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You Won't Get Me: Therapist Responses to Patient Impression Management Tactics

Frühauf, Sarah PhD; Figlioli, Patrick MSc; Caspar, Franz PhD

Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease: March 2017 - Volume 205 - Issue 3 - p 217–226
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000609
Original Articles

Abstract: In psychotherapy, therapist and patient influence each other constantly. We aimed to investigate how therapists respond to patient impression management and influence tactics. For 60 videotaped intake interviews, judges rated therapist responses to patient tactics as neutral, desired, or undesired from the patient perspective. Judges rated the therapist responses in 57% as neutral, in 40% as desired, and in 2% as undesired by the patients. The proportions of response outcomes varied across tactics. Therapist responses were unrelated to therapist and patient sex. Therapist experience was related to their responses to the tactic Supplication. Overall, some patient tactics seem to be more challenging for therapists than others. Awareness of such response tendencies can help therapists prepare their reactions to certain patient impression management and influence tactics. Implications for training and research are presented.

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Bern, Switzerland.

Send reprint requests to Franz Caspar, PhD, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Bern, Fabrikstrasse 8, 3012 Bern, Switzerland. E-mail: franz.caspar@psy.unibe.ch.

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