Category: Health Care System / Public Policy

Symposium

Symposium 11 - Therapist Effects: Current Knowledge, Empirical Advances, and Implications

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

Keywords: Psychotherapy Outcome | Health Care System | Service Delivery
Presentation Type: Symposium

The past decade has witnessed important empirical developments in the area of therapist effects and related variability in treatment process and outcomes. The field of mental health care now has solid evidence that some therapists are more (and others less) effective than most therapists in both their delivery of interventions and client outcomes. Furthermore, research has begun to identify a number of factors that might account for such differential therapist effectiveness.  Nonetheless, mental health care stakeholders and systems need to know more about the nature and implications of therapist differences.  The goals of this symposium are to (a) briefly review the state of the research on therapist effects; (b) present  findings from recent empirical efforts and conceptual contributions to improve our understanding of therapist effects; and (c) discuss the implications of therapist effects for mental health care practice, training, and policy. In the first presentation, Dr. Scott Baldwin will briefly review the literature on therapist effects, followed by a review studies of potential sources of therapist effects. These include studies that measure characteristics of therapists or the therapeutic relationship, that measure therapists’ response to the same therapeutic situation, and that measure therapist characteristics outside of therapy. In the second presentation, Dr. Wolfgang Lutz  will briefly review landmark and current large sample studies on therapist effectiveness, followed by a focus on the impact of patient severity on the extent of therapist effects and implications for personalized treatments. Dr. Lutz and colleagues draw from a large dataset from U.S., U.K., and Germany comprising a sample of N=48,648 clients. In addition, they will clarify the concept of therapist effects in contrast with therapist effectiveness and the general construct outcome variability.  Based on the past and recent studies, these authors will draw six major conclusions about our current understanding of therapist effects. In the third presentation, Dr. James Boswell will present results from a recent study examining the stability and predictive validity of therapist effectiveness, which applied comprehensive risk-adjustment and random forest modeling methods. In the context of existing work on the therapist effects and the presented results, implications for mental health care practice, training, and policy will be discussed. Finally, Dr. David Atkins will serve as the symposium Discussant. He will address both the methodological and professional implications of therapist performance assesment and observed between-therapist differences.

Learning Objectives:

James F. Boswell

Assistant Professor of Psychology
University at Albany, SUNY

Presentation(s):

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David C. Atkins

Research Professor
University of Washington

Presentation(s):

    Send Email for David Atkins

    Scott Baldwin

    Associate Professor
    Brigham Young University

    Presentation(s):

    Send Email for Scott Baldwin

    Wolfgang Lutz

    Professor
    University of Trier, Germany

    Presentation(s):

      Send Email for Wolfgang Lutz

      James F. Boswell

      Assistant Professor of Psychology
      University at Albany, SUNY

      Presentation(s):

      Send Email for James Boswell


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