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Psychother Res. 2013;23(6):718-31. doi: 10.1080/10503307.2013.814926. Epub 2013 Jul 8.

Psychotherapists' personal identities, theoretical orientations, and professional relationships: elective affinity and role adjustment as modes of congruence.

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a National Institute for Health and Welfare , Helsinki , Finland.


Research shows psychotherapists espousing different theoretical approaches differ in mentality (e.g., cognitive styles, beliefs and epistemologies) and personality (e.g., neuroticism). However, studies have not investigated the association between professional relational style prescribed by therapists' theoretical orientations and therapists' manner of relating in personal life. Analyses of over 4000 therapists of varied nationalities, professions and career levels having different theoretical preferences indicate: (i) therapists' self-experience in close personal relationships was significantly associated with the manner their theoretical orientations prescribed for relating with clients; (ii) therapists were less accepting, less tolerant and more demanding in their personal relationships than with clients; and (iii) therapists adjusted their professional relational manner in practice to meet the specific expectations of their preferred orientations.

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