Year of Publication


Document Type





Educational and Counseling Psych

First Advisor

William Stilwell


Research on psychotherapy has consistently revealed that a portion of the variance in positive outcomes can be explained by therapist variables. Examination of clients preferences for certain therapist characteristics has led to inconsistent results further complicated by differences in participant characteristics. This study on therapist characteristics examines relationships between student-preferred therapist characteristics and demographic information provided by participants in their survey responses. Therapist characteristics under investigation include counseling style and approach to treatment, level of experience and training, and demographic information. This study also validates an online survey as a quality method of investigating university students preferences for therapist characteristics through the use of a one-parameter Rasch Item Response Theory model of analysis. Results from this study suggest that the Web-based survey employed was a quality method of collecting data on student preferences for therapist characteristics. Results also indicate that student prefer a well educated therapist of advanced training who is a good listener, makes them feel comfortable and is nonjudgmental. Finally, results suggest that student preferences for certain therapist characteristics are influenced by student demographic information and previous counseling experiences.