Facets of the psychotherapy relationship: a metaphorical approach


Although many separate aspects of the psychotherapy relationship have been studied, including empathy, working alliance, and self-disclosure, a metaphorical approach has the potential to generate a more holistic perspective of this phenomenon. Hence, the goal of this study was to explore the nature of the psychotherapy relationship from the psychotherapists’ perspective using a metaphorical approach. In an online survey, a sample of N=373 Czech psychotherapists and counselors rated a set of relational metaphors in terms of how accurately they depicted their roles in their relationships with their clients. The single most endorsed metaphor for the practitioner’s role was a guide. Furthermore, the principal component analysis identified three relational components, namely, Mentor, Resource Supplier, and Remedy Distributor. The associations among these components and multiple practitioners’ variables, including demographic and practice-related variables and theoretical orientation, were explored. These three components represent general dimensions of the psychotherapy relationship that cut across various theoretical orientations and, thus, define psychotherapy relationships in a general sense.



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Metaphor, professional role, psychotherapy relationship, survey, theoretical orientation.
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How to Cite
Řiháček, T., Roubal, J., & Motalová, K. (2021). Facets of the psychotherapy relationship: a metaphorical approach. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome, 23(3). https://doi.org/10.4081/ripppo.2020.468