Getting What You Want Out of Therapy: Take the Quiz and See How Your Expectations Might Help or Hinder You

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If you’ve ever thought about visiting a therapist and are curious about your own expectations of treatment, take our quiz to learn more.

*The items used for this quiz were drawn from the Psychotherapy Expectancy Inventory-Revised developed by Dr. Juris Berzins. The items for this scale can be found in Bleyen et al. (2001). Permission to use the items for this quiz was granted by Dr. Juris Berzin.

Growing up, my main experience with a therapist was watching Woody Allen movies.

He would free-associate to his psychoanalyst, largely uninterrupted, on topics ranging from his childhood to fears of intimacy in his relationships with various women. And I thought to myself, “I guess that’s what therapists do.”

Portrayals of therapy in popular media, along with any past experiences that we’ve had, largely shape our expectations about what it means to be ‘in therapy.’

Research findings suggest that the expectations we hold about therapy matter. For example, when there are significant mismatches between what one expects to happen in therapy and what actually does, clients are more likely to quit early and less likely to form a good working relationship with their therapist, potentially derailing the entire endeavor.

READ RELATED: 6 Tips on Finding a Therapist or Life Coach that’s Right for You

If you’ve ever thought about visiting a therapist and are curious about your own expectations of treatment, take our quiz to learn more.

And if you take the additional step of setting up a first appointment, make some time to discuss your expectations of treatment with your therapist. It’s perfectly okay to ask how your expectations might match up with their personal style.

Some mismatches are to be expected and learning to work through those can be an important part of the therapeutic process. However, if you start to get the feeling that your most fundamental needs and expectations aren’t going to be met, it’s also perfectly okay to try out a session with another therapist to see if better chemistry can be found elsewhere.

So, take the quiz and let us know what you learned about yourself and your expectations of therapy in the comments box below.

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Bleyen, K., Vertommen, H., Vander Steene, G., & Van Audenhove, C. (2001). Psychometric properties of the Psychotherapy Expectancy Inventory-Revised (PEI-R). Psychotherapy Research, 11, 69-83.

Callahan, J. L., Aubuchon-Endsley, N., Borja, S. E., & Swift, J. K. (2009). Pretreatment expectancies and premature termination in a training clinic environment. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 3, 111-119.

Clinton, D. (2001). Expectations and experiences of treatment in eating disorders. Eating Disorders, 9, 361-371.

Philips, B., & Wennberg, P. (2014). Psychotherapy role expectations and experiences–Discrepancy and therapeutic alliance among patients with substance use disorders. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 87, 411-424.



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