Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 75 Issue 3 (September 2002), Pages 239-363

Psychotherapy and the interpersonal octagon (pages 349-363)

The interpersonal octagon is a theoretical structure within which relating is defined along a close/distant, horizontal axis and an upper/lower, vertical axis. Its eight octants are created by inserting intermediate positions between the four poles of the axes. The theory distinguishes between positive (competent) and negative (incompetent) relating. The Person's Relating to Others Questionnaire (PROQ2) measures negative relating. It has eight scales which correspond to the eight octants. Three NHS psychotherapycentres have routinely administered the PROQ2 to patients at the start and at the end of therapy over a number of years. In a combined sample of 219 patients from the three centres, significant drops in mean PROQ2 scores were recorded on six of the eight scales. Women patients had higher start of therapy scores than men but recorded larger drops. One centre tested a limited sample of 51 patients at the time of assessmentfor therapy and another limited sample of 56 patients at the time of follow‐up. In the first, no significant changes in mean scores were recorded from time of assessment to start of therapy. In the second, thedrop in mean scores at follow‐up was slightly less impressive than at the end of therapy.

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