Expectancies in therapy research: Interpretive artifact or mediating mechanism?

Richard R. Bootzin, John R. Lick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


W. Wilkins (see record 1980-01498-001), in his critique of client expectancy, concludes that expectancy is a questionable interpretive artifact for the effectiveness of therapy. The authors disagree with much of Wilkins's analysis, which they say confuses attempts to demonstrate effectiveness with attempts to explore theoretical mechanisms. It is their view that expectancy is a viable alternative explanation for the effectiveness of therapy. Contrary to Wilkins's assertion, it is argued that systematic desensitization, as an exemplar of therapy, has not been demonstrated to be superior to equally credible, observable manipulations of expectancy. Further contributions to treatment technology will require a detailed analysis of how expectancy manipulations mediate improvement. (20 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)852-855
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1979
Externally publishedYes


  • client expectations, psychotherapeutic outcomes, criticism of W. Wilkins's article

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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