'Therapist variables' have been extensively studied in psychotherapy research with particular attention being paid to the match between therapist and patient characteristics and the impact of therapist characteristics on treatment outcome. However there has been far less attention paid to patients' preferences for particular therapist characteristics. A study of 64 people in Germany compared the preferences of people with an eating disorder to those of people suffering with anxiety as far as the figure of their therapist was concerned. Those people with eating disorders attached more importance to the figure of their therapist but both groups expressed a preference for a therapist with an average figure. Within both groups participants preferred their therapist to have a shape similar to their own.
Vocks, Silja, Legenbauer, Tanja and Peters, Inga - Does shape matter? Preference for a female therapist's figure among patients with eating disorders Psychotherapy Research July 2007 17(4), 416-422