Author Toh, Germaine Yinniang
Title Client-counsellor dyad compatibility on client satisfaction with counselling
Institute Thesis (M.A.) (Applied Psychology) National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
Year 2009
Supervisor Tan, Soo Yin
Call no. BF637.C6 Toh
Within the counselling services, there are numerous cultural variations that are present within the client-counsellor dyad such as ethnicity, language, gender, age, socioeconomic status, educational background and many others. Such cultural variations may affect the validity of assessment, development of therapist-rapport, therapeutic alliance and treatment effectiveness. Therefore, researching on compatibility within the client-counsellor dyad would be beneficial in developing better ways of working effectively with culturally diverse clients. Hence, this research paper specifically aims to investigate compatibility in gender, ethnicity and language on client satisfaction with counselling.

Ninety-one counselling clients who fulfill the criteria minimum age of 13 years old and have attended at least four and not exceeding 15 counselling sessions were selected to participate in this study. They were randomly sampled from various Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) across Singapore. Participants were asked to complete a short questionnaire consisting of a section derived from the modified version of the Satisfaction with Therapy and Therapist Scale by Oei and Shuttlewood (1999).

The percentage of client-counsellor match on gender and ethnicity was computed for the sample where 59.3% perceived a match in gender and 76.9% perceived a match in ethnicity. Correlation analyses were performed on the independent variables namely gender, ethnic and language match and client satisfaction with counselling. The results indicate that only language match is positively correlated with client satisfaction while gender and ethnic match are not significantly associated to client satisfaction. Moreover, in the regression analysis, after controlling for demographic characteristics, language match remain a significant contributor to the variance of client satisfaction with counselling. In general, regardless of counselling clients’ gender, ethnicity and age, those who perceived their counsellors to be speaking the same language as themselves felt more satisfied with counselling. A discussion of the implications on counselling practice, limitations of the present study, and suggestions for future research will also be presented.