Toward an understanding of rapport: interpersonal complementarity as a foundational process
LccRC 480.8 M36 1994
LcshPsychotherapist and patient
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AbstractCurrent psychotherapy literature offers a newfound focus on relationship factors using process methodology. The literature to date suggests that: (1) rapport establishment is a fundamental foundational step to successful psychotherapy, and (2) rapport is not currently understood, but is vaguely alluded to as an interpersonal process and measurable most directly as a session outcome in the form of the Working Alliance Inventory (WAI). Rapport research has been plagued with discrepant construct definitions, units of analysis that are too large and thus removed from the specific processes, and exclusion of important contextual and sequential factors. Addressing these issues, this investigation moves toward an understanding of rapport with a measure of interpersonal complementarity, and does so in the context of both dyad partners' interpersonal behavior measured sequentially through the beginning, middle, and end of the first psychotherapy session. Complementarity is defined by the therapist's and client's confirmation and endorsement in their interpersonal presentation in regard to the two orthogonal dimensions of control and affiliation. Results indicate that interpersonal complementarity (specific to the affiliation dimension) is a valid measure of the process of rapport, as measured by concurrent validity with the outcome of achieved working alliance (WAI). More rigid and pathological interpersonal profiles result in less complementarity; and, affiliation complementarity is associated with positive session outcome. Lack of significant findings on the control or dominance coordinate is discussed in its reduced variability as possibly a second stage action variable after rapport establishment. It is concluded that initial interpersonal profiles and clienttherapist complementarity on these profiles, acquired through a brief checklist, are an economical way of providing valuable information about the potential severity and rigidity of client interpersonal styles and the likelihood and means of rapport establishment, leading to successful treatment outcomes. Psychotherapy applications and future research goals are discussed.
Bibliography: p. 121-136.
CitationMcEachern, H. M. (1994). Toward an understanding of rapport: interpersonal complementarity as a foundational process (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/23925
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