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Real Relationship: The “Something More” of Psychotherapy


Although it often operates silently, the personal relationship is a part of everything that transpires between therapist and client. Following the psychoanalyst Ralph Greenson's (1967) early lead, the term Real Relationship is used to capture this personal aspect of psychotherapy. It is divided into two elements, realism and genuineness; and both these elements are further divided into magnitude and valence aspects. Research on the real relationship is almost nonexistent, and to an important extent this is due to the lack of a reliable, valid, and convenient measure. The author is involved in a research project aimed at developing such measures from both the client and therapist perspective. Examples of items are provided.

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Correspondence to Charles J. Gelso.

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Gelso, C.J. Real Relationship: The “Something More” of Psychotherapy. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy 32, 35–40 (2002).

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  • real relationship
  • realism
  • genuineness
  • relationship