Psychotherapy preferences of laypersons and mental health professionals: Whose therapy is It?

Michael Cooper, John C. Norcross, Brett Raymond-Barker, Thomas Hogan

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What do patients prefer in their psychotherapy? Do laypersons and mental health professionals (as patients) want the same, or different, things? The authors systematically examined patients’ psychotherapy preferences and quantitatively compared two samples of laypersons (N = 228, 1305) with one sample of mental health professionals (N = 615) on the four dimensions of the Cooper–Norcross Inventory of Preferences (C-NIP): Therapist Directiveness vs. Client Directiveness, Emotional Intensity vs. Emotional Reserve, Past Orientation vs. Present Orientation, and Warm Support vs. Focused Challenge. On average, laypersons wanted therapist directiveness and emotional intensity. Robust differences were found between laypersons’ and professionals’ preferences on these two dimensions: mental health professionals wanted less therapist directiveness than laypersons (gs = 0.92 and 1.43 between groups) and more emotional intensity (gs = 0.49 and 1.33). Females also wanted more warm support than males (gs = 0.40 and 0.57). These findings suggest that psychotherapists should be mindful of their own treatment preferences and ensure that these are not inappropriately generalized to patients.

© 2019, American Psychological Association. The attached document (embargoed until 16/05/2020) is an author produced version of a paper published in PSYCHOTHERAPY uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-216
Issue number2
Early online date16 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

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