Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Erin Solomon



Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Committee Chair

Jeffrey Berman

Committee Member

Jia Wei Zhang

Committee Member

Neil Aronov


Researchers have recommended that psychotherapists and their clients attend to the therapy relationship. This strategy—sometimes termed immediacy or working in the here and now—is proposed to benefit the therapeutic alliance and treatment outcome. The aim of the present study was to compare perceptions of the therapeutic relationship and the treatment when the therapy interaction involved discussing the client’s relationship with the therapist and when the discussion was of a client relationship with someone other than the therapist. In the study, participants were presented with an audio recording of a therapist and client discussing their relationship and another recording in which the discussion was of the client’s relationship with someone else. For approximately half the participants, the relationships discussed were both of a positive nature; for the other participants, both relationships were problematic. After listening to each audio recording, participants rated the therapeutic bond and treatment credibility. Results revealed that the effect of discussing the therapy relationship depended on the valence of the relationship discussed: When the valence was positive, participants rated the therapeutic bond and treatment credibility higher when the discussion was of the therapy relationship; when the valence was negative, the therapeutic bond and treatment credibility were rated higher when the discussion was of an outside relationship. Although these findings were from the perspective of individuals listening to a therapy interaction, they raise the possibility that focusing therapy discussion on the therapeutic relationship may be more helpful when the relationship is positive than when it is negative.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest


Open Access