Client and Therapist Characteristics

Psychotherapy researchers have also been interested in examining characteristics of clients and therapists. A large number of demographic variables have been investigated (e.g., age, ethnicity), but none of them appear to account for a significant part of the outcome variance (Beutler et al., 1994; Garfield, 1994). However, a number of other client and therapist characteristics have been shown to relate to psychotherapy process and outcome. For example, in different forms of psychotherapy for depression, clients' pre-treatment level of perfectionism has been negatively related to the therapeutic alliance and outcome (e.g., Blatt, Quinlan, Pilkonis, & Shea, 1995). Also negatively related to outcome is the therapist's level of emotional disturbance and distress (Beutler et al., 1994). Moreover, Henry, Schacht, and Strupp (1990) have found that the therapist's hostility toward self is predictive of negative process in the client-therapist relationship.

Studies have also examined whether the matching of client, therapist, and/or treatment variables could improve the impact of therapy. With few exceptions, however, this research has lead to a paucity of reliable findings. Among these exceptions is the work of Beutler et al. (1991), who demonstrated that clients with an externalized coping style improved more in a symptom-oriented treatment (i.e., CT) than clients with an internalized style of coping who responded most to an insight-oriented treatment (i.e., supportive/self-directive therapy [S/SD]). Beutler et al. (1991) have also found that whereas clients high in reactance level (those who resist being controlled by others) fare better in a nondirective type of treatment (i.e., S/SD) than in directive forms of therapies (i.e., focused-expressive therapy and CT), clients low in reactance respond more to CT than S/SD.

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