Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services


Increasingly, insurance companies, legislators, and funding agencies have examined the efficacy of psychotherapy and counseling, and have moved towards the briefer forms of therapy. Though some clinicians resist a move to greater accountability, the majority are concerned with providing an effective service to individuals, couples, and families experiencing biopsychosocial difficulties. This study involved the development of an instrument that will assist therapists in determining a therapeutic focus, which is seen as an important component in brief psychotherapy.

There were two distinct phases to this study. In Phase One, intake interviews at a large Midwestern university counseling center were audiotaped. Using a content analysis these interviews were examined using Budman and Gurman's (1986) Interpersonal-Developmental-Existential model as a coding strategy. Client statements were then translated into item form, using the client's actual statement with changes made to fit the item response options. In Phase Two, the test constructed, the 129 item IDE Assessment Inventory (IDEA), was given to 394 undergraduate psychology students. Items were analyzed using Principal Components Analysis, a correlation matrix of item to scale Pearson correlation coefficients, and a measure of scale homogeneity, the separation index. Estimates of scale reliability were made using Chronbach's coefficient alpha.

Results showed that the four scales were relatively homogeneous and reliable. Using the item analysis statistics, items were moved, deleted or retained. In the final obtained composition there were 16 items in the Interpersonal scale, 14 in the Developmental, 15 in Existential, and 20 in the Defense Style scale. Further research is needed in using the IDE Assessment Form with actual counseling clients, to determine its utility. Additionally, future studies will be aimed at establishing construct validity of the inventory.