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TMatch: Client/Therapist Matching
Based on Client Extraversion

Short Restatement of Matching Recommendations

Extraversion (E) reflects preference for interpersonal interactions and social situations, and being outgoing versus being introverted. The matching recommendations are that the higher the E, the lower the structure should be, and the higher the spontaneous speech and social interaction required by the therapy should be.

Client Assessments

Clients were assessed on the five domains of Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness using the NEO Five Factor Inventory, as described in the introduction page to matching using 5-factor personality theory.

Therapist Assessment: Amount of Structure

This assessment was made through two questions:

  1. To what degree is your usual method of therapy structured?
  2. To what degree is what happens during your therapy planned?

Therapist Assessment: Spontaneous Speech Required by Therapy

This assessment was made with one question:

  1. How much direction or control do you usually exert over what your clients discuss during therapy?

Therapist Assessment: Social Interaction Required by Therapy

This assessment was made with four questions:

  1. What level of intimacy usually occurs during your therapy?
  2. What is the general level of emotional intensity during your therapy sessions?
  3. To what extent is your therapy under your control, vs. collaborative with your clients?
  4. In general, how confrontational is your therapy?

Future Use of Extraversion for Matching

Results of Study: Client Assessment

For all clients, including pilot testers, on the scale of 1-5, Extraversion had a mean of 2.92 (sd = 1.31). The mean is almost exactly in the center, and the standard deviation is fairly large for a five number scale. These statistics strongly support the utility of this scale for matching purposes.

Results of Study: Therapist Assessment of Amount of Structure

The direct question about amount of structure in therapy did produce some useful variability, although therapists tended toward believing their therapy had relatively low amounts of structure. The qualititative part of this study indicated that a problem with this question was that the term "structure" is not clearly defined or understood. People have an immediate reaction to this concept, but on deeper examination, are not in agreement as to what it means. The question about how much therapy was planned ahead was not very useful, as there was a strong tendency for therapists to think that they did not plan where their therapy was going ahead of time, and the level of planning ahead is only indirectly related to structure anyway.

Results of Study: Therapist Assessment of Spontaneous Speech Required

Almost all therapists answered that they exerted almost no direction or control over what clients discuss during therapy. This implies that almost all therapists required a large amount of spontaneous speech from clients. Of course, all the therapists in this study were talk therapists, and there are other types of therapy that might require very little spontaneous speech (e.g., art therapy).

Results of Study: Therapist Assessment of Social Interaction Required by Therapy

This particular assessment was not very successful, as a result of the particular questions used. Almost all therapists thought their therapy had high levels of intimacy and emotional intensity, and that they were extremely collaborative. The only question that was somewhat useful for differentiating therapists was about level of confrontation. A large part of the problem in this assessment was that I tried to approximate this dimension by using questions created for other purposes in TMatch. The development of an instrument to measure social interaction required by therapy is a large project just in itself, and is probably overly complex in conjuction with trying to assess many other dimensions at the same time.

Results of Study: Matching Success for Structure

The matching suggesion related to structure was not strongly supported, but was not a complete failure either. It would be worth trying again when a better assessment of structure was available.

Results of Study: Matching Success for Spontaneous Speech Required

This matching recommendation did not work well, mostly due to the problem of assessing and defining the amount of spontaneous speech required by therapy. Does any talking by a client in therapy qualify as spontaneous speech? After all, clients expect to do a lot of talking in talk therapy, regardless of their comfort with spontaneous speech in the outside world. If almost all therapies require a large amount of spontaneous speech by clients, then this dimension isn't useful for differentiating therapists for matching purposes.

Results of Study: Matching Success for Social Interaction Required

This matching recommendation did seem to be somewhat supported. However, there was such a large problem in the therapist assessment that no clear indication was available.

The Next Step for Matching Based on Extraversion

For most of these matching recommendations, there was little or no success. However, the therapist assessments were so problematic that no clear decisions on efficacy could be made. This matching criterion would be interesting to try again if the therapist assessments could be vastly improved.