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Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training


Nine therapy clients were interviewed regarding their experiences of giving gifts to therapists. Data were analyzed using consensual qualitative research. In describing a specific event when they gave a gift that was accepted, participants described having a good relationship with the therapist and usually identified their therapy concerns as relationship or family struggles or both. Most bought a relatively inexpensive gift they thought their therapist would like and gave it during a nontermination session to express appreciation or mark an important life event. Most participants acknowledged mixed emotions when giving the gift and noted that any discussion of the gift was brief and did not explore its deeper meaning. Nevertheless, most participants perceived that gift events positively affected them and their therapists.


Originally published in Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, Volume 46, No. 3 (September 2009), DOI: 10.1037/a0017001.

This article was originally published by the American Psychological Association, whose website is available here.

This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.