Type of Document Dissertation Author Wilkins, Brittany T. Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-07282011-141651 Title Bases of Power and the Quality of the Therapeutic Relationship: The Importance of Congruence between Client and Therapist Perspectives Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Social Work, College of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Stephen Tripodi Committee Chair Nick Mazza Committee Member Tom Cornille University Representative Keywords
- Social Work
- Direct Practice
Date of Defense 2011-06-27 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis dissertation explored the associations between the degree of congruence between therapist and client perceptions about specific sources of power in individual therapy and the quality of the therapeutic relationship. Power bases were conceptualized as being either state-dependent (therapy-specific) or trait-dependent (extratherapeutic). I hypothesized that the more congruent the perceptions of the therapistís and clientís therapy-specific and extratherapeutic power, the better the quality of the therapeutic relationship.
Adults currently in the working stage of voluntary outpatient therapy and their corresponding therapists completed surveys about the therapistís and clientís therapy-specific and extratherapy power bases (N = 47 dyads). The survey packets consisted of modified versions of the Interpersonal Power Inventory (Raven et al., 1998; Anderson, 2008), single-item indicators for extratherapeutic bases (likability, age, intelligence, sex/gender, and race/ethnicity), the Working Alliance Inventory-short version (Horvath & Greenberg 1989; Tracey & Kokotovic, 1989), and supplemental demographic questions. I used difference scores to calculate each dyadís levels of congruence.
Results showed no significant correlations between congruence on client or therapist therapy-specific harsh or soft power bases and the quality of the therapeutic relationship. Statistically significant negative correlations existed between congruence on therapist age, intelligence, sex, and the quality of the therapeutic relationship. Statistically significant negative correlations existed between congruence on client age, intelligence, and the quality of the therapeutic relationship.
Multiple regression models showed several trends. The model with congruence on therapist power as predictive of the quality of the therapeutic relationship was statistically significant. Congruence on therapist therapy-specific harsh and soft power bases were not significant predictors of quality. The congruence about all extratherapy power bases was a significant (negative) predictor in the models, and when examining the bases individually, congruence on therapist age was a significant negative predictor of quality only when including the clientís length of treatment in the model. Models run with congruence on client power as predictive of the quality of the therapeutic relationship were not statistically significant. Congruence on client therapy-specific harsh and soft power bases were not significant predictors of quality. The congruence about all extratherapy power bases was a significant (negative) predictor in the models, but when examining the individual bases, none were significant predictors of the quality of the therapeutic relationship.
Findings from this study supported future inquiry into congruence on perceptions of power and the quality of the therapeutic relationship, especially concerning extratherapy power bases. Future researchers should consider a longitudinal design with a larger, more diverse sample to enhance generalizability. Through awareness of how such power resources influence the process of therapy, therapists can help build a better relationship and in turn, better client outcome.
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