
Psychology, 1948, 12, 197-208. Combs, A. W. A phenomenological approach
to adjustment theory. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1949,
44, 29-35. Combs, A. W., & Soper, D. W. The self, its derivative terms and
research. Journal of Individual Psychology, 1957, 13, 134-145. Combs, A. W.,
Courson, C. C., & Soper, D. W. The measurement of self concept and self
report. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 1963, 23(3), 439-500.
3. Fiedler, F. E. The concept of an ideal therapeutic relationship. Journal
of Consulting Psychology, 1950, 14, 239-245.


they began from, were more alike in their conception of the nature
of a good therapeutic relationship than were beginners and experts
from the same school of thought. This would seem to suggest that
there is a "good" therapeutic relationship toward which good prac-
titioners drift no matter what their beginning frame of reference.
It would seem to imply the existence of a fundamental approach to
helping people. As Fiedler put it, "The therapeutic relationship
may be but a variation of good interpersonal relationships in gen-
2. A second finding of Fiedler's was that the man in the street
could describe a good helping relationship about as well as the
experts. This rather astounding finding would seem to suggest that,
not only is there a "good" helping relationship, but almost any of us
can recognize it when it exists.
Fiedler's study thus seemed to corroborate the general hunch we
had developed that helping professions were basically highly simi-
lar. The impression was further confirmed by a study by Heine.4
Heine carried out an experiment much like Fiedler's and concluded
from his results that there probably is a psychotherapy and that
all existing psychotherapies are more or less approximations of that
fundamental relationship. This again seemed to suggest a common
character to the helping professions and further encouraged the de-
velopment of the studies herein.
The second major stimulus to the researches reported here was
provided by a most provocative paper by Carl Rogers on "The
Characterisics of a Helping Relationship."5 In this paper Dr.
Rogers reviews a number of studies bearing upon the nature of
helping relationships and comes to the following conclusion: "It
seems clear that relationships which are helpful have different
characteristics from relationships which are unhelpful. These differ-
ential characteristics have to do primarily with the attitudes of the
helping person on the one hand, and with the perception of the
relationship by the 'helpee' on the other." The corroboration of our
hunches afforded by Fiedler, Heine, and Rogers launched us on a
series of studies designed to explore these matters further.

4. Heine, R. W. A comparison of patients' reports on psychotherapeutic
experience with psychoanalytic, non-directive, and Adlerian therapists. Un-
published doctoral dissertation, University of Chicago, 1950.
5. Rogers, C. R. The characteristics of a helping relationship. Personnel
and Guidance Journal, 1958, 37(1), 6-16.


The first study in our series6 sought to discover whether good
teachers were similar to good psychotherapists. To examine this
question the Q-sort used by Fiedler for his examination of psycho-
therapists was adapted for use with teachers by simply changing
the word therapist to teacher and the word client to student in each
item of the Q-sort. The following illustrate a few of these items as
they appeared in Fiedler's Q-sort and in ours.

The Eight Most Ideal and Least Ideal Items as Sorted by Our
Teachers and by Fiedler's Therapists

8 Most Ideal Items

1. The teacher directs and
guides the student.

2. The teacher sees the stu-
dent as co-worker on a
common problem.

3. The teacher greatly en-
courages and reassures the
4. The teacher really tries to
understand student's feel-
5. The teacher usually main-
tains rapport with the stu-
6. The teacher is well able to
understand student's feel-
7. The teacher is sympathetic
with the student.

8. The teacher gives and
takes in the situations.

The therapist is able to partici-
pate completely in the pa-
tient's communication.
The therapist's comments are
always right in line with
what the patient is trying to
The therapist is well able to un-
derstand the patient's feel-
The therapist really tries to un-
derstand the patient's feel-
The therapist always follows
the patient's line of thought.

The therapist's tone of voice
conveys the complete ability
to share the patient's feelings.
The therapist sees the patient
as a co-worker on a common
The therapist treats the patient
as an equal.

6. Soper, D. W., & Combs, A. W. The helping relationship as seen by
teachers and therapists. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 1962, 26, 288.


8 Least Ideal Items

75. The teacher is hostile
toward the student.

74. The teacher is rejecting to
the student.

73. The teacher's own needs
completely interfere with
understanding of student.
72. The teacher is very un-
pleasant to the student.
71. The teacher feels disgusted
by the student.
70. The teacher is seductive
toward the student.
69. The teacher is punitive.

68. The teacher cannot main-
tain rapport with student.

The therapist shows no compre-
hension of the feelings the
patient is trying to communi-
The therapist acts in a very su-
perior manner toward the pa-
The therapist is very unpleas-
ant to the patient.

The therapist is punitive.

The therapist is hostile toward
the patient.
The therapist feels disgusted by
the patient.
The therapist's own needs com-
pletely interfere with his un-
derstanding of the patient.
The therapist cannot maintain
rapport with the patient.

For a sample of good teachers the faculty of the P. K. Yonge
Laboratory School at the University of Florida was used. While this
faculty would surely not claim to be composed 100 per cent of
superb teachers, the staff is unusually carefully selected and would
certainly represent a better than average sample of Florida
teachers. Each member of this faculty completed the Fiedler Q-sort
as modified to apply to teachers. When the Q-sorts of these
teachers were compared with the Q-sorts of Fiedler's "good" psy-
chotherapists, they proved to be highly similar. The correlation be-
tween the teachers' Q-sort and Fiedler's therapists was .809. These
results seemed clearly to support our belief in the common basic
character of helping professions.
The results of this study were met with great enthusiasm by
Combs and Soper. They were delighted to find their hypothesis
confirmed. In fact, the results seemed so clear that the experi-
menters were led to believe they had stumbled upon an effective
device which might be used as a measure of good teaching. Accord-


ingly, they set about a second study to determine whether this
Q-sort would clearly distinguish between "good" and "poor"


To explore the question of whether good teaching is a function of
knowledge about the helping relationship, a sample of "good"
teachers and "poor" teachers who would be willing to cooperate by
completing our modification of the Fiedler Q-sort was needed.7 To
obtain these two samples, freshmen and sophomore students at the
University of Florida, enrolled in a beginning course in the College
of Education, were asked as part of a class assignment to tell us of
the very best teacher they had ever had and the very worst teacher
they had ever had. These teachers were then contacted by mail
and asked if they would be willing to participate in our study on
effective teaching. The teachers, of course, did not know how they
had been selected for this rare privilege beyond a card sent to them
which read as follows: "We are engaged in a study of effective
teaching. You have been nominated by one of your former students
as a person who once had a profound effect upon him. . ." The
card then went on to request their cooperation. Those who ex-
pressed a willingness to help were sent the modified Q-sort.
The results of this experiment were like a dash of cold water on
the expectations of the experimenters. Instead of demonstrating its
value as a device for distinguishing between good and poor
teachers, the modified Q-sort showed absolutely no difference be-
tween the good and poor teachers. Good and poor teachers both
seem to know what a good helping relationship ought to be like
even though they may not be putting this knowledge into effect.


The authors of the two studies reported above were already
familiar with the fact that good and poor practitioners cannot be
discriminated on the basis of the methods they use. A National
7. Combs, A. W., & Soper, D. W. The helping relationship as described
by "good" and "poor" teachers. Journal of Teacher Education, 1963, 14, 64-67.


Education Association review of all the research available on good
and poor teaching was forced to the conclusion that "there is no
method of teaching which can be clearly shown to be associated
with either good or poor teaching."8 This review covered hundreds
of studies and the conclusion seems unquestionably definitive. Ap-
parently there is no such thing as a "good" method or a "right"
method of teaching. A review of research in the other helping pro-
fessions seems to corroborate the point in those professions as well.
If the results of these studies are to be believed, the key to the
nature of effective helping relationships is not to be found in what
the helper knows or in the methods he uses. This was a stopper. It
was apparent we were groping down the wrong alleys for the an-
swers to our questions. To this point we had been looking at the
problem of the helping professions from an objective frame of refer-
ence in the manner traditional to external approaches in psycho-
logical investigation. We decided to see what would happen if, in-
stead, we approached the problem from a phenomenological orien-
tation, analyzing it perceptually.
8. Ellena, W. J., Stevenson, M., & Webb, H. V. Who's a good teacher?
Washington, D.C.: American Association of School Administrators, N.E.A.,


T o explore the nature of the helping relationship from a percep-
tual orientation, a series of seminars open to faculty members
and graduate students was instituted in the College of Education
at the University of Florida in 1959. These seminars were
addressed to the problem of defining the nature and characteristics
of the helping professions. They began with a review of the existing
literature, searching out all that could be found on the question.
This information was subjected to examination and interpretation
from a phenomenological or perceptual point of view through a
process of continuous dialogue among the seminar participants. As
a consequence of this procedure the thinking of the participants
gradually changed and we came to see the helping professions in a
somewhat different fashion.
Looking gat the various helping professions, including teaching,
counseling, social work, pastoral care, nursing, and psychotherapy
in particular it soonbecame parentto us that the common char-
acteristic of all of these was instantaneous respo0anse.t istosay,
aH of e helping professions seem fto-FTe entiated from more
mechanical operations in the immediacy of response required of
the helper. For example, in teaching, when the child says something
to his teacher, his teacher must respond instantaneously. The same
thing is true in the interrelationships of the social worker and his
client, the pastor and the parishioner, the nurse and her patient, or
the counselor and his client. All of these professions are dependent
upon immediate response. Professional helpers must be thinking,
problem-solvingpeople the_ primary too with which they work is
We came to describe this understanding of the nature of the
helping professions as the slfas instrument" concept. The term
was first introduced to our thin ing by Dr. Daniel Soper, but we
later found that it had long been used in the social work profession.
BBythe "self as instrument" concept we meant that the outstanding
fact about the helping professions was the use of tEe-ihie1ieFs self
in the process. Effective operation in the helping professions,


whether we are talking about social work, counseling, teaching, or
nursing, is a g iestion-o ntthe use of t e l r
way in which he is able to combine his knowledge and understand-
igwith his own unique ways of putting it into operation in such a
fashion as to be helpful to others. We gave this understanding a 'i
Yorii st-atement as follows: "Effective helping relationships will be
a function of the effective use of the helper'sself in bringing about
fulmfiment-of his owrr-and-society's purposes."
The self as instrument concept helps to explain why the at-
tempt to distinguish the helping professions on the basis of knowl-
edge or methods falters. f effective operation in the helping profes-
sions is a personal matter of the effective use of a self- then the
search for a common knowledge or a common method is doomed
before it begins. Since the self of each individual is unique, the
search for a common uniqueness is, by definition, a built-in invali-
Further reasons why an examination of methods proved so disap-
pointing a key to the helping professions became apparent to us as
we applied the principles of perceptual psychology to the problem.
In perceptual terms, behavior is always a function of perception.
That is, how a person behaves at any moment will always be a
function of the nature and condition of his perceptual field at the
moment of his behavior. In everyday terms, "people behave ac-
cording to how things seem to them." In this light, behavior is no/
more than a symptom, an expression of the dynamics of causatio .
which lie in the perceptual field of the beaver. A given perception
may produce many different behaviors. A feeling of thirst, for ex-
ample, may produce innumerable varieties of drinking behavior.
Conversely, the same behavior of taking a mouthful of water could
conceivably be produced from many different perceptions, one of
which might be thirst. With this understanding, it seems clear that
the attempt to describe the helping professions on the basis of com-
mon behaviors can at best provide us with little more than a fairly
low statistical relationship.
At this point we are confronted with a difficult question. If ef-
fective helping calls for instantaneous response which fits the pecu-
liar needs of the person to be helped and if it depends upon the
effective operation of the unique self of the helper, how can we
hope to be sure the instantaneous use of the unique self will be
good for the client? Helping, after all, must be a predictable pro-

cess, one in which we can be sure the results will be positive. In
answering this question we found it helpful to draw an analogy
with a giant computer. The modern computer is a magnificent ma-
chine capable of taking in great quantities of data from outside it-
self and combining this information with that stored in its "memory
bank" to give an almost instantaneous "best answer" for the complex
of data with which it deals. Like a human being it provides ap-
propriate responses to mountains of data. Now, what kind of an-
swers the computer provides out of the data available to it is de-
pendent upon the formula in the machine, the program. Similarly,
for human beings the peculiar responses occurring as a conse-
quence of the circumstances in which people find themselves are
also a product of the formula in the person. But the formula in the
human case is not a mathematical equation. It consists of the indi-
vidual's perceptions, especially those we call values, beliefs, and
Carl Rogers in his article on the nature of the helping relationship
observed that it didn't seem to make much difference how the
helper behaved if his "intent" (purpose) was to be helpful. We are
all familiar from personal experience with how our behavior is an
expression of our beliefs. Indeed, this intimate effect of belief on
behavior is so strong it betrays us even when we consciously try
to hide it. As the old Indian said, "What you do speaks so loudly I
cannot hear what you say!" Our friends are aware of this and they
say of us, "Well! He would!" Beliefs have a controlling, directing
effect. They determine the choices of behavior we make from
moment to moment. In the light of this close relationship between
behavior and belief, it occurred to us that a study of the beliefs of
helpers might provide a more profitable approach to underist-anding
the helping relationships than had heretofore been possible when
the problem was approached from the question of knowledge or
methods. Before exploring this question further, let us stop for a
moment to review some theoretical principles underlying this posi-
In perceptual psychology the causes of behavior are ascribed to
receptionn more precisely, to the perceptual field of the beaver
taLthe_ instant of action. At any moment a person's behavior, then,
is a consequence of all the perceptions available to him just as, in
the computer, answers are products of the data fed in or already
there. In the computer the organizers of data are the formulae or

programs placed in the machine. In people the organizers of per-
ception are themselves perceptions having special relevance for the
individual. Existing perceptions have a selecting, determining ef-
fect on further perceptions.
In perceptual terms behavior is understood as a consequence of
tw ds oferceptions: the perceptions one has about the world
,and those he has about himself. However, not all perceptions exist-
ing for an individual are of equal value to him at any particular
time. Some perceptions come to have much greater importance and
relevance for the individual as a consequence of his experience.
Among the most important of these, of course, are the perceptions
a person has about himself, the self concept. Everyone has many
different kinds of beliefs about himself which he has acquired in
the course of his experience over the years. Some of these will be
quite superficial on the periphery of the perceptual field. Others
will be quite central to the person's experience, seeming to him to
be at the very heart of his being. In a sense, it is the more central
character of a perception that changes it from a mere observation
into the powerful force we recognize in a belief. Thus, a perception
like "I walked to school this morning" is little more than a fact,
while an observation like "I am a male" is a matter of much rele-
vance and importance. It is a belief which affects almost every-
thing the person does. Most of an individual's perceptions begin on
the periphery of his experience as observations, facts, or knowledge.
This is why mere knowledge is not enough to produce a change in
behavior. It is only as knowledge is experienced with deeper and
deeper meaning so that it takes on the quality of belief (becomes
central to experience) that it is likely to produce much change in
Once established, perceptions having the quality of belief tend
to determine further perceptions. This is especially true of the
beliefs we hold about ourselves which psychologists have come to
describe as the self concept. Other organizers of behavior are per-
ceptions of considerable relevance and meaning which we call be-
liefs, values, or attitudes. Even ideas about factual matters are un-
likely to affect behavior except in the degree to which they de-
velop the quality of belief.
Whatever their origin, beliefs, once established, tend to have an
organizing effect upon further perception and so upon the behavior
exhibited by an individual. This selective effect on perception gives


stability and predictability to behavior. It is these beliefs, these
highly meaningful perceptions, then, that we concluded we needed
to explore in search of the dynamic bases of the helping relation-
ships. It was to this question our seminar next addressed itself.


A special seminar of faculty and graduate students tackled the
task of formulating a series of hypotheses for the exploration of
helping relationships from a perceptual orientation. The hypotheses
isolated by this seminar were reported as: Sample Hypotheses for
Exploring the Perceptual Organization of "Helpers" and "Non-
As a consequence of our discussions of the helping relationship
in phenomenological or perceptual terms, it seemed to us that ef-
fective helpers could be described in terms of their perceptions in
five major areas: (1) the general frame of reference or point of
view from which the helper approached his problem; (2) the ways
in which the helper perceived other people; (3) the ways in
which the helper perceived himself; (4) the ways in which the
helper perceived the task with which he was confronted; and (5)
the ways in which the helper perceived appropriate methods for
carrying out his purposes. Under each of these headings we listed
a series of probable continue with respect to the ways in which the
helper saw events under that heading. For example, under the
heading "Seeing other people and their behavior," it seemed to us
helpers would more often perceive those they worked with as
"capable" rather than "incapable," as "trustworthy" rather than as
"untrustworthy," and so on down the list.
The Basic Assumption.-The seminar members believe that per-
sons who have learned to use themselves as effective instruments
in the production of helping relationships can be distinguished
from those who are ineffective on the basis of their characteristic
perceptual organizations. More specifically, "helpers" can be dis-
tinguished from "non-helpers" with regard to their characteristic
ways of perceiving:

1. Adapted from Combs, A. W. A perceptual view of "helpers." Personality
Theory and Counseling Practice, Papers of First Annual Conference on Per-
sonality Theory and Counseling Practice. Gainesville, Florida: University of
Florida Press, 1961.


A. Generally-Frames of Reference
B. People and Their Behavior
C. The Helper's Self
D. The Helping Task and Its Problems
E. Appropriate Methods for Helping

Under each of the above headings, the seminar formulated a series
of perceptual continue that seemed fruitful for investigation. In
each instance the perceptual organization presumed to be char-
acteristic of the helper is stated first.

A. General Frame of Reference
Growth orientation-Fencing
in or controlling
Perceptual meanings-Facts,
Causation oriented-Me-
chanics oriented
B. Seeing People and Their Be-
As capable-Incapable
As trustworthy-Untrustwor-
As helpful-Hindering
As unthreatening-Threaten-
As respectable-No account
As worthy-Unworthy
C. The Helper's Self
Sees Self as:
Identified with people-
Apart from people
Enough-Not enough
Trustworthy-Not trustwor-
Liked-Not liked
Wanted-Not wanted
Accepted-Not accepted
Feels certain, sure-Doubt

C. (continued)
Feels aware-Unaware
Self revealing-Self conceal-
D. The Helping Task and Its
Purpose is helping-Domi-
Purpose is larger-Narcis-
Purpose is altruistic-Nar-
Purpose is understanding-
Purpose is accepting-Re-
Purpose is valuing integrity
-Violating integrity
Approach to problems is:
Open to experience-Closed
to experience
Process oriented-Ends ori-
E. Appropriate Methods for
Sees helping methods supe-
rior to manipulating meth-
Sees cooperation superior to


E. (continued) Sees giving methods superior
Sees acceptance superior to to withholding
appeasing Sees vital methods superior
Sees acceptance superior to to lifeless
rejecting (attacking) R e 1 a x e d-Compulsion to
Sees permissive methods su- change others
perior to authoritarian Awareness of complexity-
Sees open communication su- Oversimplification
perior to closed communi- Tolerant of ambiguity-In-
cation tolerant

Since the original publication of these hypotheses and as a result
of our experiences in working with them in practical settings, we
have become aware that some do not really represent perceptions.
Rather, in stating some of these hypotheses, our seminar quite un-
consciously slipped back into more familiar behavioral rather than
perceptual descriptions. For example, items in Section B (Seeing
People and Their Behavior) are stated in perceptual terms, how
the helper sees others. Some of the items in Sections A and D,
however, are more behavioral than perceptual. An internal frame
of reference, for example, is a way of behaving, not a perception
in itself. Similarly, approaches to problems in Section D are ways of
acting rather than ways of perceiving. In designing some of our
later research studies, some of these errors in conceptualization
were corrected before being put to test.


Our original thinking in this exploration had been: "If we can
discover valid differences in characteristic ways of perceiving of
good and poor helpers, this information should be useful as guide-
lines for the development of the kinds of programs needed to pro-
duce effective helpers." Thus, we were immediately faced with
several knotty problems: (1) how to distinguish between good and
poor practitioners, and (2) how to measure the perceptions of these
persons once they had been isolated.

Distinguishing "Good" and "Poor" Practitioners
Since all reviews of research to date had demonstrated that ef-
fective practice couldn't edistinguishedfroin iieTffetive practice
by-obj:ctive'mrieas (either knowledge or behavior), we were faced

with the problem of how to achieve samples of "good" and "poor"
helpers for our researches. Clearly, existing means could not be used
to provide us criteria. After much discussion we came to the follow-
ing conclusion: "The task we confront is one of finding valid criteria
in the current absence of such distinguishers. We are pioneering.
Our problem is similar to that faced by Binet with early intelligence
tests when he used teachers' judgments to select more intelligent
and less intelligent children, then constructed his tests to differen-
tiate between them. We will, therefore, attempt to differentiate ef-
fective from ineffective practitioners on the basis of the best judg-
ments possible obtained from persons in positions to know. In each
instance we will accept only those with a minimum of two inde-
pendent judgments, made by qualified persons, which corroborate
each other. Wherever possible we will seek corroboration from more
than the minimum sources." In the researches reported later in this
monograph it can be observed that these criteria led to a number of
ways of obtaining judgments from diverse sources.


Since perceptions lie inside people, they are not available for
direct manipulation or measurement. It is necessary, therefore, to
approach the matter through some form of inference made from a
sample of observable behavior. Many writers have maintained that
the self concept could be directly measured by more or less sophisti-
cated techniques of asking subjects to report the nature of their self
perceptions. This is a straightforward, "logical" approach to the
problems of perception measurement of internal phenomena. How-
ever, on theoretical grounds, there is serious reason to doubt the
adequacy of self reports as accurate measures of perception and
self concept. Accordingly, we carried out several theoretical and
research investigations to explore whether the relationship between
self perceptions and self report was sufficiently close to warrant
experimental use. As a result of our theoretical analysis we came to
the conclusion that the self report (a behavior) and the self concept
(perceptions) cannot be accepted as valid measures of the same

2. Combs, A. W., & Soper, D. W. The self, its derivative terms and re-
search. Journal of Individual Psychology, 1957, 12, 134-145. Soper, D. W.,
& Combs, A. W. Planning future research in education. Educational Leader-


To test these conclusions empirically several studies were carried
out by Combs, Courson, and Soper3 and by Parker.4 These clearly
confirmed the lack of trustworthy relationships between self report
and self concept. With regret, therefore, we abandoned self report
forms of measurement and sought to approach the problem of meas-
uring perception by inferential means. This calls for the use of ob-
servers specially trained in the making of perceptual inferences
from various kinds of behavior samples as illustrated in the research
projects reported in the remainder of the monograph.
Having established the hypotheses needing exploration our next
step was to find ways of testing them experimentally. The first
research was carried out by Combs and Soper with counselors-in-
training at the University of Florida. The results were so exciting
that we decided to follow it with a much larger study of "good"
and "poor" teachers. After months of planning with the cooperation
of public schools, a research proposal was finally submitted to the
United States Office of Education. The project was "disapproved"
by the Cooperative Research Branch with what must surely be one
of the more remarkable rejections of all time. We quote: "It cer-
tainly is important to have a better understanding of effective
teachers. However, the type of study proposed here would be at
best useless, and at worst most dangerous to all concerned." We,
therefore, decided to reduce the size of our effort and carry out our
researches without outside funding. The research reports which
follow represent attempts to test some of our fundamental hypoth-
eses on various groups of "helping" persons and were carried out in
each instance by the authors indicated with little or no outside

ship, 1957, 5, 315-318. Combs, A. W. New horizons in field research: The
self concept. Educational Leadership, 1958, 15, 315-319. Combs, A. W. The
self in chaos. Review of R. C. Wylie, The Self Concept. University of
Nebraska Press, 1962, Contemporary Psychology, 1962, 7, 53-54.
3. Combs, A. W., Courson, C. C., & Soper, D. W. The measurement of
self concept and self report. Educational and Psychological Measurement,
1963, 23(3), 439-500. Courson, C. The use of inference as a research tool.
Educational and Psychological Measurement, 1965, 25, 1029-1038.
4. Parker, J. The relationship of self report to inferred self concept in
sixth grade children. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Florida,
1964. Parker, J. The relationship of self report to inferred self concept.
Educational and Psychological Measurement, 1966, 26, 691-700.


Part Two
Research Reports


by Arthur W. Combs and
Daniel W. Soper

The forty-one hypotheses formulated in 1959 by the seminar of
faculty and graduate students were not subjected to experi-
mental study until the fall of 1961. At that time the present study'
was initiated as the first in a series designed to test the validity of
the hypotheses with different branches of the helping professions.
During the academic year 1961-62, the University of Florida
operated a year-long Guidance Institute. Thirty-one counselors-in-
training, nominated by their local school systems and accepted
after a screening program by the Department of Personnel Services
for this special program, composed the student body. None of the
students had done extensive graduate work in the field of guidance
and counseling. During their first semester at the university,
twenty-nine of these counselors-in-training were enrolled in a grad-
uate course in Personality Dynamics taught by Dr. Arthur Combs.
This was not a special class for counselors, but a regular graduate
course open to any graduate student in the college, and the guid-
ance group was scattered among the one hundred and ten students
enrolled. Four times during the semester each student was required
to hand in a description of a "Human Relations Incident" in which
he had been involved, including a critique covering: (1) what
he thought about it at the time, (2) what seemed to him to be the
crux of the problem, and (3) what he now felt he might better
have done about it. The protocols produced by the twenty-nine
1. This chapter is adapted from an article of the same title originally
published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, Vol. 10, pages 222-227,
1963. Portions reprinted here by permission of the Journal of Counseling
Psychology, Inc., published by the American Psychological Association, Inc.,
at Mt. Royal and Guilford Avenues, Baltimore, Maryland, 21202. This re-
search was awarded a Certificate of Commendation by the American Per-
sonnel and Guidance Association in 1962.


counselors-in-training were separated from those of the rest of the
class and subjected to a perceptual analysis for the purposes of this
Since the forty-one hypotheses proposed by the seminar de-
scribed in Chapter 2 were much too lengthy for our purposes, we
scored the human relations incidents for only twelve perceptual
variables defined as follows:

A. With respect to their general perceptual orientations,
good counselors will be more likely to perceive:
1. From an internal rather than from an external frame
of reference. The protocol writer's general frame of reference
can be described as internal rather than external, that is to
say, he seems sensitive to and concerned with how things
look to others with whom he interacts, and he uses this as
bases for his own behavior. He is concerned with perceptions
of others as well as their overt behavior.
2. In terms of people rather than things. Central to the
thinking of the subject is a concern with people and their
reactions rather than with things and events.
B. With respect to their perceptions of other people, good
counselors will perceive others as:
1. Able, rather than unable. The subject perceives others
as having the capacities to deal with their problems. He has
faith that they can find adequate solutions as opposed to doubt-
ing the capacity of people to handle themselves and their lives.
2. Dependable rather than undependable. The subject re-
gards others as being essentially dependable rather than un-
dependable. He shows confidence in the stability and relia-
bility of others and does not need to be suspicious of them.
3. Friendly rather than unfriendly. The subject sees others
as being friendly and enhancing. He does not regard them as
threatening to himself but, instead, sees them as essentially well-
intentioned rather than evil-intentioned.
4. Worthy rather than unworthy. The subject tends to see
other people as being of worth rather than unworthy. He sees
them as possessing a dignity and integrity which must be re-
spected and maintained rather than as unimportant people,
whose integrity may be violated.
C. With respect to their perceptions of self, good counselors
will perceive themselves as:
1. Identified with people rather than apart from people.
The subject tends to see himself as a part of all mankind; he

sees himself as identified with people rather than as with-
drawn, removed, apart, or alienated from others.
2. Enough rather than wanting. The subject generally sees
himself as enough; as having what is needed to deal with his
problems. He does not see himself as lacking or unable to
cope with problems.
3. Self revealing rather than self concealing. The subject
is self revealing rather than self concealing; that is, he appears
to be willing to disclose himself. He can treat his feelings and
shortcomings as important and significant rather than hiding
them or covering them up. He seems willing to be himself.
D. With respect to purposes, good counselors will perceive
their purposes as:
1. Freeing rather than controlling. The subject's purpose
is essentially freeing and facilitating rather than controlling,
dominating, coercing, or manipulating.
2. Altruistically rather than narcissistically. The subject
appears to be motivated by feelings of altruism rather than
narcissism. He is concerned about others, not merely about self.
3. Concerned with larger rather than smaller meanings.
The subject tends to view events in a broad rather than narrow
perspective. He is concerned with larger connotations of
events, with larger, more extensive implications than the im-
mediate and specific. He is not exclusively concerned with de-
tails but can perceive beyond the immediate to future and
larger meanings.

Using these definitions a score sheet was made on which each
of the above perceptual categories could be scored on a seven point
scale. Blind analyses of the protocols were then made in the fol-
lowing manner. The four "Human Relations Incidents" written
by each of the counselors-in-training were kept in a folder identi-
fied only by a number. These folders were checked out, one at a
time, by each of our four research assistants. The protocols were
carefully read with an eye to the kinds of perceptions held by the
writer in describing the human relations incident. Research ana-
lysts asked themselves, "How must this person have perceived to
have written of this incident this way?" Raters were not permitted
to read more than two cases at a sitting in order to avoid halo
effect and were not permitted to discuss their findings with each
other until all research team members had completed the analysis
of a given case.

We were fortunate in having available for our perceptual analysis
an experienced team of four graduate research assistants who had
no connection with the guidance institute and who had been
making perceptual inferences for six months as part of another re-
search on the perceptions of children.2 The competence and re-
liability of these people in making such analyses had been demon-
strated statistically in the factor analyses of our previous study. To
confirm their reliability in the present experiment, however, we sub-
jected them to a retraining period for this study and did not use
them for making perceptual inferences until we were satisfied they
were making common judgments. The per cent of agreement of
our four raters with themselves and with each other on a sampling
of ten cases is indicated in Table 1.

Raters A B C D
A 89.4
B 87.0 90.5
C 84.7 83.8 91.0
D 88.1 88.8 82.3 88.7

The perceptual inferences obtained in the above manner were
recorded on a seven point scale for each item on the score sheet.
The sum of the four ratings assigned to each item was used as the
final score for each counselor-trainee on that particular item. When
all the perceptual scores had been recorded, the counselors-in-
training were placed in rank order with respect to each of the per-
ceptual items under investigation and with respect to the total
score for all items summed. These rank orders were then corre-
lated with effectiveness ratings made by the faculty.


The University of Florida 1961 Guidance Institute participated in
a national program of research which required extensive testing of
students and a number of ratings by the faculty at various points
2. Combs, A. W., & Soper, D. W. The relationship of child perceptions
to achievement and behavior in the early school years. Cooperative Research
Project No. 814, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 1963.

throughout the year. The faculty evaluations needed for this re-
search were requested along with those called for by the national
program during the last week of the institute. Without fanfare the
faculty was simply asked to evaluate the students in the institute
in this additional way during a time set aside in the last faculty
meeting of the year. Only the department chairman had been told
the precise nature of the experiment we were conducting.
The group making the evaluations included the professors who
had been responsible for training and supervising students in the
strictly counseling aspects of the program. It also included those
professors and graduate assistants who had served as supervisors in
the practicum phases of training. All but two of the sixteen mem-
bers of the staff were present. A series of twenty-nine cards, each
bearing the name of one of the counselors-in-training, was scattered
on a table before the group. They were then asked to come to a
consensus as to the proper order in which the trainees should be
placed in respect to their promise as counselors. More specifically,
the faculty was told, "Let us suppose you are in a position to hire a
number of counselors. Put these Institute counselors in the order
in which you would hire them for your staff." In a case conference
procedure the faculty then arranged the twenty-nine counselor-
trainees in order from best to poorest counselor. In this fashion we
acquired a rank order of probable effectiveness of our counselors-
in-training. Rank order correlations were then computed between
each perceptual variable and the counselor effectiveness rankings
provided from the staff judgment. These correlation coefficients are
reported in Table 2.
It is apparent from an examination of Table 2 that all of our
predictions are supported. All but two of the correlations are sig-
nificant beyond the .01 level. Apparently it is possible to distinguish
good counselors from poor ones on the basis of their perceptual
organization. With more refined techniques of perceptual analysis
and counselor ratings the correlations achieved here would prob-
ably be higher still.
Since the faculty in this institute have all been more or less
affected by client-centered approaches to counseling, the question lop
might be raised whether similar correlations would be found for a ( S
group of counselors whose effectiveness had been rated by experts
from a different school of thought. That question, of course, can
only be answered by further research. We venture the prediction,


however, that similar results would occur for there is evidence in
the work of Fiedler3 and Heine4 that expert counselors, even those
from quite different schools of thought, nevertheless show high de-
grees of agreement as to what constitutes a good counseling rela-
The definition of "good" and "poor" workers is of great impor-
tance to all the helping professions including counseling, social
work, medicine, law, teaching, or the clergy. It is equally important
in such relationships as those between foreman and worker, su-
pervisor and staff, parent and child, or the myriad interrelation-
ships of administrators and their staffs. Almost without exception,

Rank order Significance
Perceptual inference correlation level
Internal-External frame of reference .496 .01
People-Things orientation .514 .01
Sees people as able-unable .589 .01
Sees people as dependable-undependable .489 .01
Sees people as friendly-unfriendly .555 .01
Sees people as worthy-unworthy .607 .01
Sees self as identified-unidentified .556 .01
Sees self as enough-not enough .394 .05
Sees self as revealing-not revealing .447 .02
Sees purpose as freeing-controlling .638 .01
Sees purpose altruistically-narcissistically .641 .01
Sees purpose in larger-smaller meanings .475 .01
Total categories .580 .01

the attempt to distinguish between effective and ineffective persons
in such relationships on the basis of their overt behavior has proven
most disappointing.
In the light of the almost universal failure to find objective be-
havioral criteria which differentiate "good" and "poor" professional
workers, correlations of the magnitude obtained in this study
3. Fiedler, F. E. The concept of an ideal therapeutic relationship.
Journal of Consulting Psychology, 1950, 14, 239-245.
4. Heine, R. W. A comparison of patients' reports on psychotherapeutic
experience with psychoanalytic, non-directive, and Adlerian therapists. Un-
published doctoral dissertation, University of Chicago, 1950.

assume a very great significance. They seem to suggest new direc-
tions for research on this important problem that may eventually
provide us with more satisfactory answers than we have had here-
tofore. These findings suggest that what we have failed to define
objectively we may be able to distinguish perceptually.



by C. Thomas Gooding

The results of the study of counselors reported in Chapter 3
proved so exciting we turned next to apply these techniques
to the problem of effective and ineffective teachers. This study was
therefore designed to determine whether certain perceptual or-
ganizations, as inferred from observations and interviews of se-
lected teacher subjects, are clearly characteristic of effective teach-

Twenty perceptual hypotheses were investigated in this study;
twelve were identical with those in our research on counselors
(Chapter 3), and eight additional dimensions were selected from
those originally proposed by the Helping Relationship Seminar
(Chapter 2). They were as follows:

A. Perceptions of people and their behavior
1. Able-Unable
2. Friendly-Unfriendly
3. Worthy-Unworthy
4. Internally motivated-Externally motivated
5. Dependable-Undependable
6. Helpful-Hindering
B. Perceptions of self
7. With people-Apart from people
8. Able-Unable
9. Dependable-Undependable
10. Worthy-Unworthy
11. Wanted-Unwanted
C. Perception of the teaching task
1. Gooding, C. T. An observational analysis of the perceptual organization
of effective teachers. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Florida,


12. Freeing-Controlling
13. Larger-Smaller
14. Revealing-Concealing
15. Involved-Uninvolved
16. Encouraging process-Achieving goals
D. General frame of reference
17. Internal-External
18. People-Things
19. Perceptual meanings-Facts and events
20. Immediate causation-Historical


A group of teachers clearly identified as effective and a group of
teachers equally well identified as ineffective were required for
this research. The two groups were identified as follows: The prin-
cipal and curriculum coordinator from each of the elementary
schools in the project were called to a meeting at which they were
instructed to list independently the names of the very best and very
worst teachers in their buildings. In order for a subject to be
selected for participation in the research both the teacher's princi-
pal and curriculum coordinator had to arrive at independent, iden-
tical classification of the prospective subject as among "the very
best or poorest in your school." The agreement on nominations be-
tween principals and curriculum coordinators was 52.5 per cent.
In an effort to control certain variables not related to the purpose
of the study, no men were used in the sample. Groups were also
compared on the basis of age, years' experience in the county sys-
tem, total years of teaching experience, National Teacher Examina-
tion (NTE) scores, and academic training. Tests of significance of
differences between means of the two groups on age, experience in
the county, total experience, and NTE scores revealed no statistically
significant differences between means on any of these criteria. All
teachers in both groups held at least a bachelor's degree. Five
members of the effective group and one member of the ineffective
group held master's degrees.
Initial letters were sent to seventy-seven prospective subjects re-
questing their participation in "a study of effective teaching." Af-
firmative replies were received from thirty-three subjects. One
teacher in the effective group dropped out due to illness, leaving

a final sample of nineteen teachers classed as effective and thirteen
classed as ineffective.
It is interesting to note that there was a considerable difference
in the rate of agreement to participate between teachers judged
effective and those judged ineffective. The rate of acceptance for
the effective group was 51.3 per cent whereas the rate of accept-
ance for the ineffective group was 38.2 per cent. It would, of
course, be desirable to have unanimous acceptance in both groups.
However, in practical research conditions the investigator is seldom
able to achieve the exact sample which would be theoretically
most desirable. In fact, when the difficulty of getting permission
of an entire county school system to conduct research in such a
sensitive area is considered, the degree of cooperation received
seems excellent indeed. Experimenters cannot force prospective
subjects to participate in a study of this nature and still remain
on firm ground in terms of the ethics of research. However, the
two groups were clearly different in respect to being judged ef-
fective and ineffective. Factors affecting the degree of response
from the two groups, while intriguing, do not destroy this basic


Four carefully selected observers were given special training,
over a one-month period, in making perceptual inferences from ob-
servations of teacher behavior in the classroom and from interviews
with teachers. This training enabled them to arrive at highly re-
liable inferences regarding the perceptual organizations of subjects
on the series of twenty hypotheses. Table 3 summarizes reliability
data after training.
During the course of the research additional weekly calculations
of the reliability of ratings were made. At the close of the data
collection phase the overall reliability remained quite constant at
80.5 per cent. A summary of individual and overall rater reliability
will be found in Table 4. An inspection of this table reveals that,
while overall reliability was quite high, the reliability level for the
interviews dipped to the minimum 75 per cent level stated as ac-
ceptable at the beginning of the research. This appears to indicate
that further refinement of self as instrument inferential method-
ology should be continued to increase reliability and validity.

Inferences from Inferences from Overall
observations interviews reliability
Observer (per cent) (per cent) (per cent)
1 82.5 75.0 78.8
2 80.7 80.0 80.8
3 81.6 76.3 78.8
4 78.0 81.3 81.3
All observers 80.7 78.2 79.2
a. Percentage of agreement is a ratio arrived at by computing the inference
scores on which an observer agrees with the other three observers and dividing
by the number of possible agreements.

Trained observers visited each of the teachers for three observa-
tion sessions and one interview. Neither they nor the teachers had
any knowledge of how the teachers were classified. Each observer
made his ratings independently although they visited teachers in
teams of two. Ratings were made on a perception score sheet
which included each of the twenty perceptual variables. On this in-
strument each of the twenty hypotheses was described as a seven
point scale. For example, in the case of the first hypothesis "does
the teacher see others as able or unable?" the observer made an in-
ference on the basis of his observations, then rated the teacher
from highly able (1) to highly unable (7).
To reduce halo effect the score sheet was divided into two forms,
X and Y. One of these was filled out after observation number 2
and the other after observation number 3.

Inferences from Inferences from Overall
observations interviews reliability
Observer (per cent) (per cent) (per cent)
1 80.6 72.5 78.4
2 81.1 71.7 78.3
3 84.1 76.7 82.2
4 85.0 78.3 83.3
All observers 82.7 74.8 80.5



The ratings of the teachers' perceptual organizations as inferred
from the observations and from the interview sessions were sub-
jected to discriminant function analysis. The data from the in-
ferences on observation yielded results which were significant at
better than the .01 level of confidence (see Table 5). The data
from inferences on interviews did not yield significant results. How-
ever, the interview data revealed trends which were in the same
direction as the observation inferences.

Standard Sig-
Sample Mean Variance deviation F nificance
Inferences size Z Z Z f2=--20,f=11 level

From interviews
Effective group 19 .01343 .01005 .10024 1.41 Not sig-
Ineffective group 13 -.01973 .01256 .11208
From observations
Effective group 19 .42339 .03732 .19310 4.43 .01
Ineffective group 13 -.61959 .03093 .17588

Conclusion 1.-Apparently in teaching as in counseling there is a
strong relationship between the perceptual organization of the per-
son and his effectiveness as a professional worker.
Conclusion 2.-A statistically significant difference was demon-
strated to exist between groups of effective and ineffective teachers
on the basis of perceptual organization as inferred from observation
of the teachers' classroom behavior.
The effective group of teachers was characterized by perceptual
organizations as follows:
A. The general frame of reference of effective teachers tends to
be one which emphasizes:
1. An internal rather than an external frame of reference.
2. Concern with people rather than things.
3. Concern with perceptual meanings rather than facts and


4. An immediate rather than a historical view of causes of
B. Effective teachers tend to perceive other people and their
behavior as:
1. Able rather than unable.
2. Friendly rather than unfriendly.
3. Worthy rather than unworthy.
4. Internally rather than externally motivated.
5. Dependable rather than undependable.
6. Helpful rather than hindering.
C. Effective teachers tend to perceive themselves as:
1. With people rather than apart from people.
2. Able rather than unable.
3. Dependable rather than undependable.
4. Worthy rather than unworthy.
5. Wanted rather than unwanted.
D. Effective teachers tend to perceive the teaching task as:
1. Freeing rather than controlling.
2. Larger rather than smaller.
3. Revealing rather than concealing.
4. Involved rather than uninvolved.
5. Encouraging process rather than achieving goals.
Conclusion 3.-Inferences concerning perceptual organization
based upon observation of teachers may be made with a high de-
gree of interobserver reliability. This inferential technique may be
used with added confidence in further studies of this type.
The results of this study have revealed that effective and inef-
fective teachers have characteristically different perceptual organi-
zations in terms of the perceptual hypotheses which were tested.
In view of the general failure of objective approaches to the ques-
tion of good and poor teaching, these findings must have great (,
significance. They point the way to what seems likely to be a most
fruitful new approach to the study of professional effectiveness and
suggest new goals for teacher education programs.

The Teachers' General Frame of Reference
The effective teachers in this study were characterized by a
greater degree of sensitivity to the feelings of students. They were
more concerned with seeing the child's point of view and were
more concerned with people and their reactions than with material


things. Further, the effective teachers had more concern for per-
ceptual meanings than had their less effective colleagues.
These differences in perceptual organization suggest that teacher
education will need to place greater emphasis on developing sen-
sitivity in student teachers. To do this, teachers' colleges will need
place greater emphasis on perceptual factors during the teacher's
training and to include a perceptual emphasis in the psychology
taught to teachers in training. They also suggest a different em-
phasis in observation programs. Traditionally such programs stress
objectivity of observation. If developing greater sensitivity on th
part of beginning teachers is accepted as a goal of teacher educa/
tion, however, then observation training will need to emphasize te\
development of greater sensitivity to the feelings of students and to)
their perceptions of school experiences rather than factual report-
Sensitivity denotes a deeper understanding of how things are
perceived by those with whom one works. It does not seem likely
that the usual courses in child development, child psychology, etc.,
can provide the kind of sensitivity characteristic of the good teach-
ers in this research. More than subject matter and methods is re-
quired. This calls for greatly increased opportunities to enter into
more personal, meaningful relationships with other students,
faculty, and the children with whom teacher candidates plan to

The Teachers' Perceptions of Self

The effective teachers tended to see themselves as more identi-
fied with others, as having the capacity to meet the problems of
life successfully, as being someone who is dependable, as having
dignity and integrity, and as being likable and attractive.
People learn about themselves from their experience, particularly
with the significant persons in their lives. The kinds of self percep-
tions characteristic of good teachers in this research, then, suggest
new criteria for teacher selection and new goals for curricula.
Teacher candidates, beginning early in their professional develop-
ment, must be dealt with in their training as persons of dignity,
integrity, and worth. They must be provided with success experi-
ences which will aid them in developing positive attitudes toward


The Teachers' Perceptions of Others
The effective group of teachers tended to see others more as
having the capacity of dealing successfully with their problems, as
being friendly, and well-intentioned, and as having dignity and in-
tegrity. They also tended- to see other people as creative and dy-
namic, as dependable and trustworthy, and as sources of fulfillment
and enhancement rather than as threatening or sources of frustra-
tion and discouragement.
If such characteristic ways of perceiving others are important to
teaching effectiveness, then teacher training institutions will need
to foster the growth of these attitudes in prospective teachers.
The atmosphere needed to facilitate the development of the per-
ceptual organization stated above must be one in which the student
teacher himself feels accepted, wanted, valued.
To produce the kinds of perceptions of others characteristic of
good teachers in this research calls for rich opportunities for stu-
dent teachers to interact with students in warm, friendly, coopera-
tive kinds of atmospheres. It requires, also, acquaintance with cur-
rent scientific findings, opportunities to work closely with others,
and exposure to diverse and varying points of view. Teachers
need to see others as aids rather than as threats to self. This is
difficult if not impossible for those who have inaccurate, distorted
perceptions about the nature of people.

The Teachers' Perceptions of the Teaching Task
This research found that the effective group of teachers tended
to see the purpose of the teaching task as one of freeing and as-
sisting rather than as controlling or coercing. In addition, the ef-
fective group members were more disclosing of their true selves,
and they exhibited evidence of greater commitment or in-
volvement in the teaching process. Likewise, they were more con-
cerned with facilitating the process of learning and discovery than
the achievement of specific, rigid goals.
The findings concerning the perceptions of the effective group in
terms of the purpose of the teaching task provide many implica-
tions for teacher training. The effective group members, for ex-
ample, were characteristically more process oriented than subject J
matter or ends oriented. This supports the view that we need to
foster the development of teachers who see the role of subject

matter not exclusively as content to be mastered but as an aid to
facilitating growth and discovery. The results seem also to suggest
the need for flexibility in approaches to subject matter. Teaching
methods do not facilitate optimum growth if they impose a rigid,
stereotyped, lockstep progression through a maze of experiences
which are meaningful to the teacher but not necessarily to the stu-
dent. We need to move in the direction of producing teachers who
are flexible in terms of methods and approaches to subject matter,
who have an abiding concern for fostering the development of
search and discovery, who do not insist upon rigid application of
predetermined procedures and goals, and who encourage the stu-
dent to contribute to the interaction. This calls for teacher educa-
tion programs which do not insist upon particular methods but en-
courage students to find their own best ways to approach the
teaching task with maximal openness. It is difficult to see how this
can be accomplished unless the experiences of teacher candidates
in the course of their training are such as to lead them to these
ways of perceiving. Hence, teacher education programs themselves
should encompass wide varieties of approaches.
Itis probably easier to teach a student professional worker the
steps of a method of teaching or to help him gain an adequate
command of a given body of subject matter than to facilitate the
development of new and more positive ways of seeing one's self
and one's students. However, if this-fe-earcW-hand other studies
which have pointed in this same direction are accurate, teacher
education institutions will need to consider the question of the
attitudes and perceptions of teachers as significant aspects for the
development of effective teachers.
... ...... .. /





by John A. Benton, Jr.

This research was designed to determine whether two groups of
Episcopal priests rated effective or ineffective pastors by their
bishops in respect to their counseling could be discriminated from
one another on the basis of their perceptual organization.' Since
the author is himself an Episcopal priest, his major concern was to
obtain information concerning the counseling activities of pastors
which might be of value in curriculum improvement of theological
schools. A theoretical base, outlined in the first chapters of this
book, had already been laid down in what has been called the
phenomenological orientation for dealing with the problem of the
helping professions.
Of the perceptual characteristics formulated in the original semi-
nar,2 five characteristics, called in this research "dimensions," were
selected for study as they applied to clergy and their pastoral
counseling. These were: (1) the pastor sees himself in the relation-
ship as identified with people or apart from people; (2) the pastor
sees other persons as able or as unable; (3) the pastor perceives
other persons primarily as persons or objects; (4) the pastor per-
ceives his role as being involved or not involved with other people;
and (5) the pastor sees his task as freeing or controlling. One di-
mension dealt primarily with how the priest sees himself. Two di-
mensions dealt with his perception of the parishioner, or other per-
son, in the pastoral relationship, and two dimensions dealt more
directly with the pastor's perception of the nature of the pastoral
relationship. These dimensions were defined in terms of a con-
tinuum as follows.
1. Benton, J. A. Perceptual characteristics of Episcopal pastors. Unpublished
doctoral dissertation, University of Florida, 1964.
2. Combs, A. W. A perceptual view of the nature of helpers in personality
theory and counseling practice. Papers of First Annual Conference on Per-
sonality Theory and Counseling Practice. Gainesville, Florida: University of
Florida Press, 1961.

Dimension One.-The pastor sees himself, in the pastoral
relationship, as more identified with people than apart from
people. The pastor perceives himself to be of a piece of all
mankind, to be subject to all of the temptations, troubles, and
joys of other human beings; to share a common life and destiny
with the parishioner. Contrariwise, the pastor perceives him-
self as separate from, and unrelated to, the life of people
and their problems; as a person alienated from his fellow
human beings. His values are unrelated to the welfare of
Dimension Two.-The pastor sees the other person in the
pastoral relationship as more able than unable. The pastor per-
ceives the other person as having the capacity to deal with
his problems and believes that he can find adequate solutions
to his problems. Contrariwise, the pastor doubts the capacity
of the other person to handle himself or his life.
Dimension Three.-The pastor sees other people more as
persons than as objects. The pastor relates to the other person
as if he were a unique, living, human being possessing
uniquely human capacities and meaningful experiences; a
being having feelings that are of importance; an individual
striving toward goals; a being in process of becoming; dy-
namic and creative. The pastor perceives the parishioner as,
in the words of Buber, a "thou" and not an "it." Contrariwise,
the pastor perceives the parishioner more as an object; as an
"it" with few feelings or whose feelings are of little meaning
or account; as a "problem" or "case"; as simply the personifi-
cation of his difficulty, e.g., an alcoholic, a gossip, a juvenile
delinquent, a sinner, a nagging wife, an adulterer; as a "good"
or "bad" statistic in the church records; as one properly and
beneficially moved about according to a plan not of the in-
dividual's own choosing; as essentially reactive and passive.
Dimension Four.-The pastor sees his role as being more
involved than not involved (with other persons). The pastor
perceives that his real personal characteristics and feelings
may rightly enter into his relationships in an interactive pro-
cess. He feels committed to the helping process. He perceives
that he may be genuinely warm, interested, and concerned
with the other person and that he must enter into the other
person's world of feelings and experiences. Contrariwise, the
pastor sees his task as a "professional" one characterized by
impersonal, distant, and detached attitudes. He feels the ideal
pastoral relationship is a formal one in which the pastor


should strive for personal anonymity. He may, on the other
hand, perceive that an inactive, inert, unconcerned role is ap-
propriate to him.
Dimension Five.-The pastor sees his task more as freeing
than as controlling. The pastor perceives the purpose of his
pastoral task is to facilitate growth and to help the person be-
come aware of the number of choices available to him; to
create, during the relationship, an atmosphere that enables the
parishioner to feel free from threat and external evaluation,
to be more open to his experience. Contrariwise, the pastor
perceives the purpose of his pastoral task to be the manipula-
tion of the parishioner's perceptions, goals, feelings, and ideas
in accordance with a plan judged best by the pastor; the
creation, within the parishioner, of feelings of dependency
upon the pastor; the assumption of responsibility for the be-
havior of the other person; the inhibition of feelings of the
other person; the evaluation of the other person.


The sample was drawn from priests who were engaged in work
as rectors, curates, or vicars in the diocese under study and who (1)
were for four years prior to November, 1963, so engaged in work
in the diocese, (2) were members of one of the two groups chosen
effective or ineffective by two of the three bishops of the diocese,
and (3) consented to participate in the study.
There are in the diocese under study three bishops exercising
jurisdiction-a diocesan or chief bishop, and two suffragans or as-
sistant bishops. The panel of bishops was chosen as raters not only
because all three men have been in the diocese for over twenty
years and know both priests and laity well, but also because, by the
nature of their responsibilities, they frequently must make such
evaluations in the placement of their clergy.
Each bishop was requested to select from the list of 146 eligible
priests 20 whom he considered effective pastors and 20 whom he
considered ineffective. Each bishop was told he might use any
criteria he chose, but he was requested not to discuss his ratings
with either of the other two bishops until after the lists were sub-
mitted. All lists were addressed to a confidential secretary who
coded them for the research. For a name to be included in the
sample, two bishops out of three had to agree on the rating of a


priest as effective or ineffective. Thirty-two priests met all criteria,
seventeen effective and fifteen ineffective.

Three projective instruments were used in the collection of data:
(1) a pastoral problem response blank, (2) a picture story, and
(3) three pastoral incidents.
The Pastoral Problem Response Blank.-This consisted of ten
problems set forth in direct discourse following a brief introduction
of each person and situation. These cases were from the experience
of either the researcher or of clergy with whom he was familiar.
The ten conversations were read by the researcher in a role-playing
type presentation.
Following is an example of one of the ten cases used in this

Problem 1. The speaker in this instance is a leading layman
in your parish and his wife is president of one of the women's
guilds. You have seen him lately when you thought that he'd
had too much to drink, and gossip has it that he has been a
little too friendly with his secretary. He seems to be a good
father to his three children. The time is during your regular
afternoon office hours and the place is in your office of the
Man: Well, you see, Father, it's not that I want a divorce
because I don't. I don't believe in divorce and I know what
the church's teaching is. Maybe it isn't all her fault, but, my
God, that woman is hard to live with!, I never get a moment's
peace around the house because she's always after me, hound-
ing me, just boring in on me.

Standardized instructions for responding to this instrument were
read by the researcher and then each of the ten problems was read
with a pause following each for the pastor's response. The response
was electronically recorded and later transferred to a typescript
coded to conceal identity of subjects. This typescript formed the
protocol from which judges later made ratings on the perceptual
Picture Story Card.-In order to provide a greater latitude in the
selection of a problem with which the pastor was compelled to
deal, a picture about which the pastor was to compose a story was

used. This story was to set forth, within the context of the picture,
a personal problem involving one or both of the persons in the pic-
ture. The pastor was asked to relate in his story how he would
minister to these people.
Card 13 MF of Murray's TAT was chosen. This picture shows a
young man standing with downcast head buried in his arms while
behind him is the figure of a woman lying in bed. The primary con-
cern was with the pastor's response as to how he would minister to
the people involved in the problem as he saw it rather than the
problem itself. Each subject was asked to imagine that he had been
called to minister to these people in the situation as he saw it in the
picture. He was to have one minute in which to compose a story in-
volving the subjects, himself, and the situation, answering these
questions: Who are these people? What has happened? Where are
they? What is the trouble? Who called you and why? What are you
going to do to minister to these people in the situation as you see
it? Each was told that the nature of the problem was not the main
interest in the research but the manner in which the pastor planned
to minister to these people. The card was presented for a fully
timed sixty seconds but was not removed from sight while each
subject's response was recorded electronically. Later, the response
was transcribed and scored in the same fashion as the responses to
the Pastoral Problem Response Blank.
Pastoral Incidents.-In order to permit subjects the widest lati-
tude of expression, the third instrument was a series of three inci-
dents freely chosen from the pastoral experience of each priest in
which he felt he had done an effective job as a pastor. This ap-
proach permitted each pastor to include material which he felt ex-
emplified his best efforts as a pastor. Each subject was asked to
think back over his pastoral ministry to three cases where he felt
that he had done a particularly effective job as a pastor. He was
further requested to try to recall from each of these cases an inci-
dent which revealed how he functioned as the pastor. He was told
that a bit of conversation from the person and the pastor would be
particularly helpful, if it could be recalled at this late date. The
point was emphasized that these responses were to be incidents
from cases and not the complete case history with preliminary in-
formation, total care, and ultimate outcome of the case. Responses
to this part of the research were also tape recorded.
In addition to the responses garnered by the three instruments


already indicated, the researcher asked each priest for personal in-
formation such as age, number of children, the kind and size of con-
gregation in which he now served, his educational background, etc.
It was found that there were few differences in the two groups on
any of these items with three exceptions. Almost all of the effective
pastors were rectors of parishes, that is, held a position which is
commonly felt to be more desirable and responsible than the posi-
tions in which the majority of the ineffective pastors were found.
While the mean and median ages of the effective group were lower
than the ineffective group, the effective pastors had been in the
priesthood an average of about two years longer than those pastors
in the ineffective group.
The ten responses to the Pastoral Problem Response Blank, the
Picture Story, and the three Pastoral Incidents from each subject
were stapled together to form a single protocol from which global
ratings of the five perceptual dimensions were made. These thirty-
two protocols were rated by three judges, two of whom were on the
faculty of the Department of Personnel Services, College of Educa-
tion, University of Florida, whereas the third was an advanced
doctoral student in the field of Psychological Foundations of Educa-
tion at the University of Florida. All three of the judges had had
considerable experience in making the kind of inferences necessary
for making the required ratings.
Judges were asked to rate each dimension on a nine point scale
with the high end representing the positive extreme and the low
end indicating a relative lack of the perceptual characteristics in
the pastor whose protocol was being rated. Each protocol was to re-
ceive a global rating on each dimension, that is, the responses of
each subject to all three instruments were to be taken into consid-
eration in making the rating on any one dimension.
Each judge read the set of protocols five different times, once for
each dimension but in a different order each time. These precau-
tions were taken in order to avoid the possibility of a scoring "set"
on the part of the judges. As a further safeguard against judge re-
sponse set, each judge was instructed to read and rate not more
than four protocols per hour, nor more than one dimension per day.
Each judge was asked to make global ratings. No instructions were
given as to what each judge was to take into consideration in
making his ratings, but he was told to use whatever data in the
protocol seemed to him significant. After all the rating sheets were

scored, these scores were then divided into the two groups by code
number, previously rated by the bishops as effective and in-

This study was designed to test the validity of five hypotheses.
Specifically, it was predicted that a group of pastors rated ef-
fective by their bishops would: (1) see themselves, in their relation-
ships, as more identified with people, (2) in their relationships see
other people as more able, (3) relate to other people more as per-
sons, (4) see their role more as being involved with people, and
(5) see the purpose of their pastoral task more as freeing, than
would the group of pastors rated ineffective.

To test each of the hypotheses the null hypothesis for each one
was formulated and the median test applied to test the difference
in medians for each of the five hypotheses. Obtained chi squares
were compared with a table of chi square of various levels of prob-
ability at one degree of freedom for a one-tailed test. Results of
this significance analysis are given in Table 6.
From this table it can be seen that three dimensions, namely,
Identified with People, Seeing Others as Able, and Seeing the
Purpose of the Pastoral Task More as Freeing, discriminated ef-
fective from ineffective pastors beyond the .005 level of confidence.
The other two perceptual dimensions, Relating to People More as
Persons, and Seeing Role More as Involved with People, discrimi-
nated the two groups of pastors at the .05 level of confidence.
Because of the reliabilities of the ratings of the three judges, it was
believed that the acceptance of the hypotheses at the .05 level of
confidence was justified.
In order to determine the reliability of the three judges' ratings,
a split-half technique was utilized. This choice was made because
both between and within judge reliabilities could be determined in
one operation. A Pearson coefficient of correlation of .94 was calcu-
lated between the two halves of the 480 scores. The Spearman-
Brown prophecy formula was used to produce an estimated correla-
tion coefficient of .97 for the entire group of ratings by the judges.

On the basis of the results of the study, the following conclusions
seemed to be warranted concerning effective and ineffective Epis-
copal pastors.
1. Priests who perceive that they are persons just as everyone
else, sharing a common life and destiny with other people, are
more effective pastors than priests whose values are unrelated to
people and who perceive themselves to be isolated, or insulated,
from the rest of humanity.

No. at or above
Median score sample median
total sample Ef. Inef. Chi
Hypothesis n=32 n7=17 n--15 square
Pastor sees himself as
more identified with
people (Dimension One) 4.3 13 3 8.03a
Pastor sees others as more
able (Dimension Two) 4.3 13 3 8.03a
Pastor relates to people more as
persons (Dimension Three) 4.7 10 3 3.50b
Pastor sees role as more
involved with people
(Dimension Four) 4.7 10 3 3.50b
Pastor sees purpose of
pastoral task more as freeing
(Dimension Five) 5.3 11 1 9.11a
a. Significant beyond .005 level, one-tailed test.
b. Significant beyond .05 level, one-tailed test.

2. Priests who perceive other people as human beings capable
not only of seeing the right thing for them to do, but also doing it,
are more effective pastors than priests who see others as lacking the
ability to find adequate solutions to their problems and, therefore,
must have answers supplied for them.
3. Priests who relate to their counselees as dynamic, creative
human beings striving to live in the best way they know how and
whose feelings are of value, significance, and importance to every-
one, are more effective pastors than priests who relate to their
counselees as if they were reactive and passive beings whose



feelings were not as important as the facts which can be fitted into
a diagnostic pattern to form a basis for the priest to give directions.
4. Priests who permit their own feelings to enter into a pastoral
relationship, who perceive the possibilities of personal growth exist-
ing in all interpersonal relationships, who seek to understand their
counselees' feelings, are more effective pastors than priests who will
not permit themselves to get involved personally with others, but
strive for impersonal, unemotional, detached relationships with
their counselees.
5. Priests who perceive their pastoral counseling task to be pri-
marily a freeing of their counselees from the threat of external
judgment, including the priest's, the church's, or God's, are more ef-
fective pastors than priests who seek to control the behavior and/or
feelings of their counselees and who feel it their duty to pronounce
judgment upon counselees. Effective pastoral counselors also per-
ceive their task to be freeing of their counselees to discover and be
aware of the various solutions to their problems and to choose the
solution the counselee thinks the best for himself in his situation.


The findings of this research seem to support several further ob-
servations. Contemporary psychologists who have been saying that
the perceptual organization of a person provides a fruitful, mean-
ingful, and helpful area of study in order to understand the dy-
namics of human behavior, specifically helpful behavior, may derive
aid and comfort from the results of this investigation into the field
of pastoral counseling. The protocols utilized in the research are
rich in varieties of behavior manifested by the several pastors, but
the perceptions behind the behavioral masks remained consistently
stable and describable in the terminology of the dimensions se-
lected for study.
A more general concern of this study was the possible value that
the findings might have for seminary education. Without doubt
there is need of adequate training of clergy to do pastoral coun-
seling because priests will be faced with a welter of their parish-
ioners' personal problems. The effective pastor cannot be described
simply in terms either of what he does or what he knows. Often the
effective pastors in this study did little that was very different
from what the ineffective pastors did. Few, if any, of the effective

pastors seemed to manifest any special ability at diagnosing the
emotional problems of their parishioners.
The criteria used by the bishops in making their evaluations of
the counseling effectiveness of these priests were not attributes
which were specifically related to a polished or particular counsel-
ing technique. The three bishops were in general agreed that the
pastors' attitudes toward people were of prime importance. That is
to say, the bishops valued such qualities as warmth, genuine in-
terest in people, and priests' acceptance of others. They also
emphasized whether priests were nonjudgmental in their approach
to people and were nonrigid in the sense that there were no abso-
lute answers to problems apart from particular situations and the
priest did not possess all the answers to life's problems. They were
also concerned with the priests' permissiveness, their willingness
to listen to others, a reticence at the imposition of the pastor's will
upon decisions, their feelings of security, and their capacity to love.
For theological schools, therefore, to concentrate on the teaching
of a technique of counseling to seminarians would seem to be less
than beneficial to their students and future counselees of their
priests. Seminary faculty who are highly trained in a particular
counseling orientation would seem not to be necessary. What would
seem to be pointed up by this research is a greater concentration
on the creation of a climate for emotional as well as intellectual
growth of the seminarian as of greater importance and value.
Whether a man is an effective pastor seems to be far more de-
pendent upon how he perceives than upon what he specifically
knows or does.
It would seem that seminaries would do well to provide oppor-
tunities for seminarians to experience relationships which are non-
judgmental, freeing, and deeply personal as a facilitation to be-
coming the kind of person who later seems to be an effective
pastor. It would seem also that the future pastor should become
increasingly familiar with himself, with the structure of his own per-
ceptual world.
The concentration of many contemporary theological educational
programs upon clinical training centering in a study of the psy-
chiatric diagnosis and treatment of the mentally ill may be quite
unhelpful to the seminarian. Such a program may tend to focus
again upon the learning of an extensive body of specialized knowl-
edge somewhat alien to the traditional role of the priest as a help-


ing person. Such clinical training in mental hospitals and exclusively
by psychiatrists may tend to convince the seminarian that the only
way people can be helped is through psychotherapy. It may also
becloud the outlook of the seminarian so that he will see all per-
sonal problems as psychopathological. The present findings would
seem to indicate that the effective pastor is the one who perceives
in a certain way rather than the one who possesses a corpus of
professional knowledge, psychiatric or theological.
This is not to deny the value to the pastor of knowledge which
will enable him to recognize the pathological nature of certain be-
haviors in his counselees and make the proper referral to a psy-
chiatrist. But sometimes the net effect of specialized knowledge has
been to alienate the possessor from the remaining population. The
good pastor, however, is actively involved and identified with his
counselees, not for the purpose of directing or controlling them in
the right way, but in order that the pastor may help each to be
free to grow and develop in his own unique way.



by John Frederick Dickman

The1 American Nurses' Foundation states that nurses must accept
the responsibility of meeting psychological needs of the patient
since these needs are a major influence in effective treatment.2 As-
suming that the nurse who cares for the patient as a living, feeling
person is more effective than the nurse who primarily conceives of
the patient as a physiological organism on which to perform pre-
scribed tasks, how may nursing schools select and train student
nurses capable of relating helpfully with patients? Data on whether
unique personality features characterize the person-centered nurse
would help to answer this question. This research was an attempt
to throw some light on the matter by examining some personality
dimensions of individuals making up two groups of student nurses:
a group judged predominantly person-oriented, and a group judged
predominantly task-oriented in their professional work.
Generally speaking, research into the relations of various types
of personality characteristics with success in nursing has produced
equivocal results. Some researches report small positive correla-
tions, but the preponderance of studies have shown no significant
relationships.3 In view of this failure to relate nursing success to
particular aptitudes, intelligence levels, or personality traits, the
1. Dickman, J. F. The perceptual organization of person-oriented versus
task-oriented student nurses. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of
Florida, 1967.
2. Whiting, J. S., et al. The nurse-patient relationship and the healing
process. A Progress Report to the American Nurses' Foundation, June, 1955,
to December, 1957. 1958, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Veterans Administration
3. Hill, Taylor, & Stacy. Is there a correlation between attrition in nursing
schools and the job turnover in professional nursing. Nursing Outlook,
September, 1964, 11, 666-669. Lentz, E. M., & Michaels, R. G. Personality
contrasts among medical and surgical nurses. Nursing Research, 1965, 14(1),

present research sought to determine whether perceptual charac-
teristics would be more successful.
The decision to investigate possible differences in perceptual
variables between persons employing a person-oriented as opposed
to a task-oriented type of nurse-patient relationship was influenced
by insights from studies on the helping relationship discussed or
reported earlier in this monograph. These studies have seemed to
suggest that there are distinct similarities in helping relationships
and that the helper's own attitudes and ways of perceiving himself
and others may be far more crucial in fostering growth in the per-
son being helped than are the particular technical procedures car-
ried out by the helper. Believing that the nurse-patient relationship,
when person-oriented rather than task-oriented, falls within the
category of helping relationships as defined by these researchers,
it appeared that a study of perceptual characteristics of person-
oriented versus task-oriented nurses might be more fruitful than
the traditional investigations of possible trait differences between
groups have proven to be.
The perceptual variables investigated in this study were:
1. Positive view of self or positive self concept defined as general
overall basic regard for the self and a notion of worth as a person.
It is a fact of "being" alone and not "doing" that determines the
individual's positive concept of self. Generally a person with a
positive self-regard does "do" and "accomplish" but these are by-
products of his more basic existence as a person of value.
2. Identified with others defined as feeling a part of the human
race sharing all the problems, joys, and temptations of other human
beings. This variable is the opposite to regard of self as different
from or alienated from others.
3. Perceiving others as able defined as seeing another person as
having the capacity to deal with his problems and believing he can
find adequate solutions to his problems. This variable is the opposite
of solving the other's problems for him and assuming control of his
The primary hypotheses of the study were that person-oriented
student nurses would: (1) perceive themselves more positively
than do task-oriented student nurses, (2) would perceive them-
selves as more identified with others than do task-oriented student
nurses, and (3) would perceive others as more able than do task-
oriented student nurses.

The study further tested three sub-hypotheses concerning rela-
tionships between the three perceptual variables under investiga-
tion and three behavioral characteristics of the subjects. This was
accomplished by investigating the relationship between each of the
primary perceptual dimensions and the behavioral dimensions of
(1) openness to experience, (2) self acceptance, and (3) sensitivity
to the feelings of others (empathy). It was theorized (a) that a
person who perceives his self in positive ways also will be more
open to his experience, self accepting, and sensitive to the feelings
of others. Likewise it was hypothesized (b) that a person who can
sense himself as identified with others will be characterized by the
same behavioral traits, and (c) that one who perceives others as
able rather than unable will be more open, self accepting, and
Definitions for the behavioral variables were:
1. Openness to experience defined as ability to assimilate ac-
curately all perceptions of self, others, and the world with a
minimum of distortion.
2. Self acceptance permits a person to acknowledge his basic
humanness and remain content with this state. The self-accept-
ing person can admit to failure and human mistakes because
he is human. He does not need to be a superhuman because
he is content to be human. He can live with what is and
therefore experience the present while anticipating the future
with joy.
3. Sensitivity defined as the empathic ability to see the world
from the point of view of the related other. The sensitive per-
son tries to place himself in the frame of reference of others
and is generally acutely sensitive to the emotional world of

The student nurse groups were selected from the sixty students
enrolled in the junior (second-year) and senior (third-year) classes
of the Gordon Keller School of Nursing, Tampa, Florida. Gordon
Keller is a three-year city-owned nursing school leading to certi-
fication as a registered nurse. It is fully accredited by the National
Leagues of Nursing and is affiliated with a large (800-bed) metro-
politan hospital (Tampa General). Primary responsibility for the

education of these student nurses lies with the staff of the nursing
school. Duties of the instructors include active classroom instruction
and floor supervision of the students. Thus, instructors have exten-
sive opportunity to view students not only in the classroom but in
interaction with patients. Among the ten instructors were four who
had been with the training staff for at least two years and who had
both taught and supervised each person among the junior and senior
students. These four instructors were used to distinguish the person-
oriented and task-oriented groups of nurses for the study.
First, they were given an intensive training period by the re-
searcher devoted to defining the task-oriented versus the person-
oriented approach to nurse-patient relationships so as to insure
that the instructors would agree on the meaning of the terms. Afteb
they had reached a consensus on scoring these definitions each in-
structor rated each of the sixty second- and third-year students on a
five point scale of approach to nursing care from task-oriented (low
score) to person-oriented (high score). Thus, each student nurse
had four independent ratings. Ratings were summed yielding a
single score for each subject. From these scores the experimenter
selected the twenty-three student nurses with the highest scores to
comprise the person-oriented subject group and the seventeen stu-
dent nurses with the lowest scores to comprise the task-oriented
subject group. Although not statistically matched on these variables,
students in the two groups were observed to be comparable in
age (median age, twenty years; range, nineteen to twenty-seven
years), general sociological background, and relative intelligence.
Mean rating score for the task-oriented group was 9.6. Mean rating
score for the person-oriented group was 16.5. The difference in
these means is significant beyond the .001 level. Instructor agree-
ment in rating was very high although no formal inter-instructor re-
liability coefficient was obtained.


Measurements of perceptual and behavioral characteristics of all
subjects were obtained by use of judges from a battery of three
projective instruments.
Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) Cards.-Responses were ob-
tained to three cards of the TAT, 13M, 3BM, and 4. Cards were pre-
sented by the group method of projection on a screen while sub-

jects responded in writing according to the standard Murray in-
Critical Incident.-This technique required the subject to de-
scribe in writing the most significant experience she had had in
nursing to date indicating what the incident was, what happened,
and why this was significant.
Structured Incidents.-Three structured incidents were presented
to each subject in written form as follows:
1. If I were an unwed mother what would I do and how would
I feel? What response could I expect from important people
like friends, parents, and hospital personnel?
2. If I were assigned to a busy pediatric ward on which an
,A eight-year-old girl was terminally ill of leukemia, what
would I do and how would I feel? In what ways would I
try to deal with the child's parents or would I at all?
3. What would be the best way to deal with a cranky, de-
manding old man who had been told he is soon to die of lung
cancer after long years of smoking two packs of cigarettes
a day?
Responses to TAT cards, Critical Incident, and Structured Inci-
dents were obtained during a group meeting of the junior and
senior nursing classes at which only the researcher was present.
Anonymity of subjects was secured by use of a coding system so
that subjects did not have to sign their names to their protocols.
Although the sixty members of the classes responded to the battery
of test instruments only the data obtained from the forty students
comprising the subject groups of this study were analyzed.
Written protocols were typed and coded so that no judge was
aware of the subject group to which a nurse had been assigned.
Copies of the protocols were given to three judges for independent
ratings on the perceptual and behavioral variables. All judges hold
doctorates and are currently engaged in clinical and counseling
work. In addition, each has had much experience in analyzing per-
ceptual data gained from projective techniques. Judges were asked
to rate each subject's protocol on a seven point scale for each of the
six variables. During a training period with the researcher, judges
came to agreement on definitions of the dimensions to be measured.
Judges were requested to make ratings on a single one of the six
variables at a time. Order of reading of the forty protocols was
varied for each of the six readings and each judge followed a

different order of variables in making the ratings. Judges were re-
quired to space their task over a two-week period.
Three months after the original rating each judge rerated the
same protocols on a single variable with each judge rerating on a
different variable. The rerating provided data on intra-judge reli-
ability. Results of rerating showed that each judge varied, on the
average, less than one rating point from one rating to the other.
Inter-judge reliability was estimated by an analysis of variance
technique. By this procedure a coefficient of correlation was ob-
tained between the total rating on the six dimensions by one judge
and the total rating by the other judges. The obtained coefficient
was r==.72, indicating a high degree of agreement among the

To test the hypotheses of significant differences between the two
subject groups on the perceptual variables, estimates of the degree
of relationship were computed by means of biserial correlations.
Tests of significance by the 'TZ" score method were computed. In
each case the biserial r=-.00. Therefore, the data indicated no sig-
nificant relationships between person-orientation and positive view
of self identification with others or perceiving others as able. Thus,
none of the primary hypotheses of the study was upheld.
Sub-hypotheses were tested by correlating (Pearson Product
Moment) each of the three perceptual dimensions with each of the
behavioral dimensions. The three judges' ratings on each dimension
were summed, providing a total score on each dimension for each
of the forty cases. Since these data were on a continuous scale, and
each jvdge's score approximated a normal curve, use of the Pearson
Product-Moment correlation method was justified. Results of these
correlations are reported in Table 7.
The data of Table 7 indicate high positive relationships between
the perceptual and behavioral variables. The student nurses who
perceived themselves positively also tended to be open to their
experience, self-accepting, and sensitive to the feelings of others.
Conversely, student nurses who perceived themselves negatively
were less open to their experience, less self-accepting, and less em-
pathic in regard to the feelings of others. These same conclusions
are also valid with respect to the dimensions of "Identification with
Others" and "Perceives Others as Able."

In Table 7 the relationship found to exist between student nurses
who are rated identified with others and self-accepting is repre-
sented by a correlation coefficient of r=--.89. This correlation coeffi-
cient is exceptionally high but consistent with previous research of
Stock,4 Sheerer,5 Fey,6 and Suinn,7 demonstrating an important rela-
tionship between self-acceptance and acceptance of others.
Findings recorded in Table 7 also suggest other relationships be-
tween dimensions of perceiving and dimensions of behaving.

Behavioral dimensions
Perceptual dimensions Open to experience Self-acceptance Empathic
Positive view of self .69b .78a .71b
Identification with others .58a .89e .74b
Perceives others as able .61a .69b .74b
a. Significant beyond the .001 level.
b. Significant beyond the .0005 level.
c. Significant beyond the .0001 level.

They indicate, for example, that persons who perceive themselves
positively will demonstrate behavioral characteristics of openness,
self-acceptance, and sensitivity to the feelings of others. These data
add support to Combs' theory that behavior is a function of percep-
tion8 and, further, that certain kinds of perception lead to certain
predictable kinds of behavior.

4. Stock, D. An investigation into the interrelations between the self
concept and feelings directed toward other persons and groups. Journal of
Consulting Psychology, 1949, 13(3), 176-180.
5. Sheerer, E. T. An analysis of the relationship between acceptance and
respect for self and acceptance of and respect for others in ten counseling
cases. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 1949, 13(3), 169-175.
6. Fey, W. F. Acceptance by others and its relation to acceptance of
self and others: A re-evaluation. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 1955, 50,
7. Suinn, R. M. The relationship between self acceptance and acceptance
of others: A learning theory analysis. Dissertation Abstracts, 1960, 20, 3846-
8. Combs, A. W., & Snygg, D. Individual behavior. New York: Harper
and Brothers, 1959.



The nonsignificant relationship obtained in this research between
person-orientation and the perceptual variables differed markedly
from the studies reported earlier in this monograph distinguishing
between effective and ineffective helpers in other professions. The
author, therefore, carried out a second study, this time dividing the
student nurses with respect to effectiveness as nurses instead of
person- or task-orientation.
To obtain ratings of the effectiveness of the subjects, the author
met with the instructors who had originally rated subjects on the
person-oriented to task-oriented dimension. This meeting took place
approximately one month after the original ratings. Each instructor
was given a list of the forty students in alphabetical order. They
were not told which students had been judged earlier as task- or
person-oriented. The instructors now selected the twenty-three most
effective nursing students by a consensus procedure. This involved
a pretense by instructors that they were the hiring committee for
the hospital and the floor supervisors. From the list of forty stu-
dents they could hire twenty-three nurses only. They were re-
minded that they would not only hire these nurses but that they
would work with them. They ranked the student nurses from one to
twenty-three by arriving at consensus as to whom they would hire
first, second, etc., up to the twenty-third student to be hired. It was
then proposed that the judges complete the same procedure on the
remaining seventeen students. They did so, producing as an end
product ranks on all cases from 1 to 40. Students ranked high were
assumed to be those most effective and those ranked low were as-
sumed to be least effective.
The ratings for the perceptual variables obtained in the first ex-
periment were then placed in rank order and compared with the
effectiveness ratings by means of the standard formula for rho.
None of the rho's obtained was significant at the .05 level of confi-
dence. The rho (.27) obtained between effectiveness and identifi-
cation with others was significant at the .10 level of confidence.
Thus, no significant relationship between professional effectiveness
and the three perceptual variables was found although there was a
tendency toward a slight positive relationship between effectiveness
and identification with others. The results of both studies thus show
no significant relationship between perceptual organization and

either effectiveness as nurses or person orientation. These findings
are clearly out of line with the previous studies reported in this
monograph. The implications of this disparity are difficult to assess.
Among the reasons we have considered are the following.
1. Nursing is a helping profession dependent upon a different set
of perceptual variables than teaching, counseling, or pastoral care.
This is a possibility. We are loath to accept it, however, at this
stage and prefer to await further research evidence before accept-
ing that conclusion.
2. Our experimental techniques or our judging procedures were
faulty. This may be the problem, but a painstaking review of our
processes has provided no satisfactory answers.
3. It may be that a person who appears to concentrate on techno-
logical tasks rather than on human relationships may be just as
psychologically healthy as one who seems more involved with
human relations. For example, a scientist, more or less a recluse in
a laboratory but working constantly to find a cure for a disease,
may perceive himself deeply identified with other people, see
others as able, and feel very positively about himself. In this re-
search it appears that technological proficiency in a chosen field
and the perceptual dimensions which have been studied seem not
to be incompatible.
4. Perhaps students who enter nursing in the first place already
possess a large measure of the kinds of perceptual organization we
have investigated here. In addition, the further selection imposed
by three years of exposure to a nursing staff valuing such qualities
may have resulted in a distribution so skewed toward one end of
the continuum as to make effective discrimination most unlikely.
Further research is clearly required to investigate these questions
more fully.
The data obtained in this study show a clear relationship be-
tween perceptual organization and behavioral characteristics and
thus lend support to the general hypothesis that perception is re-
lated to behavior. The exceptionally high relationship between stu-
dent nurses who perceive themselves identified with others and
student nurses who tend to accept themselves also provides further
validity to the premise of Sheerer,9 Fey,10 and Suinn" that self-
accepting people tend to be more accepting of others.
9. Sheerer, op. cit. 10. Fey, op. cit.
11. Suinn, op. cit.


by Richard H. Usher

This study was designed to explore the perceptual characteristics
of selected college professors.' College professors are notoriously
independent people and studies on the effectiveness of college
teachers are extremely rare in the literature. Few institutions en-
gage in any sort of systematic appraisals of their faculties. In the
College of Education at the University of Florida, however, a
comprehensive procedure for the rating of faculty members has
been in operation for more than fifteen years. These unique data
were made available to the experimenter by the administration of
the college and members of the faculty for purposes of this investi-
The major hypothesis of this research is that there is a significant
positive relationship between faculty members' ways of perceiving
and their ratings on various criteria of faculty effectiveness. The
experimenter restated twelve of the original dimensions, prepared
by the seminar described in Chapter 2, as hypotheses for this re-
search. Accordingly, it was predicted that college faculty rated most
effective would perceive:
A. Other people as:
1. more able than unable
2. more worthy than unworthy
3. more dependable than undependable
4. more internally motivated than externally molded
B. Themselves as:
1. more with people than apart from people
2. more wanted than unwanted
1. This report has been abstracted by Arthur W. Combs for purposes of
this monograph from the original dissertation written by Dr. Usher. Proper
reference to the original is: Usher, R. H. The relationship of perceptions of
self, others and the helping task to certain measures of college faculty ef-
fectiveness. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Florida, 1966.


3. more worthy than unworthy
4. more able than unable
C. Their task in terms of:
1. freeing rather than controlling
2. larger rather than smaller meanings
3. personal meanings rather than facts- or events-oriented
4. accepting rather than not accepting


Within the University of Florida, College of Education, an un-
usual opportunity for research on faculty effectiveness was afforded.
A comprehensive procedure for evaluation of faculty members
had been in use for a number of years. These evaluations were ob-
tained on each professor with respect to three phases of his work:
(1) teaching, counseling, and ability to work with colleagues, (2)
research and publications, and (3) participation in professional ac-
tivities. Data concerning these matters were obtained every two
years from the professor himself, from his students, department
head, deans, and a committee of senior faculty peers. These data
were then formulated into a series of ratings by the dean's office.
Fifty-five members of the faculty met the criteria for acceptance
in the study; namely, a minimum rank of assistant professor and
membership on the faculty at least two years. Of these, 27 per cent
were unavailable for one reason or another and 5 per cent refused
to be involved, leaving twenty-six subjects for the study. For each
of these professors six ratings were obtained as follows.
Student Rating (sR).-The student rating form used in the col-
lege consisted of twelve multiple choice items covering various as-
pects of the professor's teaching. Only the first question from this
form was used in this research. This question asked, "How would
you rate your instructor in general teaching ability?" The five pos-
sible answers and points scored for each were: an outstanding and
stimulating instructor, 5; a very good instructor, 4; a good instructor,
3; an adequate but not stimulating instructor, 2; a poor and in-
adequate instructor, 1.
The mean SR score for each teacher was found by summing the
numerical values for each student's rating and then dividing by the
number of students. Some teachers had been evaluated by only one
class, other teachers by several classes. For one evaluation, the

mean score was that for only the one class. For several evaluations,
the mean score was the mean of all student ratings for that
Department Head Rating (DH).-Every two years the depart-
ment heads evaluated each faculty member in their department
on teaching, counseling, and working with colleagues. Some depart-
ment heads took into account the student ratings when making this
evaluation; others did not. These evaluations were turned in to the
dean of the college who sorted them into three groups scored as
follows: superior, 9 points; middle, 6 points; least effective, 3
Research and Publications (rP).-This evaluation made by the
dean rated a faculty member according to the number and quality
of publications he had. It ranged from a score of zero for a minimal
amount to a score of four for the greatest amount.
Professional Activities (PA).-In this category staff members
were rated according to the number of offices held in professional
organizations and frequency of speaking engagements or program
participation. The range was from 0 to 3.
Adjusted Total (AT).-The dean and selected senior faculty
members reviewed the initial four ratings on each professor then
added or subtracted points where it appeared ratings were unjust to
the staff member in question. The total of these adjustments could
range from -3 to + 3.
General Effectiveness Rating (GE).-The sR, DH, RP, and PA raw
scores were changed into standard scores. Each standard score was
then multiplied by an empirically derived weight for that score to
achieve comparability. Then the four weighted scores were
summed into a General Effectiveness rating.


Three judges, including the writer, were given training in the
"self as instrument" technique of inferring perceptual characteristics
from samples of classroom behavior. Judges made repeated obser-
vations of teachers in the classroom and were encouraged to utilize
the full resources of their experience and sensitivity in making in-
ferential ratings. It was stressed that the judges were to make in-
ferences based on how it must seem from the subject's rather than
the observer's point of view.

Judges started their training by careful discussion of each of the
perceptual hypotheses, making sure there was general agreement
as to the nature of the perceptual characteristic defined on the
score sheet. Next, a series of practice observations were made on
the faculty of the P. K. Yonge Laboratory School at the University
of Florida. A percentage of agreement figure was tabulated by
computing the inferences on which an observer agreed with the
other two observers divided by the possible number of agreements.
Agreement was defined as three judges not varying more than one
point on the ratings for each dimension. Acceptable levels of agree-
ment for the research were defined as agreement on at least 80 per
cent of the items. The training session data revealed 83 per cent
agreement after eighteen hours of practice. During the actual study
the reliability of perceptual inferences was rechecked periodically
by computing per cent of agreement between the writer and each
of the other judges.
Each faculty subject for this study had indicated a class which
observers could visit for two different one-hour periods. The writer
and one other judge observed each faculty subject in the study for
two different one-hour periods. Following each observation the
writer and the other judge immediately and independently re-
corded perceptual inferences on a specially prepared score sheet.
The perceptual score sheet contained the twelve perceptual con-
tinua of the investigation. Item one is reproduced to show how
these appeared.
A. The subject's perception of other people and their behavior
1. Able-Unable
The subject sees others as having the capacities necessary to deal
with their own problems successfully. He perceives others as
basically able to make their own decisions and deal with their
own crises effectively.
The subject sees others as being essentially unable to meet the
crises in their lives and make their own decisions. His perceptions
of the abilities of others are doubtful in nature.
Able 12 3 4 5 6 7 Unable
Judges recorded their inferences by circling the appropriate num-
ber and also recording it in the blank to the right. A similar set of
definitions for the other eleven hypothetical continue followed with
a seven point scale for each. To reduce halo effect the twelve


hypotheses were divided into two forms with six hypotheses on
each of the two half-forms. When observing the first hour, the
writer would fill out one of the half-forms, the other judge would
fill out the second half-form. In the second observation period, the
forms used were reversed. Though observing twice, each observer
filled out only one complete score sheet for the twelve hypotheses.
Sixteen perceptual scores were computed for each subject.
Twelve were obtained from each of the twelve hypotheses. Four
additional scores were obtained as follows: the four scores under the
heading "Subject's Perception of Other People," were summed for a
sub-total score. This was also done for the four scores under "Per-
ception of Self" and the four ratings under "Perception of the Task."
Finally, all twelve ratings were combined for a total score. Thus,
there were twelve single scores, three sub-total scores, and one
total score. To examine the relationship between the perceptual
scores and effectiveness ratings, Pearson Product-Moment correla-
tions were computed between the sixteen perceptual scores and the
six faculty rating scores. Intercorrelations for perceptual scores and
effectiveness scores were also computed.


Significant findings from this study are as follows.
1. The characteristic ways in which these college faculty per-
ceive themselves, other people, and their tasks are highly inter-
related. From an examination of Table 8 it can be seen that in-
tercorrelations of ratings on the twelve perceptual hypotheses are
generally high and positive. This is consistent with perceptual self-
concept theory which holds that an individual's behavior is at any
moment the function of a highly interrelated, interactive field of
personal perceptions of which the self-concept is the basic referent.
The consistency of this correlation also suggests that a high degree
of overlap may exist among these factors. Combs and Soper2 have
suggested in another study that significant and discreet perceptual
characteristics may be fewer in number than we have supposed.
They recommend the use of factor analysis techniques to explore
this question in greater detail.
2. Combs, A. W., & Soper, D. W. The relationship of child perceptions
to achievement and behavior in the early school years. Cooperative Research
Project No. 814, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 1963.


1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4

Perceives others
Worthy .84
Dependable .85
Internally .88

Perceives self
With people .81
Wanted .80
Worthy .70
Able .76

Helping task


.90 .86



.81 .86



.83 .84
.74 .77 .81
.68 .79 .82


.85 .84 .71 .60 .71
.82 .84 .74 .66 .81 .89
.80 .84 .70 .62 .68 .85
.84 .72 .59 .47 .56 .89

.78 .75

2. Intercorrelation of ratings on the six measures of faculty ef-
fectiveness shown in Table 9 suggests that two very different as-
pects of faculty effectiveness are involved in the criteria used for
faculty ratings in the college.
a) One aspect of effectiveness is represented by the student
ratings (SR) and deals primarily with classroom teaching compe-
b) Another aspect of effectiveness is suggested by ratings on
research and publications (RP) and professional activities (PA).
c) Department head ratings (DH) seem to be a compromise
score somewhere between a and b.


Effectiveness Faculty effectiveness scores
measure SR DH RP PA AT GE
Student ratings
Department head ratings .48a
Research and publication .23 .54b
Professional activities -.03 .38 .72b
Dean's adjusted total .44a .87b .81b .72b
Total general effectiveness .69b .86b .77b .56b .94b
a. Significant at 5 per cent level.
b. Significant at 1 per cent level.
These findings suggest that research, publications, convention
attendance, consultant work, travel, etc., are not closely related to
teaching competence, an observation many professors and students
have long suspected. In this study we have accepted as our criteria
of effectiveness items in actual use by this college. These results
suggest, however, that two only slightly related aspects are in-
volved, a. classroom effectiveness, and b. research, writing, and con-
sulting activities. The first of these functions seems much more
closely related to the interpersonal interactions characteristic of the
other helping professions explored in these studies. The second is
much more a matter of objective activity of a much less personal
nature. It would thus appear, if these are valid criteria for judg-
ment, that college teaching is a somewhat different task from the
other helping professions. The helping function seems less central
an aspect of the profession than is true for counseling, public



school teaching, and pastoral activities if the effectiveness ratings
used in this college are accepted as indicators of quality perform-
3. No significant relationships were discovered between faculty
perceptual characteristics and research and publications, depart-
ment head ratings, professional activities, or college dean ratings.
The general hypothesis of the study that effectiveness of college

Perceptual variables Correlations with SR

Perceives others .50a
Able-unable .56a
Worthy-unworthy .43b
Dependable-undependable .39b
Internally motivated-externally molded .49b
Perceives self .39b
With people-apart from people .36
Wanted-unwanted .44b
Worthy-unworthy .27
Able-unable .33
Perceives helping task .28
Freeing-controlling .32
Larger-smaller .29
Meaning oriented-facts, events oriented .14
Accepting-not accepting .32
Total perceptual rating .40b

a. Significant at the 1 per cent level.
b. Significant at the 5 per cent level.

teachers is related to certain perceptual characteristics is not borne
out, at least when effectiveness is determined by these factors.
4. Significant relationships were found between total perceptual
ratings for faculty members and general effectiveness as judged by
students. These correlations are shown in Table 10. The general
hypothesis of the study that certain perceptual characteristics are
related to the effectiveness of college teachers is thus borne out
when effectiveness is determined from student ratings.
It will also be noted from Table 10 that, despite the appearance

of a significant difference in the total rating, not all of the per-
ceptual characteristics reach significant levels. In fact, none of the
perceptual factors relating to the professor's perceptions of his task
reach sufficient levels to be considered significant and only one in
the self-perception area achieves significance.
5. Faculty members who perceive other people as basically able,
worthy, dependable, and internally motivated are rated by students
as more effective in overall teaching ability (Table 10). All four
of the "Perceptions of Others" categories show significant relation-
ships to student ratings of their professors.
6. The summed scores of all the items pertaining to "Perceptions
of Self" show a significant correlation with student ratings in Table
10. Only one of the individual items in the category, "Sees Self as
Wanted," however, achieves a significant level.
It may be that the perceptual organization of professors is more
pertinent to the "human" and personal aspects of effectiveness in
professional work than to the less personal aspects of research,
publication, and professional activity. The present research is the
first one in this series of studies to use indications of professional
effectiveness not directly involved in human relationships. Further
research is needed to determine what aspects of a person's percep-
tual organization may be of primary importance in determining
success in objective pursuits like writing and research.
Previous researches which demonstrated a significant relationship
between perceptual organization and effectiveness were performed
with a sample selected on a "good"-"poor" basis, whereas the
present study had a faculty sample that was strictly voluntary and
whose spread on the effectiveness-ineffectiveness continuum was
really an unknown quantity. In the present study, there was no at-
tempt to create best-worst groupings of faculty members or to use
only those faculty who were unequivocally one or the other on all
It may be that college teaching is simply a different breed of cat.
Previous theoretical evidence which suggests that effective profes-
sionals are characterized by certain perceptions they hold about the
nature of the helping task is only partly supported by the results
of this research. The college teacher's helping task may be some-
what different from other helping professions studied. Much more
research is needed before more definite conclusions can be stated.
Previous research on good teaching has repeatedly shown that

correlation of methods, behaviors, etc., with effectiveness is low.
Ellena et al., for example, conclude that no objective measure
clearly indicates "goodness" in teaching.3 The variability of results
in the present research may be due to the fact that the effectiveness
measures used are largely objective. This also squares with the fact
that positive results were found with the more subjective student
ratings of general overall effectiveness in the classroom and not with
objective measures of research and publication. It may be also that
there is a need to distinguish between teachers of primarily factual
and content-centered disciplines and teachers who are expected to
produce more personal changes in their students.
3. Ellena, W. J., Stevenson, M., & Webb, H. V. Who's a good teacher?
Washington, D.C.: American Association of School Administrators, N.E.A.,


Part Three
An Interpretation


What can we conclude from this series of studies and what
directions do they suggest for further research? While these
studies leave many questions unanswered and can hardly be re-
garded as definitive, they nevertheless provide additional support
for basic concepts in perceptual theory, shed new light on the
nature of the helping professions, and point the way to promising
hypotheses for further research.


The basic premise of perceptual psychology is that behavior is
a function of the perceptual field of the beaver at the instant
of action. Most research in human behavior has traditionally been
carried on from an external point of view. That is to say, under-
standing of behavior has been sought from the frame of reference
of the outside observer. The thesis of perceptual psychology, on
the other hand, is that behavior can also be understood (and some-
times more effectively) when examined from the standpoint, not of
the outsider, but of the behaver himself. The results of these
studies tend to corroborate that position. They do more. Attempts
to distinguish the behavior of professional workers in terms of ob-
jective criteria like knowledge possessed, or methods used, or be-
havior exhibited have generally been disappointing in the past.
Several of the studies reported here, however, have demonstrated
that significant relationships do, indeed, exist between perception
and behavior. Even more, they suggest that a perceptual approach
to the study of professional workers may provide us with more use-
ful understanding of these persons than has heretofore been possi-
ble. Thus, these studies not only support the perceptual hypothesis,
but suggest that this approach may be more fruitful in advancing
our efforts to understand the helping professions. They seem to
place in our hands a new and promising tool for further research.
A major difficulty in perceptual psychology is the problem of
measurement. Measurement in more orthodox approaches to psy-
chology can be a pretty straightforward matter of recording obser-
vations or counting responses. The study of perception is more

difficult since perceptions lie inside people and are not open to
direct observation. Because perception can only be approached
(at least, at present) by Lsome form of inference, additional pr-b-
lems of reliability __ asurement are posed for the researcher
using this frame of reference. For some psychologists these prob-
lems have seemed so difficult that they have raised serious ques-
tions of whether such procedures can be dignified by the term
"research" at all. The question requires an answer. The position of
the perceptuil-pychologist is that techniques of inference can,
indeed, provide reliable aa i-Tse6archer approaches the
jroblenr-ofmeasrnen withe same discip ne, care, and rigor
denandeddof-science another field of expl rafio..
In these studies inferencesfbrmnba perceptual organization of
professional workers have been obtained from a wide variety of
original sources including observations, interviews, "critical inci-
dents," responses to problem situations, and stories told by the sub-
ject. Inferences were obtained by using the observer himself as an
instrument of measurement. Observers also demonstrated in these
studies that such inferences could be made with highly acceptable
degrees of reliability and that such data could be effectively used
for the exploration of an important aspect of human behavior.


The Common Origins of the Helping Professions
The original impetus for these studies grew out of a suspicion
that, while the various forms of the helping professions differ with
respect to their purposes, clientele, and techniques, nevertheless,
they are basically alike in the psychology through which they
operate. It seemed to us that the crux of the problem of "helping"
lay not in some mysterious special technique. Rather the various
helping professions seem really to be expressions of a kind of basic
"good" human interrelationship. That is to say, these professions ap-
pear to represent the concentration and crystallization of the best
we know about human interrelationships for the sake of the person
or persons to be helped. The helping professions seem to us not
different fom life experience but selected from human experience.
Within the limited sample represented by these studies, this thesis
is given some support.

s'Ideally, the case for this observation would certainly be stronger
had our studies investigated identical criteria with identical tech-
niques in each of the professions we examined. Unfortunately, that
4&.i4indsight which suggests the need for further research, to be
sure, but does us little good now. From the data we do have, how-
ever, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the perceptual or-
ganization of persons who are effective helpers, at least for coun-
selors, elementary teachers, Episcopal priests, and student nurses,
have a number of common kinds of perceptions. Our original
hunches seem to be supported and we are encouraged to continue
exploring in these directions.

The Importance of Perceptual Organization
as a Distinguishing Characteristic
Our early theoretical consideration of these matters led us to the
belief that the widespread failure of research efforts to distinguish
between effective and ineffective workers in the helping professions
was largely due to concentration on symptoms rather than causes.
Observed behavior is the end of a process, an expression of it. As
such, many diverse behaviors may occur as expressions of a single
aspect of individual beliefs or perceptions. Conversely, different
perceptual experiences can result in highly similar kinds of be-
havior. To distinguish clearly between effective and ineffective
workers in the helping professions it seemed to us required penetra-
tion to the causes of behavior, a hypothesis supported by the ob-
servation of other workers that persons are often helped by highly
diverse behaviors if the intent of the helper is positive. The ac-
curacy of this reasoning is certainly given support by the findings
of these studies. Our studies with elementary teachers, counselors,
and Episcopal priests, especially, seem to lend credence to the im-
portance of the perceptual variable in distinguishing between ef-
fective and ineffective helpers. The results for our college teachers,
when effectiveness is judged by students, at least, also seem to cor-
roborate our hypotheses. The findings of our study with student
nurses, however, while not denying our original hypothesis, cer-
tainly did not corroborate it.




Three of our studies showing significant differences between ef-
fective and ineffective professional workers investigated the frame
of reference in which the helper approached his task (Table 11).
All these investigated the people-things dichotomy, two examined
the internal-external approach dimension, and one further ex-
amined the perceptual-facts and the immediate-historical dichoto-
mies as well. In view of the fact that the helping professions are
designed to help people, it is not surprising to find that workers

Category Counselors Teachers Priests
People-things Sa S S
Internal-external S S NM
Perceptual-facts NMb S NM
Immediate-historical NM S NM
a. S=Significant difference.
b. NM=not measured.

who tend to be people-oriented are likely to be more effective.
The remaining items explored in this category seem to represent a
characteristic internal or perceptual approach which effective
helpers take toward their students, clients, or parishioners. Such a
characteristic frame of reference in the helper would presumably
cause him to behave in ways that others would describe as sensitive
or empathic, both qualities often described as desirable in coun-
selors, teachers, pastors, and nurses.


It is apparent that effective helpers in all four of the professions
indicated in Table 12 are characterized by a generally positive view
of their subjects and a belief in the capacity of the human or-
ganism to save itself. It makes a great deal of difference whether
helpers perceive their clients as able or unable. If a counselor,
teacher, or priest does not regard his clients as able he can hardly
permit them, let them, or trust them to act on their own; to do so
would be a violation of responsibility. Apparently, effective helpers


tend to see the persons they work with in essentially positive ways
as dependable, friendly, and worthy people. This hardly seems like
a startling revelation. Indeed, it sounds like little more than good
common sense. It is necessary to remind ourselves, however, that
these are not factors which helpers say about themselves, but char-
acteristic ways of perceiving inferred from their behavior. Effective
beavers do not simply verbally ascribe to these qualities; they
behave in terms of them.

Category Counselors Teachers Priests Professorsa
Able-unable Sb S S S
Dependable-undependable S S NM S
Friendly-unfriendly S S NM NM
Worthy-unworthy S S NM S
Internally motivated-not NMc S NM S
Helpful-hindering NM S NM NM
a. Effectiveness determined from student ratings only.
b. S=Significant difference.
c. NM=Not measured.


Two characteristics stand out in an examination of Table 13. In
the first place effective helpers appear to see themselves as one with
mankind, as sharing a common fate. Poor helpers, on the other

Category Counselors Teachers Priests Professorsa
Identified-unidentified Sb S S NSd
Enough-not enough S S NM NS
Dependable-undependable NMc S NM NM
Worthy-unworthy NM S NM NS
Wanted-unwanted NM S NM S
a. Effectiveness determined from student ratings only.
b. S=Significant difference.
c. NM=Not measured.
d. NS=Not significant.


hand, have a tendency to see themselves as apart from others, as
different from them. If the success of helping professions depends
upon relationships established between helpers and helpees, as
modern theory would seem to suggest, it is easy to see why this
characteristic would distinguish between good helpers and poor
ones. It is difficult to establish effective relationships with a helper
unwilling to get involved.
A second major characteristic of a good helper seems to be the
existence of an essentially positive view of self. Such views of self

Category Counselors Teachers Priests
Self revealing--self concealing Sa S NM
Freeing-controlling S S S
Altruistic-narcissistic S NM NM
Larger-smaller S S NM
Involved--uninvolved NMb S S
Process-goals NM S NM
a. S=Significant difference.
b. NM=Not measured.

seem to be characteristic also of self-actualizing personalities as re-
ported in the -literature. A positive view of self provides the kind of
internal security which makes it possible for persons who possess
such views of self to behave with much more assurance, dignity,
and straightforwardness. With a firm base of operations to work
from such persons can be much more daring and creative in respect
to their approach to the world and more able to give of themselves
to others as well.


Effective helpers apparently tend to see their tasks more as
freeing than controlling (Table 14). Such a finding certainly gives
much support to the growth philosophy underlying most current
counseling approaches and to the student-centered concept of
teaching advocated by many modem educators. The concern of
effective helpers with larger rather than smaller issues also seems to
be consistent with the freeing purpose.


The self-revealing characteristic found in the effective helpers
seems congruent with the identified-unidentified characteristic of
self found in Table 14. Many writers have indicated that self-dis-
closure is closely related to healthy personality and the capacity to
enter into intimate human relationships.

In the original formulation of hypotheses for our studies of the
helping professions our seminar listed seven continue which we
thought might discriminate between effective and ineffective
helpers in connection with the methods they used to carry out their
tasks. None of these hypotheses has yet been subjected to test.
In our earlier experiments this was because the problem was of less
interest to us than hypotheses about the helper's frame of reference,
perceptions of self and others, or perception of purposes. Later, we
postponed further research on this question because changes in our
thinking about the question of methods led us in somewhat differ-
ent directions.
It will be recalled from our earlier discussion that a review of
the literature had shown only very disappointing results with re-
spect to distinguishing between effective and ineffective helpers on
the basis of the methods which they used. In our early thinking
about this matter it seemed to us we might find more clear-cut
differences between effective and ineffective helpers if we looked,
not at the methods they used per se, but rather, at the ways in
which they were perceiving methods. Accordingly, our early semi-
nar listed eleven continue for examination. As a consequence of our
later studies, however, we have come to see the problem as follows.
If the self as instrument concept of effective operation in the help-
ing professions is valid, then the search for "right" methods is
doomed before it begins. Since helpers as persons are unique, the
hope of finding a "common uniqueness," by definition, is a hopeless
search. It occurred to us then that perhaps the question of methods
in the helping professions is not a matter of adopting the "right"
method, but a question of the helper discovering the right method
for him. That is to say, the crucial question is not "what" method,
but the "fit" of the method, its appropriateness to the self of the
helper, to his purposes, his subjects, the situation, and so forth.
We now believe the important distinction between the good and


poor helper with respect to methods is not a matter of his percep-
tions of methods, per se, but the authenticity of whatever methods
he uses. There is already some evidence for this in our findings
that good helpers are self-revealing, involved, and identified.
We suspect a major problem of poor helpers is the fact that their
methods are unauthentic, that is, they tend to be put on, contrived.
As such they can only be utilized so long as the helper keeps his
mind on them. That, of course, is likely to be disastrous on two
counts. In the first place it separates him from his client or student,
and the message conveyed is likely to be that he is not "with it," is
not really interested, or is a phony. Second, it is almost never
possible to maintain attention to the "right" method for very long.
As a consequence the poor helper relapses frequently to what he
believes or his previous experience has taught him, and so the
method he is trying to use fails because of the tenuous, inter-
rupted character of his use of it.
----We are about persuaded the question of the helper's perceptions
concerning methods are of minor significance. Helpers will find the
methods to carry on their tasks effectively if perceptions of self,
others, purposes, and the general frame of reference are con-
gruent with that of effective helpers. The validitof this positi,
-4-course, remains to be investigated. It is our hope ta ters ill
join us in exploring we r-noty-ai ithe*t sru y the key
- .question with respect to methods.


In our studies of the perceptual organization of effective helpers
we have so far demonstrated that at least twenty-one perceptual
characteristics distinguish between good and poor helpers. In our
original seminar we listed forty-three hypotheses for exploration.
There seems to be no doubt that still others could be added to this
list. There is an important question to be answered, however, con-
cerning the number of truly significant variables involved in this
matter. All of us engaged in these researches have the very strong
feeling that there may, in fact, be comparatively few perceptual
criteria related to effective and ineffective operations in the helping
professions. In choosing hypotheses from our original list for in-
vestigation it became quite clear to us that some of these were
duplications. They also seemed to vary considerably in terms of


fundamental importance. Even among some of the perceptual char-
acteristics we investigated in the studies reported here, it is appar-
ent from simple observation that items overlap. In addition, in the
factor analysis of children's perceptions carried out by Combs and
Soper,1 forty-seven of the forty-nine categories under investigation
were reduced to one global factor which these authors called "a
feeling of general adequacy." In order to determine the number of
truly discreet perceptual characteristics involved in the discrimina-
tion of effective and ineffective helpers, we believe a factor analy-
sis study of this matter is called for. Unfortunately, such a study
would require a most expensive design and to this point we have
not been able to find either the time or finances required to prop-
erly carry out such a project. Perhaps, some day, we, or someone
else, may.
Ever since the various forms of the helping professions came into
being the problem of discriminating between effective and inef-
fective workers has been a knotty one. We believe these investiga-
tions have opened some new avenues for understanding of the
matter with broad implications for practical application. To this
point we have been primarily interested in exploring these ques-
tions for their possible implications in the training of effective per-
sons in the helping professions. This has already borne fruit in sug-
gesting new approaches to the professional education of teachers
based upon a perceptual approach to the problem.2 Benton,3 Good-
ing,4 and Dickman5 have touched slightly on the implications of
their studies for the training of priests, teachers, and nurses. These
are matters deserving much more speculation, experiment, and ap-
To this point our researches have been primarily concerned with

1. Combs, A. W., & Soper, D. W. The relationship of child perceptions
to achievement and behavior in the early school years. Cooperative Research
Project No. 814, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 1963.
B 2. Combs, A. W. The professional education of teachers. Boston: Allyn and
Bacon, 1965.
3. Benton, J. A. Perceptual characteristics of Episcopal pastors. Unpub-
lished doctoral dissertation, University of Florida, 1964.
4. Gooding, C. T. An observational analysis of the perceptual organization
of effective teachers. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Florida,
5. Dickman, J. F. The perceptual organization of person-oriented versus
task-oriented student nurses. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University
of Florida, 1967.


exploring the perceptual organization of helpers in order to shed
light on theoretical questions and to suggest areas of innovation for
training more effective helpers in teaching, counseling, nursing,
and pastoral care. The measurement techniques we have employed
in these studies are at this stage still far less refined than we could
wish. In time they will improve and new ones develop as well. If
further studies continue the favorable trends we have seen so far,
it is likely these measurement techniques may also contribute im-
portant new approaches to the selection and evaluation of effective
It is apparent that the studies reported here are little more than
pilot studies. Like any research worthy of the name they raise
far more questions than they have settled. For those of us in-
volved in these investigations they have been exciting and stimu-
lating explorations in what seem to us to be fruitful new directions.
We believe these studies represent but a small and tentative
beginning of research into a most promising new approach to un-i
derstanding the helping professions. What started as a series ofM
hunches in 1957 has now become a conviction th on
close to the right track. If these concepts are not t truth en we
are encouraged by our studies to believe they are v'ryle it. It is
our earnest hope that this presentation may encourage others to
join us on this path to further discovery.



Social Sciences

1. The Whigs of Florida, 1845-1854, by Herbert J.
Doherty, Jr.
2. Austrian Catholics and the Social Question, 1918-
1933, by Alfred Diamant
3. The Siege of St. Augustine in 1702, by Charles
W. Arnade
4. New Light on Early and Medieval Japanese His-
toriography, by John A. Harrison
5. The Swiss Press and Foreign Affairs in World War
II, by Frederick H. Hartmann
6. The American Militia: Decade of Decision, 1789-
1800, by John K. Mahon
7. The Foundation of Jacques Maritain's Political
Philosophy, by Hwa Yol Jung
8. Latin American Population Studies, by T. Lynn
9. Jacksonian Democracy on the Florida Frontier, by
Arthur W. Thompson
10. Holman Versus Hughes: Extension of Australian
Commonwealth Powers, by Conrad Joyner
11. Welfare Economics and Subsidy Programs, by Mil-
ton Z. Kafoglis
12. Tribune of the Slavophiles: Konstantin Aksakov,
by Edward Chmielewski
13. City Managers in Politics: An Analysis of Manager
Tenure and Termination, by Gladys M. Kam-
merer, Charles D. Farris, John M. DeGrove, and
Alfred B. Clubok


Social Sciences

14. Recent Southern Economic Development as Re-
vealed by the Changing Structure of Employ-
ment, by Edgar S. Dunn, Jr.
15. Sea Power and Chilean Independence, by Donald
E. Worcester
16. The Sherman Antitrust Act and Foreign Trade,
by Andre Simmons
17. The Origins of Hamilton's Fiscal Policies, by Don-
ald F. Swanson
18. Criminal Asylum in Anglo-Saxon Law, by Charles
H. Riggs, Jr.
19. Colonia Baron Hirsch, A Jewish Agricultural Colony
in Argentina, by Morton D. Winsberg
20. Time Deposits in Present-Day Commercial Banking,
by Lawrence L. Crum
21. The Eastern Greenland Case in Historical Per-
spective, by Oscar Svarlien
22. Jacksonian Democracy and the Historians, by Al-
fred A. Cave
23. The Rise of the American Chemistry Profession,
1850-1900, by Edward H. Beardsley
24. Aymara Communities and the Bolivian Agrarian Re-
form, by William E. Carter
25. Conservatives in the Progressive Era: The Taft Re-
publicans of 1912, by Norman M. Wilensky
26. The Anglo-Norwegian Fisheries Case of 1951 and
the Changing Law of the Territorial Sea, by
Teruo Kobayashi
27. The Liquidity Structure of Firms and Monetary
Economics, by William J. Frazer, Jr.
28. Russo-Persian Commercial Relations, 1828-1914, by
Marvin L. Entner
29. The Imperial Policy of Sir Robert Borden, by
Harold A. Wilson
30. The Association of Income and Educational Achieve-
ment, by Roy L. Lassiter, Jr.
31. The Relation of the People to the Land in Southern
Iraq, by Fuad Baali
32. The Price Theory of Value in Public Finance,
by Donald R. Escarraz
33. The Process of Rural Development in Latin America,
by T. Lynn Smith
34. To Be or Not to Be . Existential-Psychological
Perspectives on the Self, edited by Sidney M.
35. Politics in a Mexican Community, by Lawrence S.
36. A Two-Sector Model of Economic Growth with
Technological Progress, by Frederick Owen God-
37. Florida Studies in the Helping Professions, by Ar-
thur W. Combs


Date Due


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