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On Entering and Remaining in Psychotherapy


Address correspondence to Marvin R. Goldfried, Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-2500. E-mail:


Schauman and Mansell (2012) propose the use of perceptual control theory to help us understand why individuals may be reluctant to enter into therapy and, if they do, why they may terminate prematurely. Although there exists an extensive theoretical and research literature that documents the benefits of having control over oneself and situations, I maintain this does not totally explain why people either avoid entering therapy or drop out prematurely. Without denying the importance of perceived control, I suggest that certain principles of change also play a most important role, namely one's expectations about treatment, one's motivation to change, and the nature of the therapy alliance.