Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

John M. Ivanoff

Second Advisor

Mary Zosel

Third Advisor

A. Dupuis

Fourth Advisor

Glenn E. Tagatz


The purpose of this study was to examine the factors that affect successful therapeutic outcomes of brief therapy.

The subjects for the study were 187 individuals who sought therapeutic services at a free, anonymous counseling center. They were primarily individuals suffering from neurotic or mild-to-moderate characterological problems which included complaints of anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and difficulties with interpersonal relationships In their initial therapeutic interview, each patient completed the Generalized Contentment of Life Scale (GCS), to gauge the amount of the patient's initial discontentment. Next, the subjects were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups (goal or no goal) prior to brief therapy. The goal group completed the Goal Attainment Scale (GAS) to assist in establishing goals and measuring progress during therapy, while the no goal group received brief therapy only. Both groups were again given the GCS at the completion of therapy.

Subsequent to therapy, Completers (those who completed therapy including both the goal and no goal. groups) were compared to non-completers (those who terminated before completing therapy). A significantly higher degree of discontentment was found in the completers' group than in the non-completers' group. Moreover, while goal and no goal groups both significantly improved their discontentment scores over the course of brief therapy, no differential effects of establishing goals were seen.

The type of problem presented by subjects related significantly to the degree of improvement in contentment scores. Personal problems showed a significant reduction in discontentment overall. Individuals with personal problems displayed a significant improvement when compared to individuals with either marital or family problems. In contrast, no differences were found between individuals presenting marital or family problems.



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