Myrna L. Friedlander, PhD, Professor, Department of Counseling Psychology, Ed 220, University at Albany, State Univeristy of New York, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12222.
ASSESSING CLIENTS' CONSTRUCTIONS OF THEIR PROBLEMS IN FAMILY THERAPY DISCOURSE
Article first published online: 8 JUN 2007
Journal of Marital and Family Therapy
Volume 24, Issue 3, pages 289–303, July 1998
How to Cite
Friedlander, M. L. and Heatherington, L. (1998), ASSESSING CLIENTS' CONSTRUCTIONS OF THEIR PROBLEMS IN FAMILY THERAPY DISCOURSE. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 24: 289–303. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.1998.tb01086.x
An abbreviated version of this article was presented at the annual convention, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, August, 1992. The coding system was revised in 1995.
We are grateful to the many students who contributed to the creation and validation of the coding system: Eilen Berger, Ray Dlugos, Bonnie Fenton, Maria Fontaine, Sheryl Gore, Elisa Hauron, Susan Kerbel, Jerry Kosmin, Nicole Krakowiak, Lucille Larney, Catherine Lawhead, Bob Lohse, David Louis, Meredith Lyon, Abbe Marrs, Gregory Masiello, Sheila McBain, Chris Myers, Brian Perotto, Lori Phifer, Tracie Poppe, Lisa Robin, Bianca Schaefer, Anaid Shaver, Elizabeth Sheridan, Elizabeth Skowron, Ma. Teresa Tuason, Katy Walsh, and Julie Wildman.
- Issue published online: 8 JUN 2007
- Article first published online: 8 JUN 2007
To study family members' narrative descriptions of their difficulties, we developed an observational coding system, the Cognitive Constructions Coding System (CCCS). In this system, 4 dimensions of clients' problem descriptions (intrapersonal-interpersonal) and causal explanations (internal-external, responsible-not responsible, linear-circular) are coded in the context of a Problem Elaboration Episode, a segment of psychotherapy discourse. In Studies 1 and 2 the reliability of the CCCS was assessed using transcripts from family therapy texts and interviews provided by 7 constructivist theorists. Across studies, mean interjudge agreements ranged from 56% to 98%; the mean reliability estimates were, however, more modest and variable (range .46 to .97). In Study 3, trained judges coded videotapes in which volunteers described personal problems that corresponded to specific CCCS codes. Results of this experiment showed that, on every dimension, the coding was more accurate than cahnce, all ps <.005. In Study 4, the CCCS successfully discriminated 6 of 8 family intake sessions in which the parents' descriptions of the presenting problem either did or did not shift from intrapersonal to interpersonal over the course of the interview. Directions for future research with the coding system are suggested, along with a discussion of its relevance for practice.