Corrective Experiences

Dr. Kathrin Mörtl E-Mail (CV)

Short Description
Patients are interviewed post therapy termination, narrating their corrected and corrective experiences (what has changed and how did it change in therapy). Qualitative interviews & analysis.

Research Team
This project is a multi-site collaboration study involving three universities. Data collection and analysis has already started the University of Massachusetts (CBT sample, Amherst, Mike Constantino, PH.D.), York University (Humanistic/Emotion-focused therapy sample, Toronto, Prof. Lynne Angus, Kathrin Moertl, PH.D.) and Columbia University (Psychoanalysis, New York, Prof. Barry Farber) in 2011. The next step is to include another sample at the Sigmund Freud Universities in Vienna and Paris (Psychoanalysis, Gestalt and Systemic Therapy, Kathrin Moertl.

The construct of corrective experience has a long history in psychotherapy (Alexander & French, 1946; Wallerstein, 1990). Although definitions vary among clinical theorists and across treatment orientations, all suggest a type of transformative experience or set of experiences for the psychotherapy patient. Despite a rich theoretical history, though, there is precious little empirical information on patients’ perceptions of what is therapeutically corrective, or transformative. Thus, the primary aim of this project is to investigate patients’ posttreatment accounts of corrective experiences in psychotherapy using a qualitative interview methodology.

The primary research questions include: (1) In reflecting back on the time since beginning, and ultimately completing, therapy, what do patients perceive as aspects of self, other, and/or relationships (cognitive, affective, or relational in nature) that get corrected? (2) In reflecting back on the same time frame, what do patients perceive as corrective experiences (i.e., instances in therapy, outside of therapy, or in interaction with others, including possibly the therapist) that fostered what was corrected? and (3) Are any perceptions moderated by type of therapy (as the naturalistic settings include multiple forms of treatment).

More information about methods and schedule