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October 2021

The master therapist: Ideal character or clinical fiction? Comments and questions on Jennings and Skovholt's ''The cognitive, emotional, and relational characteristics of master therapists''

Journal/Book: J Couns Psychol. 1999; 46: 750 First St NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, USA. Amer Psychological Assoc. 12-15.

Abstract: L. Jennings and T. M. Skovholt's (1999) study constitutes a useful step toward deepening scientific understanding of what therapists at their best are capable of offering to their clients. Both the study's strengths and limitations stimulate questions, which this commentary attempts to consider. These questions mainly concern the lack of a clear initial definition of ''master therapist,'' the lack of meaningful comparison groups needed to infer the distinctive characteristics of master therapists, the incomplete communication of data-analytic procedures, and the formulation of results as a uniform ideal-typical pattern that precludes recognition of individual differences. Despite this, the clinical richness of the findings is well appreciated, and the questions stimulated by the study indicate its high heuristic value.

Note: Article Orlinsky DE, Univ Chicago, Comm Human Dev, Chicago,IL 60637 USA

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