From intention to action: A mixed methods study of clients' experiences of goal-oriented practices

Di Malta, Gina; Oddli, Hanne W. and Cooper, Mick (2019). From intention to action: A mixed methods study of clients' experiences of goal-oriented practices. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 75(10) pp. 1770–1789.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.22821

Abstract

Objectives: Goal‐oriented practices are central to many contemporary psychotherapies. The aim of this study was to explore clients’ experiences of this work.
Design: Mixed methods, with a main qualitative part and a smaller quantitative component. Participants were 22 clients in integrative psychotherapy (15 females, 6 males, 1 “other”). Semistructured interviews after session 4 and at endpoint were analyzed thematically. On the basis of the identified themes, “goal attitude” scores were developed and their correlations with outcomes investigated.
Results: Goal‐oriented practices could help clients move from intention to action through increased awareness and focus, setting manageable tasks, and progress monitoring. However, they had the potential to hinder clients’ awareness of their intentions, feel irrelevant, disorientating, or demotivating. Effectiveness hinged on client's management of their expectations, flexible working, and time. Positive attitudes toward goal‐oriented practices were associated with improvement.
Conclusions: Goal‐oriented practices can enhance psychotherapeutic work but need to be individually tailored and implemented collaboratively.

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