The purpose of this study is to explore the counselors’ understanding of which behaviors represent real relationship during the counseling process. Twenty-four participants who are counseling psychologists were interviewed on what observable behaviors and verbalizations they deemed to represent real relationship between the counselors and the clients. Their statements representing the real relationship were recorded on cards, and the interviewees individually sorted these 73 statements into conceptually homogeneous categories. Then, a multivariate concept mapping statistical method was used. As a result, six clusters were identified: care and protection for the client, genuine interaction, sharing similar experiences, sense of connection and communication, involvement in the client’s personal life, and acting as a human being rather than a professional. The two underlying dimensions are “Depth of Involvement and Power Equivalency.” The results displayed some unique qualities reflecting Korean cultural characteristics. This study also discusses the cultural contexts and ethical issues about the real relationship. Research and practice implications are presented.
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