Cand.polit. Philip Anders Dammen's dissertation for the degree of Dr.Philos.
Avhandlingens tittel er:
A study of psychological distress and mental change on the basis of individual change through treatment. A contribution to the development of a scientific approach alleviating psychological problems. A study conducted with a mixed design.
Summary of thesis:
The thesis is a study of psychological distress and mental change, on the basis of individual change through treatment. The work is a contribution to the development of a scientific approach alleviating psychological problems. It is a study conducted with a mixed design.
The goal of the thesis was to explain and understand what happened in successful therapeutic processes, in particular on the call patterns occurring in 11 therapy sessions.
The thesis is written in the fields of therapy and mental change.
The thesis seeks to answer the following questions: How is the experience of the mental problems built up mentally? What happens psychologically with the clients when they achieve mental changes as a result of the treatment?
A combined design was applied which was inspired by Grounded Theory (GT). This opens the possibility of combining a qualitative research design, with emphasis on the interpretation of quantitative results derived from descriptive statistics. Emphasis was placed on the distribution of different types of statements in the conversation between the client and the therapist. Emphasis was also placed on the results that could be traced in the treatment in terms of mental change. The following methods were used: a clinical approach with some experimental features inspired by the brief therapy traditions. One approach, inspired by the GT, was used to develop the theories of the psyche, and to determine the types of statements which should be included in the therapeutic sessions. And a quantitative approach with emphasis on descriptive statistics was used in order to examine the distribution of the various types of statements between therapist and client.
Conclusions and findings
The experience of mental distress seems to be a result of access to potentially separable and observable mental elements that contain emotions. Mental change in treatment may be considered as a result of changes in the accessibility to these mental elements. The mapping of, the access to and the changing of these mental elements can be facilitated through treatment.
The findings in the dissertation will be important in understanding the experience of mental conditions and ailments, and of the phenomenon mental change, more widely. The findings may therefore be of interest in education, special education, leadership, communication, sports psychology and performance-focused courses etc.
The work was performed on the basis of the researcher`s own therapeutic practice. The research has not received financial aid. The work has been carried out in parallel with a project at the Norwegian Academy of Music, with the goal to develop knowledge that may facilitate the reduction of coping-related psychological stress among musicians, dancers and actors.
For summary in Norwegian, see: