What Can We Learn About Therapeutic Change From Case History Data? The Research Jury Method with the Couple Case of "Carl" and "Sandra"


  • Arthur C. Bohart
  • Lindsey Shenefiel
  • Marco Alejandro




research jury, Emotion-Focused Couple Therapy, psychotherapy process, psychotherapy outcome, qualitative research, case study, clinical case study


The purpose of this study was to explore the usefulness of using case history data to assess change in psychotherapy. This was a follow up to previous investigations utilizing a "research jury method" to evaluate psychotherapy outcome. Three judges studied the critical first five sessions of a ten session video of emotionally focused therapy with a couple, Carl and Sandra. They took intensive notes and then functioned as a "jury"” to evaluate the evidence. They concluded that the evidence from within the case history is strong that the couple changed for the better. The evidence also supported the conclusion that therapy contributed to the change, although, by their judgment, at the "preponderance of evidence" level. Finally, the evidence was used to evaluate how therapy contributed to change. It was concluded that the most likely factors contributed by the therapist were her helping the couple see that each other’s underlying intentions were positive, and by fostering their hope.  Evidence also supported the contributions the clients themselves made through their taking responsibility for themselves, through their exploring their past experiences, and through their creativity. Limitations are discussed and conclusions for the evaluation of psychotherapy are drawn.

Author Biographies

Arthur C. Bohart

Arthur C. Bohart

Lindsey Shenefiel

Lindsey Shenefiel

Marco Alejandro

Marco Alejandro






Arthur Bohart's "Research Jury Method," Part 2