The effect of counseling skills training on U.S. Army squad leaders using the interpersonal process recall instructional series : influencing human interaction

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Davids, Lawrence R.
Chartres, Patricia Self
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
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The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the usefulness of the Interpersonal Process Recall training program in developing counseling skills with U.S. Army squad leaders. A secondary purpose was to examine applicability of Interpersonal Process Recall training with subjects having little or no prior counseling skills training.A review of paraprofessional and nonprofessional literature indicated the effectiveness of lay persons, in various mental health settings. The use of videotape technology has indicated several advantages for its use in training programs; however no significant differences were reported between audio and video techniques on trainee response criteria. The increased use of simulation methods in counselor training programs was reported from the literature. Related theoretical positions were discussed including the concepts of Rogers, Bruner, Bandura, and Kagan. Research relative to the efficacy of the IPR method indicated its validity as a training model for a variety of populations.The study was conducted at the Twelfth Engineer Battalion, United States Army, at Dexheim, Germany. The Population consisted of forty squad leaders and was randomly divided into treatment and control groups. A posttest-only control group design was used in this study. The treatment consisted of 21 hours of IPR training extended over a three-week period of time. At the conclusion of the training each subject in the treatment and control groups conducted a 45 minute taped interview with a volunteer client followed by the client completing a Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventory. The tapes were rated by three doctoral students who achieved high levels of interrater reliability on the Counselor Verbal Response Scale.The Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventories were then scored in order to determine the clients' perception of the quality of the counseling relationship that had been established. The means of the client scores were analyzed by using a one-way ANOVA test for significant difference. No significance was found when the means of the treatment and control groups were compared. The audio tapes were rated on the four dichotomized dimensions of the Counselor Verbal Response Scale (CVRS) by using a seven minute segment from the middle of each audio tape. The means of the raters judging the treatment and control groups were treated by using the one-way analysis of variance. Significance at the .05 level was found on the affective verbal response dimension. No significance was found on exploratory, listening, or honest labeling dimensions.Eight of the nine hypotheses failed to show a significant difference between treatment and control groups relative to the subjects' levels of regard, empathic understanding, congruence, and unconditionality, on the Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventory; and the subjects' exploratory, listening, and honest labeling responses on the Counselor Verbal Response Scale. Conclusions based on the findings indicated that hypothesis eight relative to subjects' affective responses was the only hypothesis to show significance. Caution should be applied in the interpretation of this finding since further analysis of the data for the affective dimension indicated that one treatment group score made the difference that resulted in significance. The lack of significance for the hypotheses presented little evidence from this study to support the use of IPR training with this population. Subjective questionnaires from the treatment subjects indicated positive reactions toward the IPR training experience. The subjects' supervisors and subordinates were asked to report their observations of the subjects' interpersonal behavior for the five week period following the training. Results indicated approximately an equal number of positive and negative observations which showed little or no observable change in the subjects.The results of the study pointed out the need for further research relative to the usefulness of IPR training with specific military populations. The limitations of the study included: (1) the population studied was specific in its characteristics which limited generalization of the results; (2) there was an absence of comparable research with this population; (3) the instructors had limited experience conducting IPR training sessions prior to the study; (4) the training period of 21 hours was too brief especially within a military setting where military priorities resulted in subject absenteeism; (5) the small N of 16 used in the study restricted the generalization of results; and (6) the lack of random assignment of volunteer clients could have contributed to the results on the dependent measures. Future research of this nature should consider comparing other training programs with the IPR model.3