What is it about?

Clinical trainees' personal characteristics and usage of techniques predicted client perceptions of sessions and techniques alone predicted client ratings of alliance. Specifically, higher trainee GRE scores predicted shallower sessions and support predicted deeper sessions and a better alliance.

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Why is it important?

We collected data on trainees before they had any clinical training. These data were then matched to the trainees' very first clinical case. This method limits the impact of differential training and allows a clearer view of how trainee traits and techniques relate to clients' ratings of session depth and the therapeutic relationship. Importantly, our findings suggest that higher Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores were associated with shallower sessions. This is important as the field continues to investigate the usefulness of the GRE as a measure of admission consideration for clinical and counseling psychology programs.


This project opened my eyes to the research that should be supporting educational advancement. I hope this work will inspire others to continue studying the usefulness of admission materials. Lastly, this article, along with others, calls the GRE into question as it may not be helpful in determining which candidates have the greatest clinical potential.

Christy Jarrard
Georgia State University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Predicting client-rated session depth and alliance in trainees’ first clinical encounter: The contribution of therapist characteristics and technique usage., Training and Education in Professional Psychology, May 2023, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/tep0000454.
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