Video: Dr. John Norcross on the significance of the therapist/client relationship

Dr. John Norcross and the significance of the therapist/client relationship

JN: When you follow up patients, when you ask them what seemed to make a difference, in cognitive therapy, in interpersonal therapy and even the medication condition, clients overwhelmingly voted that it was the relationship that made the difference.  So even in this wonderfully controlled, huge multi-million dollar study, at the end of the day, people said, “It’s the relationship.”

You may know about some of our research on looking at psychotherapists’ own personal therapy experiences.  We’ve asked this question now in, I think, four or five countries, probably close to 10,000 people – therapists – what is the single lesson that you take from your own personal treatment that you try to apply in the therapy you conduct?  Over 80% of the responses pertained to the relationship.  It’s the way we change.

Some people argue we’re hard wired.  If we’re not hard wired, then at least we’ve come to appreciate that’s the way we operate in a social world.  And it’s about time that psychotherapists begin taking that seriously.  In fact, one of our proudest moments in the second edition of Psychotherapy – Relationships that Work is that for the first time, the National Registry of Evidence Based Practices and Programs now recognizes the therapy relationship as evidence based.  Before that, it was always, you know, treatment methods, programs, etc.

With this release of the book, they immediately put it on this federal government website and said, “This works.  Pay attention to it.”  And we don’t have to throw the baby out with the bath water.  We don’t have to say because the relationship worked, ignore all this stuff about treatment methods.  It’s obviously both.

 

About the Author

John C. Norcross, PH.D. John C. Norcross, PhD, ABPP, is a clinical psychologist, a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Scranton, and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University.  He specializes in the areas of  psychotherapy, clinical training, and self-change. Dr. Norcross is the acclaimed author of the self-help book Changeology, as well as hundreds of professional journal publications and books. He is past-president of the American Psychological Association's Division of Psychotherapy and the Division of Clinical Psychology. He has served as an APA council representative and as a director of the National Register of Health Service Psychologists. Learn more about Dr. John C. Norcross' work at the Changeology website.

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