Date of this Version
The purpose of this sequential explanatory mixed methods study was to investigate the process of mandatory counseling and factors that are pivotal in this process. Specifically, the goal of this research project was to assess how the working alliance (WA) changes at the early stage of mandatory counseling and to explain why this change occurs, based on: (a) client hope and motivation for treatment; and (b) qualitative interviews with selected clients.
In the first, quantitative phase of the study, data were collected via administration of self-report questionnaires (i.e., WAI, Hope Scale, and Motivation for Treatment Scale) to sixty-three correctional center inmates who were mandated for counseling. Preliminary quantitative analysis revealed the presence of a significant therapist effect at all points of the data collection as well as in all variables under investigation. Latent growth curve modeling analysis (LG) was conducted on the quantitative data. The growth model for WA slope was non-significant. Participants’ WA trajectories were categorized into six different groups: accelerating linear, decelerating linear, relatively stable, accelerating quadratic dramatic, accelerating quadratic late onset, decelerating quadratic, and constant. Surprisingly, on average, mandated clients’ WA ratings were high when compared with voluntary clients’ WA ratings in other studies. The LG analysis of the data also revealed the presence of significant variance in the WA ratings after the first counseling session. Client hope and motivation for treatment were found to be non-significant covariates.
In the second, qualitative phase, six participants, one from each group of change in the WA, were interviewed. The participants’ responses regarding their therapy experience were grouped into six themes: (1) therapy development, (2) client role, (3) therapist role, (4) client-therapist relationship, (5) therapy process, and (6) therapy outcomes. Overall, three groups of factors were found to be important in the WA development process: client, therapist, and process factors. The qualitative analysis of interviews found that therapist factors are most influential in WA formation in the area of mandated counseling. Based on the findings from both phases of the study, implications and suggestions for practice of mandatory counseling and research are also discussed.
Adviser: Michael J. Scheel