The patient is allowed to develop his style freely, be it storytelling, demanding, pleading, planning, inquiring,ventilating, explaining or complaining, as long as the relationship gains momentum. His responses to suggestions indicate if he wants an active therapist. Will     he feel unique, understand himself in biographical terms, display feelings, or adopt a detached scientific stance? Descriptive style and transactions with the interviewer reveal preferences in problem solving. These insights are applied to strengthen the budding therapeutic alliance. The initial interview style is then approximated successively to the most desirable one by first exploring, later challenging, counterproductive beliefs and unrealistic priorities.To       a client complaining of severe shyness, ambiguous social cues — such   as someone not paying  attention — are presented as allowing a variety of interpretations. The inattentive person might be, for example, preoccupied with something else, not necessarily rejecting. The client’s tendency to always expect rejection has perhaps evolved as a result of past experiences and a lack of social skills, and the explanation  introduces a touch of  intellectual detachment into the client’s perception. Assumptions about the importance of being liked  are examined in regard to their usefulness.A sense of being “special”  may be dealt with by pointing out the operant effects of such a belief. Complaining and demands for compassion gradually give way to ventilating, recording neglected data, trying out new explanations, testing assumptions, and finally,to formulating a rationale for an intervention —  such as refining social skills.

A substantial proportion of patients are not conversant in the terms of scientific psychology and cannot be expected to cooperate on this     basis alone. Instead, a compromise is negotiated. An understanding  cannot be taken for granted even when a client actively seeks out a  particular therapeutic bias. He may look for a behaviourist to have   physiological responses recorded rather than having to discuss  a  personal embarrassment or consult with an analyst because he hopes to avoid demands for behaviour change. Therapists may justly examine their preferences along similar lines.


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