Journal of Counseling Psychology
The study examined which socio-demographic differences between clients and providers influenced interpersonal complementarity during an initial intake session; that is, behaviors that facilitate harmonious interactions between client and provider. Complementarity was assessed using blinded ratings of 114 videotaped intake sessions by trained observers. Hierarchical linear models were used to examine how match between client and provider in race/ethnicity, sex, and age were associated with levels of complementarity. A qualitative analysis investigated potential mechanisms that accounted for overall complementarity beyond match by examining client-provider dyads in the top and bottom quartiles of the complementarity measure. Results indicated significant interactions between client's race/ethnicity (Black) and provider's race/ethnicity (Latino) (p = .036) and client's age and provider's age (p = .044) on the Affiliation axis. The qualitative investigation revealed that client-provider interactions in the upper quartile of complementarity were characterized by consistent descriptions between the client and provider of concerns and expectations as well as depictions of what was important during the meeting. Results suggest that differences in social identities, although important, may be overcome by interpersonal variables early in the therapeutic relationship. Implications for both clinical practice and future research are discussed, as are factors relevant to working across cultures.
Rosen, Daniel C.; Miller, Alisa B.; Nakash, Ora; Halpern, Lucila; and Alegría, Margarita, "Interpersonal Complementarity in the Mental Health Intake: a Mixed-Methods Study" (2012). School for Social Work: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.