This is Saturday, January 28, 1990 in a small town, just outside


of the City of Strasbourg, France, where we will be conducting a nine-


day intensive training program in the person-centered approach under


the umbrella of the Cross-Cultural Communication Institute of which


Chuck Devonshire is the director. 


     Ruth:  This will not be new for the people with whom I was


talking this morning at breakfast so I hope you will excuse


repetition.  This interest of mine in the inner process of change


really began about 1981.  I suddenly realized that sometimes I could


read a book or part of a book and say, "Oh!  That's a very interesting


idea!" and pass on.  Perhaps a week or a month later, I could remember


only vaguely what had been interesting at the time.  But, another day


I could pick up that same book and read the same passage and suddenly


it would hit, "Ah!  That is a new idea!"  And, immediately would begin


to make connections and my imagination would start running and I


became very excited about this new idea which I read in passing and


put away some time before.


     I began asking myself the question, "What makes the difference? 


What has changed?  The book is the same book.  That passage is the


same passage."  But suddenly it came alive for me and became a part of




     Over those years, between about 1980-81 and four years ago, this


whole thing, this whole idea, this whole concept was stirring around


inside of me and I didn't do much with it.  Then we decided to get a


group together who was interested in this question.  After two years


of meeting about four or five times a year in an intensive kind of


weekend, we felt we were getting into research on that question and we


discovered that instead of getting into a research on that question,


we were engaging ourselves in an intensive group in which change was


taking place in all of us as it does in these intensive groups.  It


became more of a group than it did in a progress in research.  Then


some of the people decided that they weren't really interested in


research, that they were more interested in bringing themselves and


their conflicts and their problems into that group. 


     Four of us from that group of about 12 decided that we would meet


at other times and more intensely.  Two of those four people decided


that it was becoming too much for them and two of us continued.  We


had become dissatisfied with the inquiry into the actual process,


thinking about what that process was in ourselves.  So, we invited


members of the original group to volunteer if they would be willing to


give time for intensive interviewing which would be videotaped in


which they talked with an interviewer about a significant change which


had taken place in their lives.


     When we asked that, we had no idea where it would take us.  We


volunteered (the two of us who were the researchers) to include


ourselves in the group to be interviewed on the inner process of


change.  We felt that if it was going to be person-centered research,


that the people who had thought of themselves as researchers would


also be participants and those who had volunteered to be participants


would be in fact researchers.


     Bob, the other person who was a graduate student who was working


with me, who was excellent in videotaping because that had been his


profession earlier, said that he would do the technical work and I


would do the interviewing. 


     We did a good deal of reading to try to discover what research


had been done in this way and we found that many people had engaged in


this participatory research which was very different from the usual


scientific research in which many participants would be interviewed in


a kind of quick, superficial way or who would answer questionnaires,


which would then be tabulated and statistics devised as a result of




     What we wanted to do was to accept each person as the authority


on his/her own process of change and we said if we can enter into the


experience of the person who is being interviewed and really


experience with that person what has taken place in the process of


change, then we will have a validity of a different kind.  We accepted


the assumption which Carl had stated that the only reality is the


person's perception of his reality.  That was a major difference


between the person-centered approach and any of the other therapies


like analysis, for example, which was based on an assumed structure. 


Because Carl, in developing the theory of the hypothesis of the


person-centered approach, had developed the theory or the hypothesis


out of experience with many clients and said because this seems to be


true in the therapeutic interviews and experiences with many clients


which have been reviewed by noninvolved persons but someone outside


who had reviewed the transcription of interviews and the client's own


perception of what happened in therapy.


     By putting all of those together, Carl and his colleagues evolved


the hypothesis out of which the theory of the client-centered


approach, at that time, grew.  He had established certain procedures


and was very careful to include enough of the so-called scientific


research to give it credibility with the established psychology.


     Carl was the first of the psychologists, therapists, researchers


to tape therapeutic interviews and to submit them to very careful


scrutiny and analysis.  Based on that, we talked with Carl about our


idea and he was most enthusiastic.  He said, "It is very important, in


my opinion, that from here on people who are interested in this


approach experiment with different kinds of research to carry further


than I have been able to do."


     What we have done is to interview these five people in


considerable depth, at least two interviews of two hours each in which


the interviewer only introduced the question.  We have discussed the


purpose here of your living again through the experience or


experiences which you consider to be a major change.  The interviewer


then only clarifying, never interpreting, and following as closely as


possible the experience as related by the person interviewed.


     As we proceeded with that process, we discovered that the same


kind of thing was happening in the research interview as happens in


therapy.  In fact, one person who had no contact with the person-


centered approach after the interview said, "How would you have done


it if you had been my therapist?"


     I was surprised to be able to answer, "The same," which was a


first point that impressed us.  We found that research in this person-


centered approach varies in most essentials only in the very careful


attention afterwards in recording the narrative and trying to get the


chronological progression.


     What we did after transcribing all of these interviews, was to


(and this word apparently is a difficult one but it's the best word I


can think of) immerse ourselves in the content of the interviews with


one person until we felt we had really, each of us, entered into and


were living inside the world of that person.


     When we felt that each of us had done that, which required many,


many readings with very close attention, we then, each of us


independently wrote the narrative of that person in the first person


using the word "I" so that we were actually living in that person's


experience as nearly as we could.  When we finished that, we put the


two together. What one of us had missed, another one had picked up. 


Then we gave that narrative, in our first person, to the person who


had been interviewed, keeping the same words, introducing no new


terminology, all words of the person herself, gave it to the person


and said, "Please read this carefully and when you have read it, one


of us will talk with you about changes you wish to make or deletions


or additions so that you feel it is the closest to your intent that


you can get."


     Then we transcribed that recording and by using a word processor,


we were able then to make the changes that the person wished.  We


accepted that as the record of the person's experience in the inner


process of change.  We also, because we were interested in the


question of facilitation of change, added another complication and


that was what were the clarifications, statements or questions on the


part of the interviewer which were followed immediately by a new


insight on the part of the person being interviewed, the person


saying, "Oh, yes!  I really never saw that before!"


     What we are trying to do from there is to go through the same


process now with the five different persons interviewed and to see


what are common patterns, if any, in this process of change.  What


were some of the experiences that precipitated the change or


facilitated it and possibly what were some of the blocks, if any, were


experienced?  Here, again, accepting only the words of the person.


     Thus far, we have been very careful not to make judgements or


generalizations but there is one that we have not been able to pass by


without its jumping out at us.  We are trying to keep a completely


open mind on this and not seal ourselves into any pattern.  But the


thing that we have noticed thus far in all of those we have studied is


that each person in one way or another experienced a crisis, a point


at which that person said, "I can't live with this any longer the way


it is.  Something has to change." 


     Now those came about under very different circumstances. 


Sometimes it came in a burst of light of insight and sometimes the


person said it was a series of small changes like step-by-step that


led to this major change.


     That is the only commonality that we have noted so far but we are


still in the process and probably will not finish even this part of it


until the late part of the summer. 


     I think another important thing that we are discovering for


ourselves because there were no guidelines to this complex kind of


inquiry, is that we have been living through a process which by trial


and error, trying this way to get at the meaning, trying another way


to get the material together, we have been evolving a kind of


methodology for this kind of complex research which has so many


dimensions because the change continues over a period of time.  The


change continues as a part of the research itself and the problem


which we are facing right now is which piece of that to cut off and


say, "That's as far as we can go now," and realize that it's only a


piece of the whole experience which will go on as long as the person




     Our temptation was to keep going back to the person and saying,


"What happened next?"  The further we got into that, the more we


realized that we had to set definite limits in order to accomplish the


small piece that we had set ourselves to.


     So, this has been our experience thus far in this new paradigm


research which is diametrically opposed to the traditional,


scientific, statistical kind of research in which the individual gets


completely lost in averages and more complex than the new paradigm


research which is based on one experience which has been done many


times.  We're not sure where we're coming out and that's part of the


excitement of it, I think.


     Among the various terms for the new paradigm research which we


have decided probably fits our kind of study best is called heuristic


research which may be familiar to some of you.


     I think that is about as much as I can say about this process in


which we've been engaged and if you have questions, I'll be glad to


try to answer them, if you have ideas you want to exchange.


     Woman in audience:  I would like to know if the participants for


that research have had before client-centered therapies or other types


of therapies.


     Ruth:  Some had and some hadn't.  The way the persons were chosen


was by volunteering.  We asked a group who would be interested in


committing a big piece of time and in submitting themselves to


intensive work, if they felt that they had had a major life-changing


experience which they would be willing to reveal. 


      One person I know had been involved in analysis before and she's


the one who asked, "If you are interviewing me if we were in a therapy


session, how would you have done it?"  And, when I said to her, "The


same," she said, "I can't believe it because all you did was to listen


to me and occasionally asked to be sure that you understood.  But,"


she said, "I did change during that interview.  I got new insight."


     I know that two of the others had not been in therapy before so I


think there was a natural selection there.


     Man in Audience:  I wanted to ask you with this heuristic


research method, what difference does it make with the process of


introspective psychology?


     Ruth:  I really don't know that I can answer that.  What do you


have in mind as introspective psychology? 


     Man in Audience:  American psychological research have insisted


very much on the attitude in behavioral change, that the tendency 


historically was a reaction against a whole stream of research where


the psychologists tried to describe what they have observed himself as


a change.


     Ruth:  Yes, the difference there as I see your explanation is the


same as has been true many times in describing the therapeutic process


of change, of personality change (I suppose personality and behavior)


is that that is from the point of view of the therapist and this is


totally from the point of view of the person and the researcher or the


therapist is committed to using no words that the person himself did


not use which seems like a great difference. 


     Woman in audience:  There is a word I have not understood.  The


word heuristic.  It's a process of discovery.


     Ruth:  Yes.


     Woman in audience:  I wondered whether it is important to remark


that it is by oneself on oneself in this heuristic process.


     Ruth:  Yes.  Discovery is the word.  An experiencing again of the


process of change and discovery of one's self and what the researcher


does in this situation is to discover that process as if he were the


other person.


     Man in audience:  I would like to say in terms of perception of


inner change, I would like to go away from the heuristical aspect.  I


want to say that I do not have a very clear perception of the change


within myself.  I can have it through other people.  The formulative


with precision what has changed.  I would rather say, "I rediscovered


something rather than I changed."  I would rather formulate that way.


     Ruth:  I think a very important part of this is we have found in


our study, is that there is a progressive awareness, a progressive


state of awareness that goes on in a person who has become a part of


this research study and awareness seems to enter in again.  It's one


of those elements that enters in all across a height awareness of what


goes on in me, recognizing feelings for themselves and relating those


feelings, those insights.


     (Beginning of second side of tape - missed question)




     Ruth:  I think that ties in and I'm going to digress now some of


the theory of the person-centered approach.  Carl spoke about


congruence or realness as being one of the qualities or attitude,


characteristics, which he felt needed to be present in order for


personality change to take place.  Awareness is a very important part


of that term congruence which means really a being aware of the


feelings, the emotions that are flowing in me at the moment, in being


aware of those, to have within myself the choice of how I shall


express those feelings.


      Realness, as Carl defined it, is a deep awareness of what is


going on in me in the moment.  So, I know if I'm angry.  I know if I


am deeply hurt and I can decide then what I am going to do with that


feeling.  I think a part of what happens in this kind of research is


that both the researcher and the participant in the research, is


continually gaining a heightened awareness.


      Man in audience:  It's quite clear.  I would like you to come


back on those crises you mentioned happening in the person during its


growth.  You said that about those crises, you could only say at this


stage, at some moments the person was getting aware of being in a


certain state for which the person says, "I cannot bear it any longer. 


Get out of it."  In the present state of your research, can you say


that there is an indication of the direction in which this goes?                


     Particularly, to describe the process of growth as a trip within


one's self, as the passage in the "Eye of the Hurricane."  Is


generally getting out of the crisis taking you more into internal and


movement towards more inner one's self?


     Ruth:  Yes, I would say that's true.  You begin to question. 


What is this?  What can I do?  Where can I go next?  Where am I?  What


is it that's so oppressive I can't live with it? 


     One of the women with whom we are working right now discovered in


this process that she had been sexually abused by an uncle when she


was about two or three years old.  She simply knew of certain terrors


that she had and she began to get even physical problems for which no


one could discover the cause.  As she went on in this process over a


period of about four years from the time our group started, this


experience of hers as a child came into her awareness.  It became very


clear to her. 


     Then she began to realize the connection between that and her


physical manifestations.  Also, her need to be very grown-up when she


was scared inside and her process of change has been quite rapid since


she pulled that into her awareness.  She reached the point where she


even felt that she might be physically handicapped.  That's very


sketchy, I know.  But I hope it's an answer to your question.        


     That's jumping over a great many things but going into detail


with all of it would take too long.  When we have worked through far


enough in this, we are going to present it very briefly before the


American Psychology Association in August.  When we get it into some


form, it would be available.  I don't know the form yet.


     Male in audience:  From the moment one says I cannot go on, could


you find something from this moment (I'm sure you've found many


things) comes, I suppose, a decision making.  Is there anything which


is similar between several people interviewed?  How does it go from


that moment to the decision making?


     I would like to add something to this, another question.  So,


this can be a very important point, this decision making.  The first


is matters of change and the other must be death.  Do you find such


badness in this research and how these two factors relate to each


other?  I only feel trapped with, not with your question, but with


your answer.


     Ruth:  Choosing suicide would be one decision.  Do I get the


connection?  Yes.  Suicide would be one choice to make and what leads


to progressive, positive change would be a part of your question.  Is


that right?


     Man in audience:  Decision making, yes.


     Ruth:  I think decision making is probably too precise a term


because it's not so much a matter of deciding, "Well, now.  I can't go


any further this way.  I'm going to do that." 


     It seems to have, so far, and I'm very tentative about this, but


it seems that from that point, a person begins to look around and to


begin searching for what is possible for me.  This one person


particularly said that she felt that she was climbing a high mountain


and she was trying to get to a hold in the stone, in the rock, and it


kept crumbling and she felt that there was absolutely no hope of her


ever getting to the top.  What she wanted to do was to lie down and


rest but she felt if she lay down to rest that she would die, so she


had to keep going.  That's when the pain developed in one of her legs


and doctors recommended operations.  It was a slow progression from


this point.


      So, I say a decision is too precise.  It was a whole process


that was begun there to the point where she's come out a long way from


there, feeling that she's become much more adult.  She's accepted


certain physical parts of her problem, certain emotional parts, having


to put one foot ahead of the other all the time when she couldn't do




     Man in audience:  Could it be said that she accepted that she had


performed here?


     Ruth:  Yes and she began to know what that reality was, her own. 


Now, the other thing which seems to be a part is that there needs to


be some kind of support and response from someone or one's that's


outside.  She felt, for example, that her parents didn't listen to


her, didn't believe her when she told them of the sexual abuse and so


she closed in and became grown up herself so she could take care of


everything.  Gradually she's been able to, as she said, "make friends


with that scared little girl," which is another matter of finding her


own reality.


     This has come in a series and rather slowly over a period of a




     Woman in audience:  I would also like to ask in those moments of


change, the passage from a state of sort of abandonment, resignation


to the point where I began to have hope something can be done, from


resignation to hope, the turning point of resignation to hope.


     Ruth:  Yes.  I just went back to a question there.  I'm not


leaving this now.  But the question, the dual question which one


choice would be death and one would be a growthful change as we


understand growthful change.  Death might be.  It comes very close and


I hesitate to bring this in because it's another complication, but it


brings us back to what the Belgian chemist/biologist, Fricasheen,


described as an organism, Carl said, "including the human organism" to


him, that suddenly something happens to or intrudes into the life of


an organism which precipitates a change in which the organism may


disintegrate or it may reorganize on a more complex level.  The thing


which I'm not ready to say at the present time so quickly and this is


more tentative, is that is the point at which it seems likely that


some kind of environmental response to that organism can make a


difference, feeling that someone understands that I'm not totally


alone in this.  There are people that care about me even if I am a


mess and I'm not able to say that but it would seem from what we have


heard so far from these people that such a response from someone or


one's was at a crucial point, was very important.


     That was a digression, I guess.  Whether it was or not, that ties


in to a whole other thing about the relationship of change in a


person, psychological, emotional change and the new theory of science


called chaos, which contradicts or throws into confusion the theory of


probability and predictability in science and mathematics and that's a


whole other fascinating ramification.


     In other words, it may be that if we follow through this concept


of the process of change in a human being and we move into this whole


concept of a new way of thinking in science, we'll find that many of


the same processes that take place in so-called pure sciences,


mathematics and physics and applied physics, chemistry, economics,


population growth, also apply to psychology.  Mind boggling, isn't it?


     Man in audience:  What you're saying is very close to the result


of the research on systemic approach of development of growth which


makes the growth as a progressive developmental complexity in one




     Ruth:  Excepting that it's not completely compatible with the


evolution concept of changes in the species and change of life on the


planet which scientists, of course, are believing now are not simply


the result of evolution but that cataclysmic conditions have entered


in that have changed the direction of the development of some species


or wiped them out.  So, I just think that we're living in a very


exciting time and all of these things coming together and the


possibilities for knowing and discovering and understanding more about


the complexities, not only in ourselves, but in the planet we live on


and the universe and the universes.  It makes one feel that we are


just at the beginning of something, which I guess we are!


     Man in audience:  I have another question.  I will try to say it


shortly.  I don't know where Gendling and his tactic focusing could


describe what is the differences focusing and the process what


happened with this searching.


     Ruth:  I don't know what you mean by focusing.


     Man in audience:  I'd like to know, Ruth, what was it your crisis


in this searching program?  How was developing this searching and




     Ruth:  What was the crisis in this process of research?


     Man in audience:  When you decide this doesn't work, we have to


drop out.  You mentioned one.                              


     Ruth:  well, back when we started with the research group and


part of the group was more interested in therapy than they were in the


term "research" and the moment we tried to talk about what is the


process of change, they said, "We're not interested in that."


     We said, "What are we doing?"


     This obviously is not where we wanted to go and that's when the


group separated from the large group and the smaller group separated


itself out.  I don't know if it was a crisis but it was certainly a


real problem.  We were bewildered for a while when we realized the


mass of material we had, but only five people, because originally we


had thought we would have more persons involved.  I think that was one


point.  We said we'll have to limit the number because the stacks were


getting like this.


     From there, I think it's been like finding our way in a forest


somehow.  I think after the first shock of realizing the tremendous


mass of material and that we didn't know how to deal with it and also


the need to know where we were going.  We had to decide that if we


were doing this kind of study, we had to be satisfied to go down a


path until we felt, "Well, that's not getting us where we want to go.  


We'll have to try another one and accept that and not try to see too


far ahead at any one moment."  I think that was one of our




     Then we began to realize that all of these mistakes we had made,


all of these false starts we had made, were not failures but a part of


the process. 


     Woman in audience:  What I liked in that research, I have a


feeling that there are no basic assumptions to start with,      


process you discover.  It's the first time.


     Ruth:  Yes, Phillip's discovery.  That's what it had to be.  When


we tried to assume that something would happen, we found it didn't




     Woman in audience:  I also think that very often I feel that


scientists have assumptions which they've checked and confirmed or


not.  I have the feeling that you        be carried by the


participants who spoke.  This is the first time I've heard of research


carried this way.


     Ruth:  That's the first time I have too!  That's what's made it


so difficult in some ways and so exciting in others.  We have debated


and we haven't decided yet, whether when we finish this, we bring


these five people together and then take a look at their interaction


and how they feel about the similarities and differences in their


experiences.  But that's off somewhere.


     Man in audience:  But you      also very sensitive    observation   


  of the human being with all that it implies that the human being is


not an object in the research.


     Ruth:  An active part.


     Man in audience:  I think you can produce a tremendous result


effects because my feeling about other psycho research which I believe


only I have a half trust in the result of those             research  


to a result that turn a human being into an object.         between


Gendling and 


     Ruth:  Gendling's focusing, as I understand it, which is not an


in depth study or knowledge of his work, certainly has a valid point


that the focusing or directing of one's awareness very consciously


directing it.  Am I right?


     Man in audience:  Yes.


     Ruth:  You know more about it, perhaps than I do.  Would you like


to say what it means to you - focusing?


     Woman in audience:  It describes inner change as growing       . 


Have you tried to describe why and how the client changes? 


     Ruth:  Certainly awareness is a very important element in that. 


     Man in audience:  I was interested in what is the difference in


what you found and what he described?


     Ruth:  I don't think I can answer that.  I don't think I know


enough about this, the details of his work.  I know that he worked


with Carl for a while and kind of broke off and emphasized this one


part which I think is important but I don't think it's all of it and


I'm sorry I can't be more specific about that.