Interaction rules and strategies in psychotherapy

James W. Lichtenberg, Terence Tracey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


To examine the presence of interaction rules and strategies used in therapy, the verbal responses of therapists and clients in 26 actual psychotherapy cases were coded using the Interpersonal Communication Rating Scale (ICRS; S. R. Strong, H. Hills, C. Kilmartin, et al., 1988). The conditional response probabilities of these ICRS codes were examined from a rules and strategies perspective according to procedures suggested by S. Duncan (1983). The results supported the presence for rules for both the client and the therapist, and these rules were found to involve complementary interactions. No support was found for the presence of strategies in the interactive behavior of either participant. Finally, there was no relation between the presence of rules and session evaluation. The results are discussed with respect to the definition of rules in counseling and the concept of complementarity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-275
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of counseling psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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