Humility as catalyst of client change: A delphi study



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Texas Tech University


The focus of this study was to further conceptualize and improve upon current understanding of humility and its relationship to client change in relational therapies. Specifically, the principal investigator proposed a working definition of humility based on current conceptual development of this construct and then solicited professional consensus on the relevance of humility in client change efforts in relational therapies. To do this, the Delphi method was used to identify and sample a group of 13 mental health professionals who have extensive experience in research and practice focusing on humility, virtues, or client change. They completed a series of Delphi Questionnaires over time (three required, one optional) that focused on the proposed definition of humility and its relationship to client change efforts in relational therapies. Using median and interquartile range scores to analyze the data from the questionnaires, a final profile of 70 humility and client change items were identified. From this profile, six core principles of humility were further clarified: (1) humility requires non-forced intention, (2) humility reflects strength, (3) humility attends to self and other with honesty, dignity, and respect, (4) humility reflects willingness and openness, (5) humility reflects and invites responsibility, and (6) humility involves benevolence and sacrifice. Two prevailing implications of these findings were explored; starting points of research, training, and practice were also discussed. Given the above, this study now provides a foundation for future research regarding humility as a virtue of importance and impact in client change efforts.



Relational therapy, Virtues, Change, Humility, Client