Consistency of Interpersonal Themes for Patients In Psychotherapy


  • Preparation of this article was supported in part by National Institute on Drug Abuse Grant DA-04840 and National Institute of Mental Health Grants RO1-MH40472, Clinical Research Center P01-MH45178, and Career Development Award K01-MH00756 to Paul Crits-Christoph.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Paul Crits-Christoph, 3600 Market Street, Room 700, Philadelphia, PA 19104–2648.


ABSTRACT In this study the extent to which patients in psychotherapy display similar interpersonal themes across multiple narratives of their interactions with others was investigated. Interpersonal themes were measured using a new instrument entitled the Quantitative Assessment of Interpersonal Themes (QUAINT) method, which assesses the wishes, responses from others, and responses of self that occur in narratives about interactions with others. For 60 patients in psychotherapy, evidence for repetitiveness of themes was found; the effect was relatively small but was highly statistically significant. Individual differences in the degree of repetitiveness of themes were not related to type of treatment (dynamic vs. cognitive), but they were related to length of time in treatment. The limitations of the study are reviewed and future research directions are outlined.