Changes in playfulness, creativity and honesty as possible outcomes of psychotherapy

Psychother Res. 2020 Jul;30(6):788-799. doi: 10.1080/10503307.2019.1649733. Epub 2019 Aug 1.


Objectives: This study comprised an examination of whether clients' playfulness, creativity, honesty, humor, and happiness changed during psychotherapy. Methods: Sixty-two clients who underwent psychotherapy in a naturalistic setting completed questionnaires at five time points throughout treatment. An HLM analytic approach was applied to account for the hierarchical nature of the data. Results: Mental distress declined during treatment, while playfulness and creativity increased significantly. Honesty decreased significantly in the course of the treatment, while no significant change was found in the level of affiliative humor or the level of happiness. Conclusions: Changes in personality variables that can serve as positive constructs defining mental health, namely playfulness, creativity, and honesty, might be a possible outcome of psychotherapy.

Keywords: creativity; honesty; outcome research; playfulness; psychodynamic/psychoanalytic theory.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Creativity*
  • Female
  • Happiness*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Play and Playthings / psychology*
  • Psychotherapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Truth Disclosure*
  • Young Adult