Interpersonal control in psychotherapy: A comparison of two definitions

Terence J. Tracey, Russell D. Miars

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19 Scopus citations


This study compared the two definitions used to study therapist interpersonal control: The relational coding scheme of Ericson and Rogers (1973) and the topic initiation/topic following schema of Tracey and Ray (1984), as they apply to actual therapy dyads. All interactions of three psychotherapy dyads was coded independently according to each control coding schema and then correlated to examine the overlap and to assess whether each yielded similar results. It was found that both schemata were moderately correlated, which indicates marginal convergent validity, but the two models attributed control to different participants. The Ericson and Rogers model yielded results with the client in control, whereas the opposite result was obtained when the topic initiation/topic following schema was used. The results are discussed with respect to the different assumptions used in each method of operationalizing control and as an indication of the subtlety and complexity of the construct of control in psychotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-592
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology


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