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Psychother Res. 2012;22(2):176-93. doi: 10.1080/10503307.2011.633280. Epub 2011 Nov 28.

How experienced therapists introduce the technical aspects in the initial alliance formation: powerful decision makers supporting clients' agency.

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University of Oslo, Department of Psychology, Postboks 1094, Blindern, Oslo, 0317, Norway.


The initial work on the technical aspects of the working alliance was explored in a naturalistic study of the practices of nine experienced teacher therapists. Using the qualitative method of Grounded theory, eight therapist action descriptions were identified, forming two categories: (1) Supporting the client's agency: (a) exploring the clients' solution strategies, (c) underlining the clients' choice/authority, (d) sharing the basis for the decision, (e) demonstrating collaboration linguistically by hedging; (2) Expressing agency: (a) immediate implementation of method, (b) educating, (c) challenging, (d) constituting oneself as an expert. Implications for the view of therapist power, negotiation, consensus and collaboration are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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