Client accounts of personal change in process-experiential psychotherapy: a methodologically pluralistic approach

Melissa J Klein, Robert Elliott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Client changes in psychotherapy can be studied using a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods. Despite the availability of these various methods, therapy outcomes research is traditionally conducted with only a single-method approach. In the current study, the authors break from this single-genre research and present a pluralistic approach for examining qualitative accounts of personal change for a naturalistic sample of clients who engaged in process-experiential therapy. Open-coding analysis of changes indicated two broad categories: Changes Within the Self and Changes in Life Situation. Content analysis found that changes in experiential processing were more often repor ted at the end of treatment. Analyses of quantitative outcome measures indicated substantial pre/post therapy change. Brief case studies of two clients with contrasting outcomes illustrated limitations of the other methods and identified range and manner of expression of reported changes as directions for further research. In addition to demonstrating the array of information gained from applying different research methods, the pluralistic approach was also used to make comparisons between results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-105
Number of pages15
JournalPsychotherapy Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006


  • psychotherapy
  • process-experiential therapy
  • life situation
  • Emotion-focused therapy

    Elliott, R., Dec 2012, The tribes of the person-centred nation: An introduction to the schools of therapy related to the person-centred approach. Sanders, P. (ed.). 2nd revised ed. Ross-on-Wye, p. 103-130 28 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Open Access
  • Qualitative methods for studying psychotherapy change processes

    Elliott, R., 1 Jul 2011, Qualitative research methods in mental health & psychotherapy : A Guide for Students and Practitioners . Harper, D. & Thompson, A. (eds.). Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, p. 69-81 13 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Open Access

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