City Research Online

How therapists work with similarity in the therapeutic 'Triad'

Reid, E. P. (2010). How therapists work with similarity in the therapeutic 'Triad'. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This study investigates the processes underlying how therapists work with similarity in the counselling relationship. The current therapist-client matching literature focuses on minority clients’ counselling outcomes (e.g. Flaherty & Adams, 1998) and satisfaction with therapy (e.g. Murphy et al., 2004). However, an absence of matching theory, and dated examinations of therapists’ experiences, are observed. For therapists, the risk of making invalid assumptions (Maki, 1990), over-identification (Muñoz, 1981), and the need to sensitively respond to self-hatred which can manifest when minority clients work with similar therapists (Iwamasa, 1996), have been highlighted. Thirteen self-identified therapists from matched counselling organisations are interviewed and their narratives analysed using Charmaz’s (2006, 2009) social constructivist adaptation of grounded theory. Similarity in the therapeutic ‘triad’ emerges as the core category, supported by three central categories: bringing ‘sameness’ into the room, encouraging the client to work with difference, and supporting therapists’ work with similarity. Relationships between categories and sub-categories are examined at length with quotations introduced from across therapists’ narratives. Attention is paid to the researcher’s and therapists’ reflexivity. The research findings are explored in relation to existing psychological theory and positioned as guidance for organisations implementing therapist-client matching. The research implications are positioned within the current context of mental health service provision.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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