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A Phenomenological Analysis of the Experience of Pivotal Moments in Therapy as Defined by Clients*

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This study was concerned with the clarification of the experience of pivotal moments in therapy. By pivotal moment is understood an event within the therapeutic process that leads to enduring change experienced as an important improvement in the life-experience of the client. Retrospective descriptions of a therapeutic process were obtained from three clients in which a distinguishable chain of events could be discerned that the clients identified as a pivotal moment. The descriptive material was analyzed according to the descriptive phenomenological psychological method developed by Amedeo Giorgi on the basis of the philosophical phenomenology of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty. The results show that the pivotal moment is experienced as a figural moment within the therapeutic process where a serious challenge to old assumptions takes place, necessitating a break from old cognitive, affective and behavioral patterns in a context of trust and safety within the therapeutic relationship.

Affiliations: 1: Saybrook University


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