Effects of therapist adherence and competence on patient outcome in brief dynamic therapy

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1996 Jun;64(3):619-22. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.64.3.619.


The authors examined the relation between therapist process variables (adherence and competence) and subsequent symptomatic change in patients. Twenty-nine depressed patients were seen in 16 sessions of weekly supportive expressive (SE) dynamic psychotherapy. Change in depression from intake to Session 3 predicted higher ratings of adherence to expressive (interpretative) techniques during Session 3 but not their competent delivery. Partialling pretreatment psychiatric severity, therapists' adherence to use of expressive techniques, and previous symptomatic improvement, relatively competent delivery of SE-specific expressive techniques predicted subsequent improvement in depression. Secondary analyses addressing alternative explanations (such as the role of either therapeutic alliance or general therapeutic skills) did not change the results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Internship, Nonmedical
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Personality Inventory
  • Professional Competence*
  • Psychoanalytic Therapy / education
  • Psychoanalytic Therapy / methods*
  • Psychotherapy, Brief / education
  • Psychotherapy, Brief / methods*