Category: Health Care System / Public Policy

Symposium

There Are Therapist Effects but What Characterizes Effective Therapists?

Friday, November 17
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Cobalt 502, Level 5, Cobalt Level

Keywords: Psychotherapy Outcome | Therapeutic Alliance
Presentation Type: Symposium

Aim: The aim of this presentation is to consider and review potential predictors of therapist effects.

Method:  We will briefly review the literature on therapist effects. We will then review studies of potential sources of therapist effects. These include studies that measure characteristics of therapists or the therapeutic relationship (e.g., alliance, positive affirmation), that measure therapists’ response to the same therapeutic situation, and that measure therapist characteristics outside of therapy.

Results: Studies suggest that therapists who are consistently rated as having higher alliances have better outcomes. Therapists’ facilitative interpersonal skills predicted outcomes retrospectively but not prospectively. Therapists’ reporting higher levels of reflection about their practice and ability to help patients show better outcomes than those reporting lower levels. Finally, therapists who engage in deliberate practice of therapeutic skills show better outcomes.

Conclusions:  The literature aiming to explain therapist effects is just beginning. Although the initial results are promising, more studies designed to test predictors of therapist effects are needed. We will finish the presentation with a discussion of potential methodological challenges going forward.

Scott Baldwin

Associate Professor
Brigham Young University

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