The experience of forming a therapeutic relationship from the client’s perspective : a metasynthesis

Noyce, Rosie and Simpson, Jane (2018) The experience of forming a therapeutic relationship from the client’s perspective : a metasynthesis. Psychotherapy Research, 28 (2). pp. 281-296. ISSN 1050-3307

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Objective: This review aimed to synthesize qualitative research exploring clients’ perspectives of forming a therapeutic relationship with their therapist or counsellor. Method: Noblit and Hare’s meta-ethnographic approach was used to guide the synthesis of 13 studies meeting inclusion criteria. The quality of each study was rated using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme quality rating checklist. Results: Findings demonstrated that clients create a hierarchy of desired therapist characteristics to assess how well the therapy can meet their needs (theme 1: assessing client-therapist match). The formation of the therapeutic relationship is facilitated by an openness from both the therapist and client (theme 2: facilitating openness) and helps to develop a connection through which the client can be fundamentally understood (theme 3: connecting on a deeper level). Displays of disrespectful or disempowering behaviour generate barriers in the formation of a therapeutic relationship (theme 4: empowerment through respect). Conclusions: The meta-ethnographic approach extended the findings from each individual study to highlight some significant discoveries, including that clients across different settings created a hierarchy of therapist characteristics which were of varying importance to them depending on their perceived needs. Additionally, clients reported that they preferred their therapists to disclose information in order to facilitate the therapeutic relationship.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Psychotherapy Research
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Psychotherapy Research on 29/07/2016 , available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? therapeutic relationshipalliancequalitative researchmetasynthesisempowermenttherapist self-disclosureclinical psychology ??
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Deposited On:
15 Jun 2016 08:16
Last Modified:
31 Dec 2023 00:42