Brief Structured Recall: A more efficient method for studying significant therapy events


Department of Psychology, University of Toledo, Toledo OH 43612, USA, Medical Research Council/Economic and Social Research Council, Social & Applied Psychology Unit, The University, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK


Previously, significant therapy events have been studied using a time-consuming form of tape-assisted recall. Brief Structured Recall (BSR) was developed to overcome difficulties with this earlier method. We carried out two case studies of time-limited therapy following the protocol of the Sheffield Psychotherapy Project (eight sessions each of Prescriptive and Exploratory therapies). In the first case study, we developed a more efficient method of identifying significant therapy events. In the second case study we developed structured interview schedules for obtaining client and therapist ratings and descriptions of a broad range of factors involved in significant events. The events identified in the two cases were typically 5–10 min in length, occurred in the second halves of sessions, contained 2–4 ‘peak’ (most helpful) speaking turns, and were most often attributed to the therapist. The most common predominant impact of these events was Problem Clarification, followed by Personal Insight and Problem Solution. Treatment differences were more marked in the therapist's ratings of event impacts than in the clients' ratings.