Role expectations and symmetrical/complementary therapeutic relationships

T. J. Tracey, E. J. Heck, J. W. Lichtenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Twenty-five tape-recorded initial therapy interviews were rated on the process variable of topic determination, which was indicative of the type of relationship (either complementary or symmetrical) between client and therapist. Topic determination was defined as the ratio of successful topic changes to topic change initiations. It was hypothesized that matched client-therapist role expectations would be related to a complementary relationship, as determined by a high degree of topic determination. Conversely non-matched client-therapist role expectations would be related to a symmetrical relationship, as determined by a low degree of topic determination. The role expectations of each of the participants, the client and the therapist, were analyzed for their effect upon the degree of topic determination for the therapeutic relationship as a whole, and for the client and the therapist individually. Matched client-therapist role expectations produced a greater degree of topic determination for the relationship, the client and the therapist individually than non-matched client-therapist role expectations. It was concluded that the matched/non-matched client-therapist role expectations is an important variable in determining whether the subsequent therapeutic relationship would be complementary or symmetrical.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-344
Number of pages7
JournalPsychotherapy
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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