Therapeutic relationship in behavior therapy: An empirical analysis

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Investigated the determinants and predictive utility of the client's perception of the therapeutic relationship (CPTR) in the context of a behavior therapy clinical research project evaluating 3 approaches to assertion training. 39 22-60 yr old volunteers were studied. Measures included the Rathus Assertiveness Scale, the Social Avoidance and Distress Scale, the Fear of Negative Evaluation Questionnaire, the Bem Sex-Role Inventory, and the Multiple Affect Adjective Checklist. Individual differences in therapists were a significant determinant of CPTR. CPTR was an effective predictor of dropping out when measured early in therapy, and of immediate posttherapy client gains when measured in a mid- to late therapy session, but not of long-term maintenance of client improvements. Patterns of therapist behavior that were predictive of CPTR at 3 time points in therapy are delineated. It is speculated that CPTR is largely a function of the degree to which the client's expectation of the therapist and the consequences of therapy are being fulfilled. It is concluded that CPTR has significant predictive value, and perhaps also causal impact, in behavior therapy. (38 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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