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The relationship in therapy: components, role and development over time

Elliott, Robert (2009) The relationship in therapy: components, role and development over time. In: 40th International Meeting of the Society for Psychotherapy Research, 2009-06-24 - 2009-06-27. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Various aspects of the relationship in therapy have received a great deal of attention from the research community over the last fifty years. Concepts such as Transference, Countertransference, Empathy,Congruence, Alliance, Genuineness -among many others- have been studied within a variety of contexts. Looking back over the accumulated literature, the results appear like a multi dimensional jigsaw puzzle, an aggregate of concepts all targeting a phenomenon we are all intimately familiar with clinically, but viewed from different theoretical lenses as researchers. The theoretically diverse group initiating this discussion would like to engage the participants in an exploration of how some of these concepts may be related, overlap or sequenced over time in a variety of therapy situations. Can we stitch some of our accumulated empirical and clinical findings into a coherent canvas representing the 'Relationship in Therapy'? To start the process, each discussant will briefly address the following issues:1) Which constructs/conceptualizations of the therapeutic relationship are the most relevant/useful? 2) How are these concepts related and/or overlap? 3) Is the role/function of the therapy relationship similar in different treatments, or should researchers look for the differences? 4) Is therole/function of the relationship different over phases of therapy? Is this question worth investigating?