The relationship between therapist designating authorship and patient self-experience

Judith Brenner Delman (1996)

This study examined the differential effects on the patient between moments when the therapist gave authorship either to himself or to the patient. The concept of "authorship" referred to the person, either the patient or the therapist, who, in a particular moment, was considered to be the "one who knows best". Four experienced psychotherapists examined transcripts of 20 analytic sessions, four from each of five periods of time, drawn from the first 100 sessions of a single treatment. Two judges rated "designating authorship" and "asking/telling" statements, using two five-point scales designed for this study. Two other judges rated patient self-experience which was measured by The Experience Scale, an instrument which measures six possible graduated levels of patient self-experience. The results did not confirm the hypothesis that there was a linear relationship between levels of designated authorship and patient self-experience. A curvilinear relationship was found, showing that the self-experience scores for mid-levels of authorship were significantly lower than the self-experience scores for low or high authorship. Self-experience increased significantly over time, whereas authorship showed significantly lower scores in the first and last phases of treatment. A further exploration suggested that when the therapist was focused more on the patient than on himself, self-experiencing increased