Date of Award

Winter 1998

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)




Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology

Committee Director

Michael P. Collins

Committee Member

Neill P. Watson

Committee Member

Joy Kannarkat

Committee Member

John David Ball

Committee Member

Larry Ventis


With the effectiveness of psychotherapy now well-supported in both the individual and family literatures (Garfield & Bergin, 1994), we are entering an era where questions of how and why therapy works are of interest. More specifically, there has been support and encouragement by some researchers (Rice & Greenberg, 1984; Mahrer, 1988) for the use of discovery-oriented methodologies to explore clinical phenomena that have yet to be empirically validated. The following is a discovery-oriented study of enactment, a structural family therapy intervention. The theoretical goals of enactments, their relevance to clinical practice, as well as how they are actually implemented in family therapy sessions, are discussed. A methodological review of the discovery-oriented and task analysis literature is presented. Four phases of enactment are delineated: pre-enactment preparation, enactment initiation, enactment facilitation, and enactment conclusion. Observations of therapist interventions and client responses are presented. The Family Therapy Enactment Rating Scale, an observational measure, is described and reliability data are presented. Unfortunately, the overall reliability of the scale was found to be low. However, given the extensive observational data derived from this study, some tentative results and discussion of them are offered. Observational scale items, their reliability data, a tentative performance model of enactment, and implications of the findings are presented and discussed.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculties of The College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.


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