Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Clinical Psychology

Committee Chair

Robert A. Neimeyer

Committee Member

Neil E. Aronov

Committee Member

Kathryn H. Howell

Committee Member

Sara K. Bridges


This project entailed an intensive qualitative analysis of six-session psychotherapies conducted by three eminent humanistic psychotherapists working with bereaved clients. The Innovative Moments Coding System (IMCS), rooted in narrative therapy, is designed to measure change across therapy orientations. Research using the IMCS suggests that the psychotherapy change process occurs through the emergence, elaboration and expansion of identifiable change moments for a client -- innovative moments (IMs)--which present as exceptions to a client's presenting problematic narrative. There are 5 identified types of IMs: action, reflection, protest, reconceptualization and performing change. The current study aimed to inform theory regarding the patterns of IMs across three humanistic approaches--constructivist, person-centered and existential--when working with bereaved clients, while linking these patterns to observable change in each client's functioning. The alliance between each client and therapist was also assessed across the therapy process, showing consistently strong alliances across the three cases. Findings from the current study reinforce the salience of reflection, RC, and PC IMs in successful grief therapy cases, and also suggest the importance of meaning-making interventions in grief therapy. Clinical implications and suggestions for future research are also addressed.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.