Date of Award

5-12-2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Donald U. Robertson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Maureen C. McHugh, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

John A. Mills, Ph.D., ABPP

Abstract

Mirrors, video cameras, and live supervision are used throughout the country to train psychologists. Although this training equipment has been shown to increase self-focused attention, little is known about how this might affect the client’s perceptions of the therapeutic relationship. In order to do so, subjects were divided into two different setting groups: Full Training group in which the participant is exposed to all equipment (i.e., two-way mirror, video-recording equipment, and observation team) and Control group in which the participant is not exposed to any training equipment because it has been covered up. After a measure of self-focused attention, the participants were interviewed, after which they evaluated the therapeutic relationship. Results indicate no difference between levels of self-focused attention in the group exposed to the equipment and the control. This may be due to the participants’ ability to distract themselves from the equipment, thus reducing any increases in self-focused attention. This study also began to explore the processes behind self-focused attention and impression formation in interpersonal situations, specifically within the therapeutic relationship. Silvia and Duval (2004) asserted that the negative affect that results from self-evaluation due to heightened self-focused attention may be attributed to the interviewer if no salient standard is presented. Inducing a salient standard of comparison in the different setting conditions was done to determine if having a chosen dimension of comparison would change the effect of the equipment on client’s perceptions of the therapeutic relationship. Results indicate that there were no differences between any of the groups on measures of the therapeutic relationship. The most significant results were the difference on the debriefing measures. The participants were asked questions about what their experience with the equipment was like or what it would be like. Results suggest that those who were not exposed to the equipment predict that it would have a much larger effect on their experience during the interview than is reported by those who were exposed. These findings are important to consider when introducing new clients to the training setting.

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