CONTACT: STEPHEN PRADARELLI
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: March 22, 1999
UI grad to receive Outstanding Dissertation Award in Human
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A University of Iowa graduate whose doctoral
research focused on communication processes among participants
of a therapy group has been selected for an Outstanding Dissertation
Award in Human Development.
Kristin Sturdevant, who graduated in December with a doctorate
in education counseling from the UI College of Education, was
selected for the award by the American Educational Research Association,
Division E, which is based in Montreal. The award will be presented
at the association's annual meeting in April and includes a plaque
Sturdevant, an individual and group psychotherapist at Psychiatric
Associates in Iowa City, titled her dissertation "A Case
Study: Processes and Group Development in a Marathon Encounter
Group." Her advisor was Professor E. Richard Dustin.
Sturdevant examined 17 videotapes of a "marathon encounter
group" made up of 18 participants and three facilitators
who, as the name implies, met for extended periods of time over
five days, sometimes for as long as 24 hours at a stretch.
The objective of such sessions, says Sturdevant, is to break
down people's natural defenses and allow them to interact on
a very personal level. The sessions also provided Sturdevant
a glimpse of individual, interpersonal and group dynamics, which
she analyzed with the aid of computer software that isolated
themes in the discussions.
"What I found was that people seemed to get more and
more in touch with themselves as they went along, people got
along more productively and they worked more as a group as they
went along," she said.
Sturdevant, who hopes to attend the award ceremony in Montreal,
said the topic of group processes continues to intrigue her.
"I think one of the big things for me, and maybe it sounds
trite, but I learned in doing this what a profoundly important
human system we are, that I couldn't have done this without my
son and my family and friends," she said. "So I learned
from the inside out while doing this."