THE DYNAMICS OF POWER IN PSYCHOTHERAPY

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Abstract

Feminist psychology has brought a renewed interest in the issue of power in the treatment relationship. Power, as an important facet in psychotherapy is explored here, particularly with regard to the conceptualization of power within the modality of treatment and with regard to the potential influence of stereotyping in the treatment relationship. Cognitions about power and stereotyping, like countertransference, are conceptualized as a dynamic force that may prescribe the power distribution and roles in the treatment relationship. These factors may operate outside the conscious awareness of either or both the therapist and the patient and may bias the clinical judgment of the therapist and/or undermine a patient's sense of empowerment. Practical solutions to deal with these dynamic forces are discussed.

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