Discrepancies between therapists' role preferences and role expectations

Rami Benbenishty, Yaacov Schul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The present study focused on the relationships between therapists' preferences and expectations with regard to their own and their clients' role behaviors. Fifty therapists completed the Role Expectations and Preferences Questionnaire before entering 147 counseling sessions with clients. It was found that therapists' preferences differ from their expectations. This was more pronounced with regard to clients' behaviors than to therapists' role behaviors. Both preferences and expectations changed over time in therapy, but, contrary to hypothesis, the preferences‐expectations gap did not decrease over time. The overall pattern of results indicated that preferences‐expectations discrepancies reflect the therapists' assessment of the clients' willingness and/or ability to behave in ways prescribed by the therapists' theoretical orientation. The paper suggests that future research consider the time‐related aspects of role preferences and expectations and the consequences of preferences‐expectations gap.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-727
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1986
Externally publishedYes


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