Department of Family Therapy Dissertations and Applied Clinical Projects

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Family Therapy


Christopher Burnett

Committee Member

Tommie V. Boyd

Committee Member

Anne H. Rambo


This study evaluated the effectiveness of the relationally based “Calm-Driven” Service (CDS) training program from the New World Kirkpatrick model perspective. The CDS training program is designed to help automotive professionals in sales and service to relate to their customers by (a) thinking in a different way about human relationships, and (b) realizing their own role in relationships and behavior. The CDS training program is based on the relational systems theory concepts of relational triangles, chronic anxiety, and differentiation of self from the Bowen Family Systems Theory.

The results suggest that the participants had a positive reaction to the training program. Specifically they found the training favorable, relevant to their professional needs, engaging, comprehendible, and capable of creating change in educational experience through time (level 1: reaction). They gained the intended knowledge, skills, attitude, confidence, and commitment to apply newly gained knowledge on the job (level 2: learning). Participants’ behavior changed in their ability to relate to their customers by being (a) able to think in defined ways, and (b) realize their own role in relationships and behavior. Notably, newly learned behaviors were maintained two months after the training program was complete due to a successful monitoring, reinforcing, encouraging, and rewarding system (level 3: behavior). The improvement of the associates’ relational skills indicates that the training helped the organization to move on track to their overall goal, which is to help the stakeholders to become the number one volume dealer (level 4: results).

Evaluation results demonstrate that relational training based on the Bowen Family Systems Theory could be successfully implemented and show positive results for the organization and their associates. Therefore, it is recommended that marriage and family therapists, as specialists in relational systems thinking, would focus future research on development, application, and evaluation of relationally based trainings.