A new article published in Counselling Psychology Quarterly

Activity preferences in psychotherapy: what do patients want and how does this relate to outcomes and alliance?

Mick Cooper, Biljana van Rijn, Evi Chryssafidou & William B. Stiles

This study aimed to investigate (a) what clients’ within-treatment activity preferences were; (b) whether a match between preferences and psychotherapy approach predicted outcomes and alliance; (c) whether scores on preference dimensions, per se, predicted outcomes and alliance. Participants were 470 clients engaging in one of five approaches with trainee psychotherapists. We used the Cooper–Norcross Inventory of Preferences to identify clients’ within-treatment activity preferences; and multilevel modelling to examine the relationship between these preferences – and a match on these preferences – to outcomes and alliance. Clients had an overall preference for therapist directiveness and emotional intensity. We found no evidence of a preference matching effect. Clients who expressed a desire for focused challenge over warm support showed greater progress. Client preferences for focused challenge may be indicative of their readiness to change and indicate a positive prognosis. Further research should directly observe therapeutic practices and assess a range of client variables.

KEYWORDS: Aptitude-treatment interaction research; alliance; process research; experiential/existential/humanistic psychotherapy; integrative treatment models

Link to article: Routledge – tandfonline.com
To cite this article:

Mick Cooper, Biljana van Rijn, Evi Chryssafidou & William B. Stiles (2021) Activity preferences in psychotherapy: what do patients want and how does this relate to outcomes and alliance?, Counselling Psychology Quarterly.