THE EFFECT OF TREATMENT CHOICE AND PREFERENCE ON CLIENTS' SELF-DISCLOSURE IN THERAPY: AN ANALOGUE

ANTHONY THOMAS VILLECO, Fordham University

Abstract

Several recent studies have suggested that receiving a chosen or preferred treatment may enhance therapeutic attraction as well as treatment effectiveness. An important limitation of these studies is their lack of manipulation checks to directly assess subjects' perception of choice. Results may have been due to merely receiving a preferred treatment rather than to choice of treatments. Although two recent dissertations failed to find a relationship between choice of treatment and therapeutic attraction, neither study provided subjects with observable consequences for having made a choice. This lack of realism limits their generalizability to clinical situations.^ The present study attempted to further examine in a clinical analogue the effects of allowing a client a choice of psychotherapies before beginning treatment. The design included several methodological improvements over previous research. In addition to the use of manipulation checks, preferences for individual therapists were controlled and subjects were provided with observable consequences for having made a choice. Since client self-disclosure has been considered essential to the success of traditional psychotherapies, subjects' willingness to disclose personal information to a therapist was the dependent variable. A major aim of this study was to identify the separate and interactive effects of treatment choice and treatment preference upon client self-disclosure. A secondary aim was to confirm previous reports of greater self-disclosure for females and to examine the interaction of sex of subject with the other independent variables.^ Eighty undergraduates at Fordham University were randomly assigned to one of two male graduate students who acted the part of one of four types of therapist: insight, person-centered, gestalt or rational. Subjects were assigned to one of four groups: choice-high preference, choice-low preference, no choice-high preference, no choice-low preference. Treatment preferences were previously assessed by asking each subject to rate all four therapies.^ Results failed to demonstrate the predicted effects. Possible explanations cited were the procedure's failure to induce perceived choice in the male subjects and an insufficient amount of interaction between the subjects and therapists. The need for more research into the parameters of self-disclosure and perceived choice was discussed. ^

Subject Area

Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

VILLECO, ANTHONY THOMAS, "THE EFFECT OF TREATMENT CHOICE AND PREFERENCE ON CLIENTS' SELF-DISCLOSURE IN THERAPY: AN ANALOGUE" (1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8219265.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8219265

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