Document Type




Format of Original

13 p.

Publication Date



American Psychological Association

Source Publication

Journal of Counseling Psychology

Source ISSN



Thirteen adults in long-term individual psychotherapy were interviewed regarding their internal representations (defined as bringing to awareness the internalized "image") of their therapists. Results indicated that in the context of a good therapeutic relationship, clients' internal representations combined auditory, visual, and kinesthetic (i.e., felt presence) modalities; were triggered when clients thought about past or future sessions, or when distressed; occurred in diverse locations; and varied in frequency, duration, and intensity. Clients felt positively about their representations and used them to introspect or influence therapy within sessions, beyond sessions, or both. The frequency of, comfort with, and use of clients' internal representations increased over the course of therapy, and the representations benefited the therapy and therapeutic relationship. Therapists tended not to take a deliberate role in creating clients' internal representations, and few clients discussed their internal representations with their therapists.


Accepted version. Journal of Counseling Psychology, Vol. 46, No. 2 (April 1999): 244-256. DOI. © 1999 American Psychological Association. Used with permission. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.

Sarah Knox was affiliated with the University of Maryland - College Park at the time of publication.