Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counseling and Personnel

First Advisor

Dr. Robert F. Hopkins

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Betz

Third Advisor

Dr. Richard Williams


This study's purpose was to determine if a type of cognitive therapy, Brief Perception Therapy, (Bullmer, 1980) could improve interpersonal perceptual accuracy and psychological adjustment in a substance abuse population. Thirty-five patients seeking inpatient treatment were randomly assigned to a treatment and a comparison group. Twenty-five patients completed the three week program, 13 in the treatment group and 12 in the comparison group. The treatment group received Group Brief Perception Therapy (GBPT) and the comparison group received Regular Group Therapy (RP). Therapists were experienced master's level psychologists and social workers trained in group treatment. GBPT groups used a programmed text, The Art of Empathy (Bullmer, 1975) as a guide and followed a structured group format.

The Affective Sensitivity Scale (ASS) was chosen for the study to measure interpersonal perception accuracy. The profile of Mood States (POMS), the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) and the Tennessee Self Concept Scale (TSCS) were used to measure psychological adjustment. A t test (two tailed) was used to determine significant differences between pretreatment and postreatment mean scores for both groups and posttreatment mean scores for each group with significance set at < .05.

No significant differences were found between pretreatment and posttreatment responses to measures of interpersonal perception accuracy for both groups. Two factors on the POMS, Tension-Anxiety and Depression-Rejection showed significant differences for the treatment group. No significant differences appeared in responses to posttest comparisons of the GBPT and RP groups on measures of interpersonal perception accuracy and psychological adjustment. Some trends toward significant differences were observed between pretest and posttest measures of psychological adjustment for the GBPT group. Trends toward significant differences between posttest measures of psychological adjustment for the GBPT and RP groups were noted.

The conclusions drawn from conducting this study suggest that a more structured approach to group therapy (GBPT) may be as effective as more traditional psychotherapy (RP) in improving psychological adjustment in a substance abuse population. Recommendations for further research included extending the length of the treatment beyond the three week period to allow more time for the patients to internalize the concepts and at the same time allow more time for the therapists to make stringent evaluations and more accurately assess the conceptions of the patients.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access