This investigation addressed the question of what implicit notions on the suitability for psychotherapy are operative in the therapist and how they affect his perception of the real patient in the first interview. Study 1 compared 13 psychotherapist’s ratings of ideal, implicit notions of suitability for a variety of psychotherapies to their ratings of 20 videotaped patients. A significant correlation was found for analytical indication stereotypes only. Clinical person perception in this task seems to be focused on desirable patient variables, leading to paradoxes. In study 2, a Swiss sample of 67 therapists was able to differentiate only two indication stereotypes, an analytical one versus a nonanalytical one. Results suggest that goal variables of psychoanalytical therapies must be present in the ideally suited patient at the onset of therapy.

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