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ERIC Number: EJ934464
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0167
Impressions of Psychotherapists' Offices
Nasar, Jack L.; Devlin, Ann Sloan
Journal of Counseling Psychology, v58 n3 p310-320 Jul 2011
For counseling settings, research suggests that softness, personalization, and order might affect the experience and the perceived expertness, trustworthiness, and social attractiveness of the therapist. This article discusses exploratory studies on college students' perception of the counseling office environment and whether the likely client experience was associated with the softness/personalization and order of the office. As stimuli, the studies used 30 color photographs of psychotherapists' offices viewed from the client's perspective. After obtaining ratings of the characteristics of each office, we obtained ratings from different groups of students of the quality of care and comfort expected in each office (Study 1) and how qualified, bold, and friendly the therapist in the office would be (Study 2). Additional studies examined the likelihood of choosing a therapist based on the office, and the first thought or feeling that came to mind about the office, the therapist, and the patient experience. There were strong correlations in response between groups (by whether they had experienced therapy; their level in school; their gender; and their major, location, and school size). The quality of care, comfort, therapist boldness, qualifications of the therapist, and the likelihood that one would choose a therapist based on the office improved with increases in the office's softness/personalization and order. Friendliness improved with increases in softness/personalization. The office choices, open-ended responses, and reported reasons for the ratings confirmed the importance of softness (comfort) and order. Research should test longer term exposure and behavior. (Contains 1 figure, 4 tables, and 1 footnote.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A