Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 402–415 | Cite as

A Literature Review of Therapeutic Expectancy Effects

Original Paper


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 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department Human Development and Family StudiesUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

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