Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Robert L. Betz

Second Advisor

Dr. Joseph Morris

Third Advisor

Dr. Thomas Van Valey


Resistance and opposition have long characterized the adolescent population in general and the population of delinquent offenders specifically. Family therapy has been used successfully to change delinquent families and paradoxical techniques have been used successfully to treat resistant clients suffering from a variety of symptoms. This two-factor randomized study examined the effects of three treatment conditions, e.g., 6 months probation (control group), probation plus family therapy without an ending paradoxical directive, and probation plus family therapy with an ending paradoxical directive. These treatments were applied to first offender and repeat offender groups of delinquents and their families on individual perceptions of family environment was measured by the Family Environment Scale (FES) (Moos & Moos, 1981). Subjects were 28 adjudicated delinquent offender families--a total of 67 individuals.

Analyses of the data found significant differences between the paradoxical therapy group and the control group on the Cohesion Scale and the mother/son Incongruence score of the FES. Significant differences were also found between the first offender group and the repeat offender group on the Independence and Moral/Religious Emphasis Scales.

It was concluded that paradoxical family therapy produced a decrease in perceptions of family cohesiveness for first offenders, whereas the other two treatment conditions produced no change. It was also concluded that paradoxical family therapy increased the differences in perceptions of the family environment between mothers and sons, suggesting that systemic change was occurring. A separate analysis of 12 counselor style characteristics lead to the conclusion that the above differences were found to be the result of the treatment condition rather than differences in client perceptions of counselor satisfaction.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Counseling Commons