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Counselling & Psychotherapy Research

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Design: Interviews about attitudes about psychotherapy with 12 undergraduate students who had never been in psychotherapy were analysed using consensual qualitative research. Results: Participants believed that the client role is to disclose, be receptive, and be motivated; that the therapist role is to listen, support, and give advice; and that the therapeutic relationship should be close and personal. Participants had ideas about the benefits (a healing therapeutic relationship, personal and interpersonal changes) and the barriers (self‐stigma and public stigma, difficulty revealing, need to solve problems on own, cost) associated with seeking therapy, and they disliked the idea of being diagnosed. In contrast with participants who were securely attached, those who were insecurely attached more often wanted a professional therapeutic relationship, wanted the therapist to ask questions, mentioned fewer benefits to therapy, and thought that they would have difficulty disclosing to a therapist. Discussion: Implications for changing attitudes about psychotherapy and improving training programs for practitioners are discussed.


Accepted version. Counselling & Psychotherapy Research, Vol. 12, No. 1 (March 2012): 13-24. DOI. © 2012 Wiley. Used with permission.

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