Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services


Bateson's (1979) method of double description is utilized to examine narrative accounts of participants' mediation experiences, as a way to investigate significant change events. Comparing what changes to what remains more stable suggests that temporal differences are an indicator of contextualization, providing a framework for how meaning is made meaningful. Case studies of two of these structured interview transcripts are intensively analyzed, with triangulating measures of different logical type. Specifically, these include narrative analysis of key story points, temporal analysis of the frequency and distribution of in vivo codes to yield repetitive themes, and a modified lag analysis of codes in joint proximity to yield reliable thematic clusters. Results are integrated by means of grounded theory procedures of open and axial coding, arriving at semi-saturated categories dealing with temporal enactment of meaning-making.

A lexicon of temporal devices for the social construction of common frames of reference between speaker and listener is developed. These are partitioned into three types of temporal progression (i.e., sequence, episodic structure, and co-occurrence) and three types of temporal duration (i.e., repetition, framing, and selection/deselection). Defining conditions and exemplars of each are provided, along with further permutations, including transposition, chained incidents, rival narratives, adjacency, inclusio, asymmetrical bracketing, and chiasm. These provide varied narrative solutions to address the limited attentional focus of a listener.

An initial hypothesis—that longer duration meanings contextualize shorter—is given provisional support, in that it appears useful to construct and compare relative durations, with longer duration lying deeper in a hierarchy of logical types. A second hypothesis—that an increase in duration means an increase in perceived significance—is not sustained, in that deselection (and thereby decreasing a meaning's duration) can nonetheless be a significant vehicle for therapeutic change.

The study amounts to building a set of tautological linkages that “time matters,” and mapping descriptive territories such as narrative accounts onto it, with resulting increments in explanatory understanding. It is shown how participants shaped their accounts via temporality, by selecting themes, contextualizing, repeating, grouping, ordering, and weaving into stories. The tautology is reflexively applied to itself, and avenues for future theoretical sampling are suggested.