The Relationship Between Clients' Perceptions of Therapist–Parent Similarity With Respect to Empathy, Regard, and Unconditionality and Therapists' Ratings of Client Transference

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Abstract

The authors studied the similarity between clients' perceptions of their therapists and their perceptions of their parents (or early parental figures) in terms of the relationship qualities of empathy, positive regard, and unconditionality of regard and how those perceptions compared with their therapists' ratings of transference. Participants were 62 actual therapy dyads. The results failed to support a hypothesized positive association between the similarity of the therapist and parents or parental figures on the relationship dimensions of empathy, regard, and unconditionality and therapist ratings of transference. Instead, the clients' relationship ratings of their parents and therapists suggested that therapists' perceptions of transference may more accurately reflect perceptions of their clients' nontransferential (i.e., real relationship) reactions to the therapist.

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