Letting go: the client's experience of relational depth

Maria McMillan, John McLeod

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    The concept of relational depth represents a significant development within counseling and psychotherapy theory and practice. However, until now, comparatively little attention has been given to the distinctive perspective of the client in relation to this process. The aim of the present study was to explore the point of view of clients around their experiences of relational depth within psychotherapy. Ten participants were interviewed, each of whom had undergone multiple episodes of therapy. Data were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. The account of relational depth generated by these clients suggested that deeply facilitative therapy relationships are characterized by a willingness to "let go" on the part of the client, and enter into an enduring relationship with their therapist. Clients' descriptions disclosed aspects of relational connectedness that may often be hidden from practitioners. The implications of these findings for the theory of relational depth, and for the practice of counseling and psychotherapy, are discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)277-292
    Number of pages16
    JournalPerson-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • Clients
    • Counseling
    • Client centered therapy
    • Psychotherapeutic processes
    • Relationship therapy
    • Therapists


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