Do You and Your Therapist Connect?

Brief therapy success is impacted by your relationship with your therapist

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) No matter what kind of therapy your therapist practices, one of the most important factors in your success is the kind of relationship you have with them.

A recent study looked at how the personal relationship between the client and therapist affected the outcome of therapy, in a brief therapy model.

As it turns out, the way a client feels about his/her therapist can impact the success of therapy.

"Choose a therapist that is genuine"

Charles Gelso, PhD, of the University of Maryland assembled a team of researchers from both Maryland and James Madison University to study the impact of the “real relationship” between client and therapist.

Forty-two different clients at the James Madison University Counseling Center agreed to participate in the study. The clients had to attend at least four therapy sessions with the same therapist to qualify.

After the first, middle and last sessions, both the therapist and the client rated their “real relationship”. The real relationship is considered to be the personal relationship that is felt during the client-therapist interactions.

Clients who rate their real relationship higher agreed with statements like, “My therapist sees me the way I am” and “My therapist and I communicate in a genuine way”.

According to the research, the clients who continued coming to sessions had rated their therapist highly after the first session, suggesting that a good interaction in the first session was related to clients returning to therapy.

As time passed, the researchers found that if the clients had a positive opinion of their relationship with their therapist throughout therapy, the outcome of therapy was better.

This was found to be true across several different types of therapy, suggesting that a positive relationship between client and therapist has a positive impact on the success of therapy no matter the type.

This study is similar to others that have occurred before, showing that a personal connection between therapist and client is an important part of therapy.

This study was published online in September for the Journal of Counseling Psychology. No reports of funding or conflicts of interest were made.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 17, 2012
Last Updated:
September 21, 2012