Title page for ETD etd-32698-143823

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Willard, G. Alan
Author's Email Address gwillard@vt.edu
URN etd-32698-143823
Title Using An Integrated Competency-Based Group Therapy Approach in Building Adult Caregiver Strengths
Degree PhD
Department Family and Child Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Blieszner, Rosemary Committee Chair
Koball, Elizabeth H. Committee Member
Protinsky, Howard O. Jr. Committee Member
Rosen, Karen H. Committee Member
Stith, Sandra M. Committee Member
  • caregiver
  • strength
  • ethnography
  • group therapy
  • solution-focused
  • competency-based
Date of Defense 1998-04-16
Availability restricted
The purpose of this project was two-fold. First the

intent was to learn about the strengths of caregivers and

bring the more latent view of caregivers as "strengthed"

rather than stressed to the forefront. Second, the study

explored the usefulness of applying a competency-based

therapy approach to caregiver issues and experiences.

Specifically, twelve caregivers of adults were self-referred

and participated in a weekly group over the course of a six

week time frame. The study addressed a gap of a strength

discourse in the literature on adult caregivers, and also

provides important information about the breadth of the

applicability of a competency-based therapy approach with

older adults in a group setting.

A qualitative research design was employed, the approaches

of ethnography and action research were the specific types of

qualitative methods for this project. An analysis was

performed of qualitative data that consisted of transcripts

of fieldnotes and audiotaped focus group interviews. Six

major themes that emerged from the analysis of the data

included: self-care, guidance, togetherness, separation,

relationship with family members, and caregivers as experts.

These themes are discussed as they relate to caregiver

strengths. Suggestions for future research and for clinical

practice are considered in conjunction with the need to

provide valuable information about family enrichment with

caregivers, and new interventions that build on a strength


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