The focus of current research is to elucidate the relationship between collectivism/individualism (as measured by the Horizontal and Vertical Individualism and Collectivism Scale [HVIC; Triandis & Gelfand, 1998]), working alliance (as measured by the Working Alliance Inventory-Therapist [WAI-T; Horvath, 1981]), self-differentiation (as measured by the Differentiation of Self Inventory-Revised [DSI-R; Skowron & Schmitt, 2003]), and countertransference management (as measured by the Countertransference Factors Inventory-Revised [CFI-R; Hayes et al. , 1997]). The study attempts to address the proposed research hypotheses using structural equation modeling (SEM). The research underscores the complex interplay of variables and highlights the central role of cultural orientation in the working alliance. The primary analysis shows that self-differentiation serves as a significant mediator between horizontal individualism, vertical individualism, horizontal collectivism, and the effectiveness of countertransference management. In addition, the current analysis confirms that self-differentiation also functions as a mediator between horizontal individualism, vertical individualism, horizontal collectivism, and working alliance. The findings underscore the role that self-differentiation plays in different cultural contexts, underscoring its critical importance within the therapeutic relationship. However, contrary to initial expectations, countertransference management did not show a significant mediating effect between individualism/collectivism orientations and working alliance. This suggests that countertransference management may not directly influence working alliance within the proposed cultural contexts. Finally, the study substantiates the serial mediation of self-differentiation and countertransference management between individualism/collectivism orientations and working alliance. Specifically, horizontal individualism positively influences working alliance through the sequence of self-differentiation followed by countertransference management, whereas vertical individualism and horizontal collectivism negatively influence working alliance through the same serial mediation. However, vertical collectivism does not show a meaningful mediating effect within this sequence, suggesting the potential presence of other yet unidentified factors.


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Graduation Date





Butler, S. Kent


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Community Innovation and Education


Counselor Education and School Psychology

Degree Program

Education; Counselor Education


CFE0009886; DP0028419





Release Date

February 2029

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)

Restricted to the UCF community until February 2029; it will then be open access.