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Elephant in the Consulting Room: Implications of Therapist Affective Style in Responding to 'Mistakes' and Client Criticism.

Miller, Donna C. (2005) Elephant in the Consulting Room: Implications of Therapist Affective Style in Responding to 'Mistakes' and Client Criticism. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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This paper explores the implications of therapists’ affective style (defined as the likelihood of experiencing shame, guilt, externalisation, and detachment) in response to ‘mistakes’ and client criticisms in the therapeutic relationship. Two questionnaires assessing affective style were completed by a sample of 136 therapists: (1) Test of Self-Conscious Affect - 3 (TOSCA-3: Tangney, Bearing, Wagner & Gramzow, 2000)—an established measure of dispositional affective style in response to scenarios depicting ‘mistakes’ and failures encountered in everyday life, and (2) Measure of Therapists’ Self-Conscious Affect (MOTSCA)—a scale modelled on the TOSCA, but substituting scenarios drawn from therapists’ accounts of mistakes and client criticisms in clinical practice. The relationship between therapists’ experiences of self-conscious affect, and their tendency to externalise or detach in the therapeutic relationship was assessed, as was the relationship between their clinical affective style scores and the following: (1) dispositional affective style in everyday life; (2) trainee status; (3) a racial-ethnic difference between the therapist and client. Findings: Self-conscious affect was a significant predictor of externalising cause or blame to the client, especially in the case of shame affect (external), which also significantly increased the likelihood of detachment. The strongest predictor of overall affective style in the clinical setting was affective style in everyday life. Being a trainee was associated with significantly increased proneness to shame (internal) in the clinical context. In this sample of predominantly ethnic-majority therapists, the presence of a racial-ethnic difference between therapist and client significantly increased the likelihood of guilt, but decreased externalisation. Practice and training implications are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Miller, Donna C.
Date : 2005
Additional Information : Thesis (Psych.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 2005.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 06 May 2020 14:07
Last Modified : 06 May 2020 14:12

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