College of Arts & Sciences

Date of Award

Spring 5-2001

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Kay E. Ketzenberger, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

James Olson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Linda Montgomery, Ph.D.

Abstract

The present study attempted to determine the effects of Experiential Therapy on emotional intelligence and self-esteem in adjudicated males and females aged 13 to 17. Twenty-four individuals participated in the study and were randomly assigned to either an experimental or control group. It was predicted that participants in the experimental group would display improvements in general self-esteem and emotional intelligence. The individuals in the experimental group received approximately 40 to 45 hours of Experiential Therapy. The control group continued with the normal JCC program. The Culture Free Self-Esteem Inventory 2 (CFSEI-2) and the BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory: Youth Version (BarOn EQ-I; YV) were used in a pretest/posttest form to measure various aspects of self-esteem and emotional intelligence. The results indicated that there was a not a significant improvement in general self-esteem or emotional intelligence, however there were significant improvements in the experimental group means in interpersonal skills, positive impression, and general mood while the control group made significant improvements in perception of parental approval.

Past literature supports the theory that Experiential Therapy is an effective means of improving self-esteem, however the results of this study indicate that it is not a sole mean of improving self esteem. Future research should focus on combining experiential therapy with individual therapy where the therapist is also involved in the facilitation of the experiential activities.

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