The Interpersonal Context of Client Motivational Language in Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy

Previous research has found that client motivational language (especially arguments against change or counterchange talk; CCT) in early therapy sessions is a reliable predictor of therapy process and outcomes across a broad range of treatments including cognitive–behavioral therapy (CBT). Existing studies have considered the general occurrence of CCT, but the present study differentiated 2 types of CCT in early CBT sessions for 37 clients with generalized anxiety disorder: (a) statements that are uttered to express ambivalence regarding change versus (b) statements that are intended to oppose the therapist or therapy. Findings indicated that a higher number of CCT statements that occurred in the presence of resistance (opposition to the therapist or therapy) were a substantive and consistent predictor of lower homework compliance and poorer outcomes, up to 1 year posttreatment. When both types of CCT were considered together, only opposition CCT was related to outcomes, and ambivalent CCT was not significantly predictive of proximal and distal outcomes.

Sijercic, Iris, Button, Melissa L., Westra, Henny A., and Hara, Kimberley M. (2015). The Interpersonal Context of Client Motivational Language in Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy. Psychotherapy. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pst0000017

About rickyWburk

Ricky W. Burk, CCC-SLP, BCS-F, is a speech-language pathologist who provides in-home therapy for adolescents and adults residing in Tennessee and Mississippi who stutter. His career includes PreK, elementary, middle, and high school practice, undergraduate & graduate faculty appointments, skilled nursing, national & international consultation, private practice, and national & international speaking presentations. He holds the American Speech-Language Hearing Association Certificate of Clinical Competence, and he is a Board Certified Specialist in Fluency Disorders. He is the ASHA Continuing Education Administrator for the National Association for Speech Fluency.
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