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Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1985 Jun;42(6):602-11.

Therapist success and its determinants.


This study examined the relatively unexplored contribution of the therapist's performance in determining outcomes of treatment. Nine therapists were studied: three performed supportive-expressive psychotherapy; three, cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy; and three, drug counseling. Profound differences were discovered in the therapists' success with the patients in their case loads. Four potential determinants of these differences were explored: patient factors; therapist factors; patient-therapist relationship factors; and therapy factors. Results showed that patient characteristics within each case load (after random assignments) were similar and disclosed no differences that would have explained the differences in success; therapist's personal qualities were correlated with outcomes but not significantly (mean r = .32); an early-in-treatment measure of the patient-therapist relationship, the Helping Alliance Questionnaire, yielded significant correlations with outcomes (mean r = .65); among the therapy techniques, "purity" provided significant correlations with outcomes (mean r = .44), both across therapists and within each therapist's case load. The three therapist-related factors were moderately associated with each other.

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