An Interpersonal Stage Model of the Therapeutic Process

Terence J. Tracey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


A 3-stage interpersonal model of the successful therapeutic process (high complementarity, low complementarity, high complementarity) has been proposed and supported in the literature. However, recent work on the interpersonal circumplex and its definition of complementarity have called into question the validity of this model. A revised conception of the stage model is proposed. This revision takes into account the moderator variables of social norms and roles, differential interpretation of hostile and friendly behaviors, manifest versus latent communication, and individual differences in adjustment. The revised model differentiates the middle conflict stage into 2 substages: the dissatisfaction substage, characterized by high negative (hostile) complementarity, and the unstable substage, characterized by low complementarity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)396-409
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of counseling psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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