Firm, Fair and Caring Relationships

Research robustly indicates that the strongest controllable predictor of outcome in therapy is the quality of the relationship between the therapist and client. But traditional conceptions of the therapeutic alliance do not capture the dual roles that are inherent in relationships with involuntary clients. Officers and providers not only care for, but also have control over, people who are required to accept services.

Our research indicates that high-quality dual-role relationships are characterized by caring and fairness, trust, and an authoritative (not authoritarian) style. We developed and validated the Dual Role Relationship Inventory (DRI-R) to operationalize these features. Our lab -- and others -- have found that, when professionals establish high-quality dual role relationships with justice-involved people, their likelihood of re-offending is reduced. Firm, fair, and caring relationships with officers even protect high-risk offenders against recidivism.

For more information on the DRI-R, or to partner on research related to dual-role relationship quality, please click here.