A psychotherapeutic exploration of the impact of the therapists clothing in the room

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McCarthy, Marie
Issue Date
MA in Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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As personal clothing choices influence our everyday life, clothes that psychotherapists wear while working with clients do have a significant impact on client/psychotherapist relationship. This research seeks to make sense of the psychotherapists’ experience and understand their perceptions of their clothing choices in the psychotherapeutic space. The methodology used was focus groups with trainee psychotherapists who have recently started working with clients. Three themes emerged from the interviews which are psychotherapists choices of attire in the psychotherapy room, the impact of clothing on the client/psychotherapist relationship and transference and countertransference issues in the therapeutic space. The research suggests that clothing does have an impact in the therapeutic space and psychotherapists need to be aware of the way they dress while working with clients.