To what extent do clients discriminate among the group leader's basic therapeutic attitudes? A person-centered contribution.


Leif J. Braaten


Ever since Rogers (1957) launched his elegant and provocative model of therapeutic personality change, the main focus of researchers and clinicians has been on the therapist-offered conditions of accurate empathy, unconditional positive regard, and genuineness. Too little attention has been paid to how clients can perceive and discriminate between these conditions. In this study 1,119 client evaluations were collected from 136 participants in 16 therapy groups of 15 three hour sessions, using a self-constructed group climate questionnaire with 15 items carefully tapping the classical person-centered conditions. A varimax factor analysis revealed a rather conclusive three factors solution. The first factor, accounting for 60.0 % of the variance, was called empathic positive regard, a condition obviously integrating accurate empathy and unconditional positive regard. The second factor, accounting for 12.4 % of the variance, was labeled genuineness. And finally, the third factor, accounting for 5.8 % of the variance, was named anxiety/vulnerability.