Laura North Rice

Affiliations: 
Psychology York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 
Area:
Psychotherapy Process
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Obituary by Les Greenberg

Remembering Laura Rice Ph.D.

Irene Elkin recently informed us of the sad news that Laura Rice died in West Yarmouth Rhode Island on July 18, 2004. In recognition of her exceptional contributions to the development of the field of psychotherapy process research, NA-SPR has dedicated a Student Travel Award in her honor that will be given to the best student psychotherapy process research submission in each NA-SPR Travel Award competition. As a former student of Laura’s, and a longtime friend and research collaborator, Les Greenberg has contributed the following remembrance of Laura and her seminal contributions to psychotherapy research.
Laura Rice received her PhD from the University of Chicago in the sixties and after teaching there for a number of years came to York University in 1968 where she developed the Counselling programme. She was greatly respected and liked by her students and colleagues. She retired in 1986 but continued to work at York on developing an experiential approach to therapy until she left around 1993. Laura started with Rogers’ group in Chicago and as well as being a wonderful teacher of the Client–Centered Approach to therapy she was first and foremost a psychotherapy process researcher. She was a true investigator and a remarkably innovative contributor to the field of psychotherapy research. She believed deeply in the importance of observation of what actually occurs in therapy and of categorizing behavior on the basis of what was similar as behaviour rather than what was assumed to be similar conceptually. In an era when the hypothetico-deductive method dominated she championed the development of empirically grounded coding categories, based on observation and methods to locate meaningful clusters of process into meaningful categories and the generation of hypotheses based on these observations.
By example she imbued in her students the value of the close observation of process. Her earliest and highly original contribution was the development of a process rating measure that rated Client Vocal Quality. While not denying the importance of meaning she believed that style and manner of client processing was more important than the content of what they said. This work was done before she came to York but led to her specifying an in session problem that clients often worked on in therapy called problematic reactions, in which clients were puzzled about their reaction to a particular situation. She postulated that the affective reaction stemmed from the activation of cognitive/affective schemes relevant to recurring classes of situations in which clients find themselves functioning in unsatisfying ways. This prefigured the advent of cognitive therapy.
In this work she developed a description of the in-session marker of problematic reactions and an effective means of intervention involving evocative responding. This expanded the view of empathy from understanding alone to include the major additional functions of evocation and exploration. This set the template for the development of a new method to both psychotherapy research and to treatment – an events based approach. This events based approach blossomed into a task analytic study of the information processing involved in the resolution of affective tasks in therapy and ultimately into the Process Experiential approach to therapy. Her research efforts truly led to improvements in therapy and ultimately to a marker guided and process-guiding approach to treatment.
Laura’s work has had a major impact on the directions of psychotherapy process research, establishing that studying what clients and therapists actually do in therapy is of major significance.
Perhaps Laura’s greatest contribution was her mentoring and stimulation of a generation of psychotherapy process researchers that led to a change in the intellectual climate of the leading Society of Psychotherapy Research toward the recognition of the importance of process research.
Beginning with Rogers', intensive listening to clients and tapes of psychotherapy led her to identify, important ingredients in successful psychotherapy. This journey led to the construction of well-grounded and detailed micro-theories of different routes to therapeutic change much more differentiated than Rogers' general process description of change. In the 1980’s Rogers recognized her as the major contributor to research on Client–Centered Therapy.
At a more personal level, Laura was a private person who came alive in therapy. She was an incredible listener and highly respectful of others. She embodied the client-centered conditions as both a therapist and as an academic and research supervisor. Her intellectual acuity, creativity and real curiosity was inspiring. In my experience Laura by conveying unconditional confidence in my potential and abilities as a therapist and a research investigator, and by encouraging and giving me the freedom to explore what I thought about research and theoretical questions, she allowed me to develop faith in my own understanding and ideas. This was her invaluable gift to me. She similarly empowered and inspired many of her students who remain forever grateful.
Bibliography (Jan 5, 2005; compiled by Peter F. Schmid)

BUTLER, JOHN M. / RICE, LAURA N. (1963), Adience, self–actualization and drive theory, in: Wepman, J. M. / Heine, R. W. (Eds.), Concepts of personality, Chicago 1963

BUTLER, JOHN M. / RICE, LAURA N. / WAGSTAFF, A. K. (1963), Quantitative naturalistic research, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (Prentice Hall) 1963

GREENBERG, LESLIE S. / RICE, LAURA N. (1981), The specific effects of a Gestalt intervention, in: Psychotherapy, Theory, Research and Practice 18 (1981) 31-37

GREENBERG, LESLIE S. / RICE, LAURA N. (1991), Change processes in experiential psychotherapy, NIMH Grant 1R01MH45040, Washington, DC, 1991

GREENBERG, LESLIE S. / RICE, LAURA N. (1997), Humanistic approaches to psychotherapy, in: Wachtel, P. / Messer, S. (Eds.), Theories of psychotherapy. Origins and evolution, Washington, DC (APA) 1997, 97-129

GREENBERG, LESLIE S. / RICE, LAURA N. / ELLIOTT, ROBERT (1993), Facilitating emotional change. The moment–by–moment process, New York (Guilford) 1993; esp.: Facilitando el cambio emocional, Barcelona, Spain (Paid—s) 1996; dt.: Emotionale Veränderung fördern. Grundlagen einer prozess- und erlebensorientierten Therapie, Paderborn (Junfermann) 2003

GREENBERG, LESLIE S. / RICE, LAURA N. / RENNIE, D. / TOUKMANIAN, S. (1991), The York Psychotherapy Research Programme, in: Van de Boss, G, / Beutler, L. (Eds.) Psychotherapy research, Arlington (APA Publications) 1991

GREENBERG, LESLIE S. / RICE, LAURA N. / RENNIE, D. L. / TOUKMANIAN, S. G. (1991), York University research program, in: Beutler, L. E. / Crago, M. (Eds.), Psychotherapy research. An international review of programmatic studies, Washington, D.C. (APA) 1991, 175-181

GREENBERG, LESLIE S. / RICE, LAURA N. / WATSON, J. C. (1994) (Eds.), A treatment manual for client-centered therapy. Manuscript, Toronto (York University) 1994

RICE, LAURA N. (1973), Client behavior as a function of therapist style and client resources, in: Journal of Counseling Psychology 20 (1973) 306–311

RICE, LAURA N. (1974), The evocative function of the therapist, in: Wexler, David A. / Rice, Laura N. (Eds.), Innovations in client–centered therapy, New York (Wiley) 1974, 289–311

RICE, LAURA N. (1980), A client–centered approach to the supervision of psychotherapy, in: Hess, A. K. (Hg.), Psychotherapy supervision. Theory, research and practice, New York (Wiley) 1980, 136–147

RICE, LAURA N. (1983), The relationship in client–centered therapy, in: Lambert, M. J. (Ed.), Psychotherapy and patient relationships, Homewood, IL (Dow Jones–Erwin) 1983, 36–60

RICE, LAURA N. (1984), Client tasks in client–centered therapy, in: Levant, Ronald F. / Shlien, John M. (Eds.), Client–centered therapy and the person–centered approach, New York (Praeger) 1984, 182–202

RICE, LAURA N. (1992), From naturalistic observation of psychotherapy process to micro theories of change, in: Toukmanian, Shaké G. / Rennie, David L. (1992), Psychotherapy process research. Paradigmatic and narrative approaches, Sage (Newbury Park) 1992, 1–21

RICE, LAURA N. (2001), The evocative function of the therapist. In Haugh, Sheila / Merry, Tony (Eds.), Rogers’ therapeutic conditions: Evolution, theory and practice. Volume 2: Empathy, Ross-on-Wye (PCCS Books) 2001, 112-130

RICE, LAURA N. / GREENBERG, LESLIE S. (1984), Patterns of change. Intensive analysis of psychotherapy process, New York (Guilford) 1984

RICE, LAURA N. / GREENBERG, LESLIE S. (1984), The new research paradigm, in: Rice, L. N. / Greenberg, L. S. (Eds.), Patterns of change. Intensive analysis of psychotherapy process, Guilford (New York) 1984

RICE, LAURA N. / GREENBERG, LESLIE S. (1986), Patterns of change. Intensive analysis of psychotherapy process, in: Greenberg, Leslie S. / Pinsof, William M. (Eds.), The psychotherapeutic process: A research handbook, New York (Guilford) 1986

RICE, LAURA N. / GREENBERG, LESLIE S. (1988), Fundamental dimensions in experiential therapy. New directions in research, in: 1st ICCCEP, Book of Abstracts, Leuven (Acco) 1988, 88f

RICE, LAURA N. / GREENBERG, LESLIE S. (1990), Fundamental dimensions in experiential therapy: New directions in research, in: Lietaer et al. (Eds.), Client–centered and experiential therapy in the ninties, Leuven (Leuven University Press) 1990, 397–414

RICE, LAURA N. / GREENBERG, LESLIE S. (1991), Two affective change events in client–centered therapy, in: Safran, Jeremy D. / Greenberg, Leslie S. (Hg.), Emotion, psychotherapy and change, New York (Guilford) 1991, 197–226

RICE, LAURA N. / GREENBERG, LESLIE S. (1992), Humanistic approaches to psychotherapy, in: Freedheim, Donald K. / Freudenberger, H. J. / Kessler, J. W. / Messer, S. B. / Peterson, D. R. / Strupp, H. H. / Wachtel, P. L. (Hg.), History of psychotherapy. A century of change, Washington (APA), 197–224

RICE, LAURA N. / GREENBERG, LESLIE S. (1993), Humanistic psychotherapy, in: Freedheim, D. K. and associates, History of psychotherapy. A century of change, Washington (APA) 1993

RICE, LAURA N. / KERR, G. P. (1986), Measures of client and therapist vocal quality; in: Greenberg, Leslie S. / Pinsof, William M. (Eds.), The therapeutic process. A research handbook, New York (Guilford) 73–105

RICE, LAURA N. / KOKE, C. J. (1981), Vocal style and the process of psychotherapy, in: Darby, J. K. (Hg.), Speech evaluation in psychiatry, New York (Grune & Stratton) 1981

RICE, LAURA N. / KOKE, C. J. / GREENBERG, LESLIE S. / WAGSTAFF, A. K. (1979), Manual for client vocal quality, Toronto (York University Counseling and Development Center) 1979

RICE, LAURA N. / SAPERIA, E. P. (1984), A task analysis of the resolution of problematic reactions, in: Rice, Laura N. / Greenberg, Leslie S. (Eds.), Patterns of change. Intensive analysis of psychotherapy process, New York (Guilford) 1984, 29–66

RICE, LAURA N. / WATSON, J. C. / GREENBERG, LESLIE S. (1993) (Eds.), Manual for rating client's expressive stance in therapy, Toronto (York University) 1993

SAFRAN, JEREMY D. / GREENBERG, LESLIE S. / RICE, LAURA N. (1988), Integrating psychotherapy research and practice. Modelling the change process, in: Psychotherapy, 25 (1988) 1-17

WEXLER, DAVID A. / RICE, LAURA N. (1974) (Eds.), Innovations in client–centered therapy, New York (Wiley) 1974

WISEMAN, H. / RICE, LAURA N. (1989), Sequential analysis of therapist–client interaction during change events. A task–focused approach, in: Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 57 (1989) 281–286
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Carl Ransom Rogers grad student 1955 Chicago
 (An investigation of the functioning of concepts in a perceptual situation.)

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Leslie Greenberg grad student York University (Neurotree)
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