The effects of expectations on experiences with psychotherapy
The issue of how client expectations influence the outcome of psychotherapy has been a research interest for over 50 years with a number of authors in the 1950s, 60s and 70s calling attention to the clinical importance of this variable (Frank, 1968). In most cases there is support for the view that pre-therapy expectations of clients that they are likely to benefit from psychotherapy influences the success of their treatment. A problem with most research, however, is that the evidence derives mainly from correlational self-report studies (Greenberg, Constantino, & Bruce, 2005). A call has been made for systematic prior, or early, treatment expectancy enhancement strategies. So, in this issue, I am reporting on two studies that consider the client’s perspective of their experience of expectations for their counselling. The first looks at the effect of expectations on client experiences, the second investigates the client’s experience of the expectation of change in therapy.