Clinical consensus strategies for interpersonal problems between young adults and their parents.
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OBJECTIVE: Research that identifies areas of agreement among expert therapists can complement findings from clinical trials by highlighting common practices as well as innovations. The present study accessed consensus among expert therapists on the effectiveness of clinical strategies for treating young adults experiencing interpersonal problems with their parents. METHOD: This study drew on the behavioral-analytic model (Goldfried & D'Zurilla, 1969) and the methodology of the Expert Consensus Guideline Series (Frances, Kahn, Carpenter, Ross, & Docherty, 1996). In Phase I, 54 therapists (mean age = 60.32 years; 55.6% women, 44.4% men; 96.3% White/European American) provided clinical situations involving young adult clients and their parents. In Phase II, 171 therapists (mean age = 59.45 years; 47.4% women, 52.0% men; 91.8% White/European American) proposed responses to the situations, and more general clinical strategies underlying the responses were identified. In Phase III, 134 peer-nominated expert therapists (a mean of 22.33 therapists per situation; mean age = 55.46 years; 61.2% women, 34.3% men; 91.0% White/European American) rated the effectiveness of these clinical strategies. RESULTS: Results indicated that the experts reached consensus on strategies rated as highly effective; in particular, they agreed on the value of exploring clients' emotional experience and providing validation. Participants reached greater agreement on strategies for use in future sessions than strategies for immediate use. Exploratory analyses revealed correlations between experts' theoretical orientations and their ratings. CONCLUSIONS: The findings provide converging evidence of the value of exploring emotions and validating clients and, further, demonstrate the feasibility of this method for accessing clinicians' experience.
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