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I was involved in a seminar with him sponsored by Pacifica on the re-enchantment of everyday life. He serves on the board of editors and contributed a marvelous article on Developing a Mythic Sensibility. Psychotherapists have always worked with stories. That's what clients bring us - the accounts of their journeys. To some degree we are helping them with an editing process. Therapy is, in part, a literary endeavor. We are showing clients how to write their tales.

They are deciding what kinds of roles they play and how to situate themselves within the plot. We sometimes call this reframing. We help them with the narrative flow of their life experiences. Introducing a mythological literary perspective is just deepening what is already going on. In my trainings there is great interest in mythological approaches among social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists who are looking for ways to get beyond the press of the everyday problems.

It is not that the client's immediate issues are not important. But, we need ways to reach the underlying dynamic issues of the unconscious. Using mythic references as mirrors allows the conversation to approach the deeper levels in the clinical process. As psychotherapists move towards briefer treatment, I think that there is a yearning for a richer experience. Case planning is being restricted by factors beyond our control, so there is a need to do deep work in less time. I am interested in how to bring a mythic approach into brief treatment. If you only have four sessions, how do you make the most of it?

Pastoral counseling has often been effective in a few sessions. There is a long history of people having one or two visits to a minister or rabbi - often with significant results. The few conversations meant a great deal to those people. The work likely included references to parables. The approach used stories and what is called the mythic imagination. A brief approach may involve giving a client homework by saying, "It sounds to me as though you are dealing with a situation such as Rapunzel faced when she was in that tower with the enchantress.

Why don't you read that story and see what you think? Such simple homework can extend the magnitude of the treatment. Erickson was a master. He tended to come up with original stories - specific to clients' situations. The tales grew out of the quandaries that the patients' presented. My emphasis is on the parables that have been handed down for many generations.

The fact that these allegories have been received from the past adds a certain weight. We are not all as gifted as Milton Erickson at putting new stories together quickly. Fortunately, we can draw on familiar body of ancient fables. Other than the source of the text, the application is very similar to Erickson's method.

The fact that he was such a skilled hypnotist acknowledges that stories are mesmerizing in taking us to deeper levels within ourselves. The effect is similar to what Freud accomplished with free association. Freud worked with hypnosis early in his career and was not very skilled at trance induction. He thought that there should be other means ways to approach the mysteries of the unconscious. He experimented with his method. Having the analyst out of sight makes the session less of a dialogue. The patients lie down on the couch and let their minds drift from one thought to another.

It isn't a dream state but it isn't ordinary conversation either. It is some place between the two. I think we enter that state when we hear a teller of tales or when we spin a yarn ourselves. Brainwave studies would likely confirm this, but any clinician can sense that shift. We go into a semi-hypnotic state - where we are able to grasp issues and follow emotional processes more closely than in everyday consciousness.

Intuition is a difficult word because it is hard to define and sounds somewhat magical. When you write case notes you never want to mention that you chose a strategy intuitively. Of course, a trained professional is going to rely on their training and some sensibility that they may have had before they began their training. Rollo May often commented that psychotherapists were not so much trained as born. They are often people who were doing family counseling long before they ever took their first class in psychology.

Using stories for guidance is nothing new.

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Christ and the prophets taught through parables. Talmudic Midrash notes expound upon allegories and legends. We each have a personal life story and a sense of an unfolding journey. We have our daily soap operas as well as a long-term drama going on. Thinking in these terms is available to everybody, whether or not they are particularly intuitive. I'm impressed with the work of James Fowler and his book, Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning It is useful for psychotherapists with interest in spirituality.

He uses the extensive life-span developmental theory refined at Harvard. The book essentially adapts Piaget, and Kohlberg to spiritual life. Fowler's work is for seekers - those drawn to philosophical questions and the search for meaning. Fowler looks at the stages of life and how belief systems grow and gradually evolve. There will be moments of crisis and bereavement as limiting perspectives fade away. There is an excitement as new avenues to meaning emerge.

This can all happen within the framework of the same faith tradition. Fowler's model explains a great deal about the inner journey very elegantly. I would add that this is an exciting time in the area of psychological uses of mythic tales. I was involved in starting a mythology doctoral program in Santa Barbara, and the enrollment has been intense. Joseph Campbell's television programs, and his series of bestseller books, as well as the goddess movement have fueled the interest in personal mythology.

When the history of ideas is written for this era, the reclaiming of the mythic traditions will surely be seen as a major event. Dunn, Ph. How does myth apply to psychotherapy and to psychological growth and development? Would you give an example of how a myth might be applicable to a person in psychotherapy or struggling to cope with life? Is there another example that readily comes to mind that you could share?

It is used with metaphorical forms, expressions and guided imagery. The article gives the uses of the metaphor in therapy and explains the structure of a metaphor. The use of storytelling is related to the purpose of occupational therapy. Fine, Marshall. This article provides useful information for the beginning counselor.

He discusses how the process of hypothesizing can be beneficial in developing a series of questions for the therapy session. This method suggest that resiliency is promoted by this form of therapy because it increases family cohesion as each member adds their memories and personal perceptions of the experience to the story. Words can be too limiting to grasp the depths of our experiences. Metaphors help to broaden the meaning of words. The metaphor is an important therapeutic vehicle as it can develop rapport, foster understanding, access unconscious material and aid memory retrieval.

Case studies provided. Author discusses three sources for metaphors.

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Guidelines are provided to nurture and develop metaphors. Freeman, Mark. Easy to read, candid case examples that show how children facing medical challenges can benefit from the storytelling relationship. Gersie, Alma. London: Kingsley, Harker, Tim. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, Harker writes about the relationship between dominant masculine belief systems and male sexual abuse. He shows how narrative metaphors can be used to help clients escape from this childhood trauma. Harker offers numerous examples to illustrate how narrative questioning can be used with clients. He also discusses deconstruction and construction theory.

Emphasizes the need for teaching stories to relate to the immediate situation and the import of teaching stories to facilitate examination of values and attitudes. Herman, L. The author reviews the benefits of using stories and metaphor with children who have been victims of sexual abuse. She provides a case example, identifying different approaches to take to address specific effects of sexual abuse.

She begins by using drama and then incorporates the use of fairy tale into the dramatic play. This is a short article, but it provides the theoretical basis for using storytelling and fairy tales with sexually abused children. Howard, George. Gives background on constructivist and objectivist views in scientific inquiry.

Explores scientific discovery and ways of knowing as modes of storytelling. Discusses psychology, psychotherapy as the exploration and repair of life story lines. Investigates major themes for both therapist and client. Explores implications of seeing all storylines as valid, therefore increasing opportunities for multicultural work in the human sciences.

Kirmayer, Laurence. Scholarly article on metacommunication and somatics. Klienbard, David. The article affirms the capacity of story to contain, hold at a distance or define fantasy and experience. How it all can be lived through the imagination as opposed to concrete reality, and yet, felt to be healing. Kottman, T and K Stiles. It tells how stories told by children can metaphorically represent four particular goals: attention, power, revenge and inadequacy. Examples of how children may perceive these goals are given.

Lankton, C. This book provides a board array of examples of metaphors for different therapeutic purposes. Actual redesigned stories that have been used in therapeutic settings are provided. The stories are categorized according to the particular goals for which they are structured. The goals are grouped by chapter and include changes in affect, behavior, self-image, role development, identity and family structure. This approach includes the therapist taking a hermeneutic stance in therapy. Lopata, Peg. Discusses the healing power of storytelling for young children. Lyness, Kevin and Volker Tomas.

Family therapy is defined through a narrative model, as opposed to a logic-scientific therapy. Article describes the narrative therapeutic process. It borrows heavily from Milton Erickson and his concept of indirection. Mair, Miller. A tongue in cheek analysis of conventional psychological discourse. Criticizes conventional psychological theorists for removing the narrator from the discussion. Mair suggest that we should not seek ways of proving truth within psychoanalytic work, but use story to seek ways of exploring the limits of our knowing and the frontiers of our future learning.

McKenzie, Joan et all. Presents a framework for cooperative, therapeutic work with adolescents, drawing on ideas of solution-oriented therapy and narrative approaches to counseling. This helps to elicit authentic responses from the client in a non-threatening context. It further creates cooperation and helps to circumvent any power struggles. Miller, Carol and John Boe. Overview of program used with children suffering from various psychic traumas in an inpatient treatment program.

Describes how sandplay and stories both use metaphors, and how metaphor is effective with children. A special thanks goes to Jeff Martin soon to be Dr. Jeff Martin for his valuable input and for access to the taped materials. Also a special recognition is extended to the supervisor and supervisee for permitting their taped sessions to be used for research. Special recognitions go to Dr.

Robert E. Sinnett, Dr. Charles Grayden, and Dr. Burritt S. Lacy Jr. Also I would like to recognize the invaluable help received from the graduate student raters, Meridy King, Cindy Lane, and Barb Callahan. All of the raters devoted many hours of work on this research project and without their help it could not have been possible. Last, but certainly not least, a very special thanks goes to my family, Carolyn, Christy, and Jennifer. Their love, support, and encouragement have been with me throughout my graduate program. Summary Sheet for Script 2 25 2. Summary Sheet for Script 7 27 iv Chapter 1 Introduction Metaphor has been an essential feature of human communication from time immemorial.

Stories and anecdotes have long been used to convey specific messages. While the power of metaphoric language has long been known in literature, religion, and politics, little systematic empirical information has been gathered relating to its role and function in development of counselor skills. There exists considerable agreement that figurative or metaphoric language is in some way related to the change process. Much of the current interest about the role of metaphor in the therapeutic process is derived from Milton H. Erickson's work Haley, ; Gordon, ; Zeig, Through the use of stories, parables, and figurative language Erickson successfully assisted individuals in problem resolution.

Rule states that metaphors can be employed in various stages of the family therapy process to: a explore problems; b put problems into perspective; c help "reframe" perceptions of situations; d reinforce what has been said; e get in touch with feelings; f deal with resistance; and g encourage action. Other family practitioners, including Brink , Duhl , and Minuchin and Fishman also advocate the use of metaphors in working with families.

In group counseling, Gladding has found the use of metaphors to be most productive. He points out that metaphors and similes often imply what people think about themselves. He also notes that group leaders can help their members use metaphors to determine where they fit into a group setting, to see how the group is changing, or to initiate actions.

One of the more interesting aspects of figurative language in the counseling setting is its diversity of use. On an individual level, Gladding indicated that figurative language in the form of poems or poetic fragments is helpful in working with a wide variety of clients in a mental health setting.

In addition the author notes that metaphors originated by clients may change during the course of counseling. For example, a person who describes anger as a "fire" may come to be a "fire fighter" once counseling moves past the exploration stage and onto what Egan describes as the goal setting and action stages. Counselors can reinforce constructive actions of their clients by employing clients' language and images.

The metaphor may also be misperceived, misunderstood, or seen by a client as a veiled communication. Since metaphoric language is an integral part of therapeutic communication and there exists potential hazards as well as benefits in its usage, additional research is justified. Inasmuch as the use of metaphor as a means of communication has been widespread throughout recorded history, we must assume that there are distinct advantages to delivering messages in metaphorical form rather than in more direct ways.

In the book The Myth of Metaphor , Turbayne points out that metaphors 1 can offer a perspective of an event making it possible to see one thing in terms of another, 2 allow for the integration of diverse ideas, and 3 influence attitudinal shifts by placing emphasis on some facts, breaking behavior sets, or altering thinking habits. He further concludes that the model, the parable, the fable, the allegory, and the myth are all subclasses of metaphor. It is on this assumption that the clinical use of metaphorical communication is based.

Within the literature of psychotherapy, Gordon in his book Therapeutic Metaphors devoted much time explaining how to construct and deliver long stories with metaphorical meanings in the course of psychotherapy. He advocates paying special attention to the style of communication as well as the individual's representational system.

Gordon maintains that by taking into account the representational systems used by clients, and by wording stories accordingly, therapists may make metaphors even more isomorphic and thus more effective. Much of the reasoning for widespread use of figurative or metaphoric language in human communication or therapy has been essentially pragmatic. However Peter Lenrow , proposes seven specific functions figurative language might serve in therapy. These seven functions were derived from his notion that psychotherapy is a special case of "social influence". Pollio and his colleagues found that incidence of novel figurative language corresponded with occurrence of insight.

They developed a reliable method to identify figurative language and then compared this with therapist- identified points of insight during a counseling session. They further described a pattern where alternating bursts of figurative language interacted with incidence of insight to generate more figurative language and insight during sessions. While an increasing amount of interest has been generated concerning the role of figurative language in the counseling process, little research has been conducted to study the role of figurative or metaphoric language in the supervisory process.

The supervision of trainees is considered to be an important process in almost all counselor training programs Gerken, A more detailed analysis of the communication processes between supervisor and supervisee will contribute to the understanding of the role of change in counselor development. Since the relationship between supervisor and a counselor in training may at times be very similar to the relationship of counselor and client, we can draw from empirical research previously conducted on the counseling relationship and test its relevance in the more unigue supervision situation.

Statement of the Problem The purpose of this study was to investigate the co- occurrence of novel figurative language with insight within actual supervisory sessions.


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Further, sessions rated best and worst by both the supervisor and supervisee were assessed gualltatively for differences in usage of figurative language. More specifically this study sought to answer the following guestions : 1. Was there a co-occurrence of novel figurative language to identified incidences of insight within two supervision sessions?

Was there a co-occurrence of frozen figurative language to identified incidences of insight within two supervision sessions? What differences occur between sessions identified best and worst by supervisor and supervisee regarding usage of figurative language? What was the pattern of identified occurrences of figurative language around incidences of insight?

Hypothesis 1. There will be a significant correlation between occurrences of novel figurative language to identified incidences of insight in session two. There will be no significant correlation between occurrences of frozen figurative language to identified incidences of insight in session two. There will be a significant correlation between occurrences of novel figurative language to identified incidences of insight in session seven.

There will be no significant correlation between occurrences of frozen figurative language to identified incidences of insight in session seven. There will be a pattern of increased usage of figurative language preceeding identified incidence of insight when compared to the pattern of figurative language usage following points of insight.

There will be a qualitative difference in usage of figurative language when comparing the session rated best to the session rated worst. Chapter 2 Review of the Literature In this study the review of the relevant literature involves two areas: a relevant process research on supervision, b empirical studies relating to the role of metaphor in psychotherapy. Supervision Research Supervision is considered central to the training of competent counselors.

Ultimately, the most important prereguisite for supervision is change in supervisee's counseling behavior, which, in turn, results in changes in client behavior. However Hogan and later Stoltenberg provide a conceptualization of the supervision process by suggesting a system in which the counselor trainee advances from the position of an apprentice, who is dependent on the supervisor and shows little insight, to a master who has personal autonomy, is aware of limitations, and is insightful.

Even though counselor trainees should be encouraged to embark on a path of self exploration in both their feelings and theoretical conceptualizations, Lambert found that a counselors consistently offered lower levels of empathy in supervision than they did in counseling. Throughout supervision verbal and non-verbal communications can facilitate the process of counselor trainee development.

It was observed by Lemons and Lanning that as communication effectiveness increased, the overall quality of the supervisory relationship improved.

References - The Creative Arts in Counseling - Wiley Online Library

Stoltenberg also emphasizes the importance of communication between supervisor and supervisee. During the early stages of counselor training, communication will be more instructive. Later stages of counselor development would include more supportive and insightful interactions suggesting a peer interactive type relationship.

Metaphor in therapy

It was found that predictable patterns of verbal interactive behavior did occur in the supervision process. It was further pointed out that patterns of interaction have not been related to outcome measures of supervision. More recently, Holloway and Wampold found that certain patterns of verbal behavior are good predictors of supervisor and supervisee judgements of interview satisfaction. Thus the occurrence and delivery of verbal responses in the supervisory process have important 10 ramifications for the trainee's development as a counselor.

Metaphor Research More recently, there has been an increasing amount of attention paid to the role of metaphor or figurative language in relationships. It has been shown that metaphor is a central factor in creativity Arieti, and that it is important in human development and the evolution of theoretical disciplines Sevell, Haley suggests that it may not always be best to make explicit what the counselor sees as important to client understanding and that talking in metaphors can facilitate the arrival of clients to new levels of insight.

A conseguence of the preponderence of anecdotal and experiential evidence is that therapists and counselors are becoming increasingly interested in the role of figurative language in therapy. Peter Lenrow , pp. Unspoken assumptions about one's ability to influence one's surroundings can also be highlighted in metaphor. Choices regarding one's course of action may become more apparent with the use of metaphor.

They can be applied to a great variety of situations because of their reference to rational properties rather than 12 discrete elements. To begin empirically studying figurative language Barlow, Kerlin, and Pollio developed a Training Manual identifying fourteen different categories of figurative language.

The manual also provided a method of training raters to identify occurrence of figurative language in written or spoken discourse. The reliability of the training method was found to be sufficiently high Pollio, , and Lockwood, An important distinction between "frozen" and "novel" metaphors was made at this time. The difference between novel and frozen metaphor is discussed in Chapter 3. Ortony, Reynolds, and Arter suggest that most commonly used metaphors fall somewhere in the middle of the novel to frozen continuum. In a study to investigate the role of metaphors in counseling.

Gore had clinical psychology graduate students rate successive 4-minute, tape recorded segments of clients during the early stages of counseling.


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High-guality, creative metaphors were found useful in arousing client interest. It was further found that a significant positive relationship existed between high-guality metaphors and a tendency to approach self- exploration in a nondefensive manner. A correlational design was used that investigated the incidental use of metaphor rather than the purposeful development of metaphor in counseling.

All but 22 of the metaphors generated were partitioned into 19 major sub-groupings which represented major communication themes. The distribution of the 19 themes over the entire session was then presented. One of the more interesting aspects of this study was that occurrence of novel figurative language increased throughout the session while frequency of frozen figures of speech decreased. In a later follow-up study, Barlow, Pollio, and Fine divided a one hour therapy session into segments consisting of 10 communication units where one communication unit is a single dyadic exchange.

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They then used trained raters to first identify the presence of both novel and frozen figurative language and a separate group of therapist judges to identify the occurrence of insight. A statistically significant relationship was found to exist between the occurrence of novel figurative language and insight. They also reported an alternating pattern of metaphor and insight where novel metaphoric activity was followed by responses containing insight, which in turn were followed by bursts of more novel metaphoric activity.

Even though metaphor plays a central role in most all of our communication, a review of the theoretical and empirical research indicates that few empirical investigations have 14 been undertaken to define the role of metaphor in communication Ortony, Reynolds, and Arter, Most results have been found to be inadequate and inconclusive.

Despite this conclusion and the fact that metaphor has been a relatively neglected area of inquiry, the study of figurative language is about to blossom. Because of the central role of verbal communication in supervision and the frequent usage of metaphor in spoken discourse, an investigation of the role of metaphor in the supervision process is well founded.

Using a single-case research design seemed appropriate since it has the potential to provide valuable insights into how information is communicated and processed by both supervisor and supervisee Tracy, Because the single-case design gives a more in-depth analysis it was selected by this researcher to analyze the role of metaphor in the formulation of insight during two supervision sessions. Previous studies analyzing the relationship between metaphor and insight have focused on therapist-client communications. This study focuses on the role of metaphor generation between supervisor and supervisee.

To this researcher's knowledge an in-depth study of metaphor in supervision has not been done. Chapter 3 Methods Methods in this study assess the co-occurrence of metaphoric language with incidence of identified insight within two supervision sessions. Within this chapter are described the subjects, research materials, procedure, and analysis employed.

Subjects Supervisor The supervisor was a 41 year-old male Ph. D counseling psychologist. He has 12 years of supervision experience and 14 years of counseling experience. The supervisor, during this study, was director of the counseling center of a large mid-western university. His responsibilities included teaching, counseling, counseling center administration, and supervision of counselors. The supervisor's orientation is holistic with an emphasis on imagery, affect, and process within sessions. Supervisee The supervisee was a 33 year old female doctoral student in counseling. She had approximately seven years counseling 15 16 experience with a master degree in counseling.

This was her third supervised counseling experience. She and the supervisor had met only briefly prior to the supervision, but he was her first choice of supervisors. Taped sessions used in this study were drawn from actual cases managed by the supervisee during practicum in a large mid-western university counseling center.

The supervisee's orientation was described as eclectic, including Gestalt, Rogerian, systems, and behavioral approaches. Research Materials The two taped and transcribed supervision sessions used in this study were from a previous study conducted by Martin They were drawn from eleven actual sessions recorded over a thirteen week study period. Supervisor and supervisee met weekly from February 5 to May 7, , for approximately one and one half hour for the purpose of case supervision.

Sessions would begin at 9 AM and were audio-taped by the supervisor. Upon completion of the series of sessions the supervisor and the supervisee were asked to independently identify the best and worst sessions. No criteria were suggested. Both indicated the second session as the best. The seventh and the sixth session were designated by the supervisor and the supervisee respectively as the worst 17 sessions. The sixth session was too indistinct to transcribe. On the basis of this selection process and the frequent usage of figurative language, the second session identified best by both and the seventh session identified as worst by the supervisor were used by this researcher.

To obtain accurate transcripts, the sessions were transcribed from the audio-tape, typed, corrected, and retyped. Both supervisor and supervisee signed an informed consent statement permitting the use of the recording and transcripts for research purposes. In order to preserve anonymity and confidentiality, the transcripts did not include any identifying information about supervisor, supervisee, or client.

Procedure Student Raters Three graduate students from a large mid-western university practicum class were trained as raters to identify figurative language using the manual and procedures developed by Barlow, Kerlin, and Pollio Training of the raters took place during three one hour sessions, conducted by this reseacher, using materials and sample tests from the training manual. Independent practice and open discussion were encouraged during the training sessions. It was emphasized is that there were no right or wrong answers but that the practice was to help them develop a system within the group to identify occurrence of figurative language.

Upon completing the training sessions the raters independently identified incidence of figurative language in different segments of test materials shown in Appendix A. Agreement between raters was determined by using a Kappa Statistic Cohen, Kappas for independent identification of figurative language for all three pairs of raters were. However since these Kappas were established on independent judgements, and this study reguired the raters to first make an independent identification of metaphor and then to meet as a group and reach a concensus to establish an occurrence of metaphor, these Kappas were deemed acceptable by this reseacher.

Upon completion of the training sessions the graduate student raters were given copies of the transcribed research materials. The raters were allowed to make their independent identifications of figurative language at their own pace away from the group meetings. After the 19 independent identifications were made the three raters would meet and establish agreement or disagreement of incidence of figurative language on each occurrence.

When two or more raters agreed after discussion that a word or phrase was figurative, an incidence of figurative language was established. Because of the amount of time required to complete this process and the limited availability of graduate student raters, the established identification process was not completed. The independent identifications were completed by the raters with the final agreement based on concurrence of two or more raters being made by this researcher.

About one-half of the transcribed materials was reviewed and discussed by the raters to establish figurative language. This process identified the occurrence of figurative language in both transcripts. After the occurrences of figurative language were established this researcher, using the guidelines in the Training Manual for Identifying Figurative Language Barlow, Kerlin, and Pollio, , categorized each incidence as either novel or frozen.

An original contribution by the speaker to the content and context of the communication would constitute a novel usage of figurative language.

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Frozen figurative words or phrases may at one time have been novel but through repeated usage have 20 become commonly accepted parts of the language. For example, "head of state" or "foot of bed" represent original phrases that through repeated usage have become frozen. Therapist raters A different group of three trained therapist raters were asked to identify occurrences of insight in the sessions. Two of the professional therapists identified their orientation as psycho-dynamic while the third rater was self- identified as being psychoanalytic in orientation.

Each therapist has 30 years or more in professional practice. The professional therapist-raters were given the two transcripts and audio-tape copies of the supervision sessions and asked to identify incidences of insight while reading the transcripts and listening to the taped sessions. The professionals were instructed to underline identified occurrences of insight on the typed transcripts.

These initial identifications were made independently. An operational definition of insight was prepared by this researcher and given to each professional rater. The operational definition is included in Appendix B. This definition was given to offer some common parameters for the identification process. It was emphasized that this reseacher was relying on the professional clinical judgement of the raters to locate the points of insight. After the independent identifications of insight were completed by the professional raters, a session was scheduled to determine 21 common agreement of significant transactions.

During this meeting the professional therapists gave their reasons for selecting certain transactions as insightful. Through this discussion process a final level of agreement between professional raters was established. The professional raters could change their original opinion during this time and were not reguired to reach a concensus.

An incidence of insight was established when two or more of the professional raters were in agreement on an independent occurrence. If any part of a single response was identified as insightful the entire response was coded as an incidence of insight.