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Reflections of Authority in Psychotherapy
Psychoanalytic Social Work (2008)
  • Cassandra L. Bransford, Binghamton University--SUNY
This article examines how therapists' expressions of authority affect the psychotherapeutic relationship. The article is based on the proposition that the clinical practitioner is always in a position of authority, regardless of how the role of authority is conceptualized within treatment approaches. The article includes an investigation of power and authority differentials within and across therapeutic approaches that espouse both hierarchical and egalitarian authority relationships. Process material from these approaches is analyzed to identify therapists' exercise of authority within these two approaches. It is suggested that researchers and therapists might use a heuristic research design to study the conveyance of therapeutic authority to identify whether dimensions of authority are overtly or covertly expressed, and whether or how such expression might affect practice and a client's exercise of personal authority.
  • authority,
  • treatment relationship,
  • feminist treatment models
Publication Date
October 9, 2008
Publisher Statement
This is the metadata for an article published by Taylor & Francis in Psychoanalytic Social Work Journal on October 9, 2008, available online:
Citation Information
Bransford, C.L., & Bakken, T. (2002). Reflections of authority in psychotherapy: From Freud to feminism. Psychoanalytic Social Work, 9(1), 57-84.