Palubeckas A J: Rapport in the therapeutic relationship and its relationship to pacing.
Dissertation Abstracts International 42(6), 2543-B (2544-B) Boston University School of Education (Order = 8126743): 127, 1981.
Abstract: This research study examined the relationship of the pacing behaviors of direct mirroring, cross-over mirroring, auditory tempo mirroring, auditory tonal mirroring, predicate-predicate mirroring, and predicate-eye mirroring to the development of initial therapeutic rapport. Pacing was defined as the matching or "mirroring" by a therapist of a client's nonverbal, paralingual, and verbal behaviors, and was postulated to be a highly effective behavior in the initiation and maintenance of rapport in a therapeutic relationship. This study limited itself to an exploration of the relationship of the absolute frequency of these six pacing behaviors to the establishment of initial rapport. To examine the relationship of pacing, as measured by scores for direct mirroring, cross-over mirroring, auditory tempo mirroring, auditory tonal mirroring, predicate-predicate mirroring, and predicate-eye mirroring to subject perceived rapport in the initial therapeutic relationship, the research design of this study utilized a relatively unstructured interview which attempted to simulate an initial psychotherapeutic consultation. Twenty interviews of 20 undergraduate psychology students were conducted by 20 therapists of varying degrees of experience, after which the subjects completed the Anderson and Anderson Interview Rating Scale. The rating scale provided an operational definition of rapport for the study, and produced a score which measured the degree of subject-experienced rapport as an effect of therapist pacing behaviors. The videotapes of these 20 interviews were rated by trained raters to determine the absolute frequency of each of the six pacing behaviors for each therapist-client dyad. Analysis of the scores for the interviews, as measured by Pearson product moment correlation coefficients, showed statistically significant correlations for predicate- eye mirroring and perceived rapport, and for total pacing exhibited and perceived rapport. Correlations were not statistically significant for the relationships between perceived rapport and the degree of clinical experience, the degree of subject's awareness of pacing behaviors and perceived rapport, and the degree of clinical experience and the degree of pacing behaviors demonstrated. The findings of this study, then, support the following conclusions. Pacing as exhibited by non-verbal, paralinguistic, and verbal mirroring of a client's behaviors results in an initial sense of rapport experienced by a client which seems to foster an atmosphere conducive to the development of a deeper therapeutic relationship. An important element of pacing may be predicate-eye mirroring, but further investigation of the relationship between each of these pacing behaviors and between each of these behaviors and rapport is necessary. The type of clinical training and length of clinical training do not appear to be significant factors in determining the degree of pacing which occurs, nor do they seem to be significant elements in determining the degree of rapport which results in an initial therapeutic interview. This conclusion suggests, perhaps, that certain natural abilities to pace may outweigh the influence of training on the ability to effectively pace another individual in any communication. This data also suggests the importance to clinicians of attention, congruence in communication, and integration of new learnings into a "natural" psychotherapeutic style as goals of training.