Research on the effects of disconfirmed client role expectations in psychotherapy: A critical review

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Critically examines the pervasive assumption found in psychotherapy literature that disconfirmation of client role expectations has been demonstrated to be a negative influence in psychotherapy. When the empirical literature is examined, this hypothesis does not appear to be as conclusive as has been suggested. In fact, the empirical studies are evenly divided in supporting this hypothesis. The ambiguous state of the research is discussed in terms of problems in design and conceptualization: (a) The operationalization of the independent variable has often been inadequately precise or reliable. (b) The definition of expectation has usually not been clearly specified. (c) The theoretical base for almost all of the research may not be appropriate for the kinds of affectively toned expectations in psychotherapy. Future research should incorporate procedures to counter these types of problems. (72 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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