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The Experiencing Scale: A Research and Training Manual

Marjorie H. Klein, Philippa L. Mathieu, Eugene T. Gendlin, and Donald J. Kiesler
Wisconsin Psychiatric Institute, Madison, Wisconsin, 1969
Copyright 1970 by the Regents of the University of Wisconsin.

The Dimension of Experiencing has been elaborated in the theoretical work of Eugene Gendlin. It refers to the quality of an individual’s experiencing of the self as revealed in verbal communications; it ranges from impersonal superficial, or abstract-intellectual content at low levels, progresses through intermediate stages where bodily feelings and experiences are revealed in fuller descriptive detail, to more advances stages where feelings are purposefully explored and emergent levels of fresh experiencing serve as referents for problem resolution and understanding. Its association with independent evaluations of therapeutic success is established in a number of studies with different patient populations, including patients with neurotic and psychotic disorders. There is a consistent positive relationship between successful therapeutic outcome and experiencing level manifested by a patient throughout a series of therapy sessions. More complex findings suggest that different trends and patterns of experiencing may occur in different diagnostic groups.

Studies of the Client-centered framework provided much of the initial context for the development of the concept as well as for the development of methods for assessing experiencing directly from ongoing therapy sessions. This has included the development of the rating method as a means of insuring standardized, reproducible ratings for process research as elaborated in this manual. The scope and applications of the concept and rating scale, however, are not limited to the therapy context, for it should be important for all settings where change in an individuals’ level of expressiveness, self-awareness, and self-understanding is a goal.

Experiencing is sensitive to shifts in patient involvement, even within a single interview session, making it useful for microscopic process studies, as well as studies of change across a series of treatment sessions. It might also reflect special moments or phases of therapy when work was especially productive. Averaging discrete ratings over therapy as a whole or in parts yields a gross estimate of the quality of the patient’s work, making the scale suitable for comparing different patient groups or therapy techniques.

The training techniques for the Experiencing Scale have been designed so that nonprofessional people can serve as raters. In addition, the training procedure described in this Manual has been standardized so that ratings can be replicated with different judges and comparable research can be carried out in different settings.

The Experiencing Scale Manual consists of three volumes. Volumes I and II consist of printed material. Volume I reviews the theoretical anchorage of the concept and method , outlines its basic assumptions, and summarizes research employing the method. The methods described evolved from our experience in training of clinically naïve college students as raters. Efforts have been made to anchor the EXP ratings to manifest content in order to fee the ratings as much as possible from confounding factors such as patient’s diagnosis, the patient’s specific complaint, personality, style, rate and tone of speech, immediate affective state, or specific topic. We have also tried to assure the ratings are independent of the therapist’s remarks, technique, or orientation. Even more important, the training procedure has been standardized so that ratings can be replicated with different judges and comparable research can be carried out in different settings.

The second section of Volume I of the Manual considers the present version of the Scale including aspects of methodology and procedural application. Last comes the training manual, including the Scale itself and an overview the training sessions. Training involves raters’ listening to seven hours of audio recordings of therapy material (Volume III) or reading transcripts of these sessions (Volume II). Volume I ends with Expert Ratings and Justifications for the ratings of these practice sessions in order to provide feedback to raters. This is followed by two additional hours of audio material which are rated in order to provide final information on rater reliability.

The package contains two manuals and ten CDs.

Product Code: FB-350



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