The Inventory of Preferences: An International Evaluation
Mick Cooper, Professor of Counselling Psychology, University of Roehampton
Over the past few years, a team of us have been working together to bring together all the datasets on the Cooper-Norcross Inventory of Preferences (C-NIP). The tool was developed by John Norcross and myself to support the assessment of clients’ preferences for therapy–a key part of pluralistic practice. The C-NIP consists of 18 ‘bipolar’ items scored on seven-point scales ranging from 3 (strong preference in one direction) to −3 (strong preference in the opposite direction), with 0 indicating no or equal preference. There are four scales measuring preference for (a) therapist directiveness versus client directiveness, (b) emotional intensity versus emotional reserve, (c) past orientation versus present orientation, and (d) warm support versus focused challenge. The measure also contains several open-ended items regarding clients other preferences (e.g., therapists’ gender, theoretical orientation, and length of therapy). The measure has been translated into over ten different languages now and is freely available at c-nip.net , where there’s also an option of completing an extended version online.
Our project was led by Tomáš Řiháček at Masaryk University, Brno, with Hynek Cígler, Gina di Malta, and Zhuang She also involved, along with John and myself. We wanted to see if the measure was consistent across different countries, and also whether the different scales would stand up to rigorous statistical analysis. In particular, as a measure, it is important that the scales are consistent across different items, indicating that the scales are robustly measuring the dimensions they are supposed to.
We managed to collect 15 datasets with over 10,000 observations in total (thanks to everyone who provided datasets). This include analysis of data from the English, German, Chinese, Czech, French, Spanish, Italian, Turkish, and Portuguese translations of the measure.
What did we find? Generally, the C-NIP did pretty well, across different countries and datasets. The main issue was that a couple of the items did not fit so well, and there seemed to be a split on the Emotional Intensity versus Emotional Reserve dimension, with some items showing a better fit with a new dimension of Immediacy versus Nonimmediacy. That is, clients’ preferences for talking about the therapeutic relationship or not was a somewhat different dimension from whether or not they wanted emotional intensity in their work.
The C-NIP was originally, and most importantly, developed as a tool to facilitate conversations with clients about their preferences in therapy. As such, each of the items, and the scales that they are located within, provides a useful basis for commencing–and reviewing–clinical work. The findings of this study, though, suggest that the C-NIP also does pretty well as a research tool, and as a robust and reliable quantitative indicator of clients’ preferences. Excitingly, though, there’s some valuable opportunities arising from this research for developing and refining our understanding of what clients want from therapy and the best means for assessing this.
Our published paper can be found here . Reference is:
Řiháček, T., Cooper, M., Cígler, H., She, Z., Di Malta, G., & Norcross, J. C. (2023). The Cooper-Norcross Inventory of Preferences: Measurement invariance across & international datasets and languages. Psychotherapy Research, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1080/10503307.2023.2255371