Objective: Research on the effects of Rogers’s therapeutic relationship conditions has typically focused on the unilateral provision of empathy, unconditional positive regard, and congruence from therapist to client. Method: This study looked at both client and therapist mutuality of the Rogerian therapeutic conditions and the association between mutuality and treatment progress in the first three psychotherapy sessions. Clients (N = 62; mean age = 24.32; 77% female, 23% male) and therapists (N = 12; mean age = 34.32; nine female and three male) rated one another using the Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventory after the first and third session. Results: Both clients and therapists perceived the quality of the
relationship as improved over time. Client rating of psychological distress (CORE-OM) was lower after session 3 than at session 1 (es = .85, [95% CIs: .67, 1.03]). Hierarchical multiple regression was used to test the predictive power of mutually high levels of the therapeutic conditions on treatment progress. The association between client rating of therapist-provided
conditions and treatment progress at session 3 was higher when both clients and therapists rated each other as providing high levels of the therapeutic conditions (R2 change = .073, p < .03). Conclusions: The findings suggest mutuality of Rogers’s therapeutic conditions is related to treatment progress.
Keywords: therapeutic relationship; psychotherapy; mutuality; treatment progress
Murphy, D., & Cramer, D. (2014). Mutuality of Rogers's therapeutic conditions and treatment progress in the first three psychotherapy sessions. Psychotherapy Research, 24(6), doi:10.1080/10503307.2013.874051