Original Paper

Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 402-415

First online:

A Literature Review of Therapeutic Expectancy Effects

  • Rachel B. TamblingAffiliated withDepartment Human Development and Family Studies, University of Connecticut Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Expectancy effects, the process by which expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies, have been found in a variety of research settings and are generally powerful predictors of outcomes. Although a significant body of literature exists addressing the role of expectations on outcomes in individual therapy, little is known about the role of expectations in couple therapy. Further, little is known about the mechanisms by which expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies in complex interpersonal settings such as psychotherapy. This manuscript offers a comprehensive review of the extant literature about expectations in individual psychotherapy, a review of preliminary evidence of the presence of expectations in couple therapy, and suggestions for future research.


Expectations Expectancy effects Therapy Couples