Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Kathleen Ingram


This qualitative study utilized a phenomenological research approach (Moustakas, 1994) to examine the question How do group psychotherapy clients experience post-processing? The conceptual framework for the study was Yalom’s interpersonal process approach to group psychotherapy (Yalom & Leszcz, 2005). Participants were 12 university counseling center clients who were members of an interpersonal process-oriented psychotherapy group at a large urban university. Data collection consisted of in-depth interviews. Data analysis procedures followed recommendations by Smith and Osborn (2003) and Creswell (2007). In order to increase the trustworthiness and rigor of the study, the researcher engaged in reflexive journaling, member checking, and the use of two external auditors. Results of the study are presented as a description of how participants experienced post-processing, and are organized within two domains: (a) Experiences of post-processing; and (b) Contextual pieces. Within the first domain, eight categories emerged: (a) verbal report card; (b) silent observer phenomenon; (c) leader expertise; (d) emotional homework; (e) light bulb moments; (f) validation and reinforcement; (g) connections; and (h) final chapter experiences. Categories were made up of one or more related themes. Within the second domain were four related themes: (a) intensity or depth; (b) outside stressors; (c) group constellation; and (d) time in group. Quotes from participants are included to illustrate the findings. The role of the researcher as an instrument in the study is described. The results are discussed in relation to the theoretical framework of the study and the existing literature. Implications for research and practice of group psychotherapy are identified. Strengths and weaknesses of the study are included, as well as suggestion for future research.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

July 2009

Included in

Psychology Commons