Examining the therapeutic compliment with African-Americans: a counseling technique to improve the working alliance
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The working alliance has received consistent empirical support relating the construct to psychotherapy outcome. There is no empirical research on any particular techniques that may prove useful at increasing the level of working alliance. In this study, the therapeutic compliment is defined, discussed, and compared with other therapeutic interventions to find its usefulness in therapy and its ability to impact the working alliance. 120 African-Americans from a large southwestern university and a medium southeastern university participated in this study by viewing one of six mock therapy sessions that had one of three different interventions: Therapeutic Compliment, Simple Compliment, and Advanced Accurate Empathy. The mock sessions were created to provide two levels of session relationship (high and low). The participants completed three measures, the Working Alliance Inventory, Hopefulness Scale, and Accurate Empathy Scale, to determine the perceptions of the different interventions. The study utilized multiple analyses of variances (ANOVAs) to compare the means of the three interventions.Statistical significance was not found with overall general working alliance scores from the Working Alliance Inventory (WAI). The individual subscales of the WAI, goals, tasks, and bonds, however; did reveal significance when comparing the interventions across one level of the session relationship (high). The interventions were not statistically different from each other in terms of perceived hopefulness and empathy. No significance was found when comparing the interventions with perceived hopefulness of outcome or level of perceived empathy. The implications from this study include a first look at the use of complimenting in therapy and a first attempt to analyze a specific technique to create an influence on the working alliance. Further research is still needed to understand which techniques are more beneficial at creating an affect on the working alliance.
Duncan, Bryan Thomas (2007). Examining the therapeutic compliment with African-Americans: a counseling technique to improve the working alliance. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from