Theses Doctoral

Six Sessions: A Study in the Discourse Analysis of an Example of Cognitive Behavior Therapy in a Social Work Context

Ilian, Henry R.

This study attempts to document the process of change in an example of cognitive behavior therapy conducted as part of larger research project in the effectiveness of this approach with parents having a potential for child abuse. One example of therapy was chosen for in depth analysis using a discourse analysis approach based on that of Labov and Fanshel (1977). Tape-recordings of the eight meetings between the client and the therapist--six therapy sessions, and two additional sessions to administer a pre and post test questionnaire required by the larger study--were transcribed. Selected segments of these transcripts were subjected to a microanalysis, the aim of which was to identify evidence of therapeutic change.

Although the client did not follow the therapist in every respect, considerable evidence was found of a process of change--which began prior to the first therapy session with the research oriented questionnaire session and ended with the final questionnaire session. Certain moments in the dialogue, which occurred in nearly every session, were especially significant in revealing change. Through the sessions, a process was identified in which the client adopts, but also adapts ideas put forward by the therapist.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Social Work
Thesis Advisors
Fanshel, David
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 26, 2015