Characteristics of effective therapists: further analyses of data from the National Institute of Mental Health Treatment of Depression Collaborative Research Program

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1996 Dec;64(6):1276-84. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.64.6.1276.


Analyses of the data of the National Institute of Mental Health-sponsored Treatment of Depression Collaborative Research Program have primarily examined the effects of types of treatment and patient characteristics on outcome, but scant attention has been directed toward evaluating the contributions of the therapist. With an aggregate of residualized therapeutic change scores of the 5 primary outcome measures for each patient at termination as an overall measure of improvement, an average therapeutic effectiveness measure was derived for each of the 28 therapists based on the outcome of the patients they saw in active treatment. The distribution of the therapists was divided into thirds, and comparisons indicate that more effective therapists are more psychological minded, eschew biological interventions (i.e., medication and electroconvulsive therapy) in their ordinary clinical practice, and expect outpatient treatment of depression to take longer than did moderately and less effective therapists.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imipramine / therapeutic use
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Psychotherapy*
  • Psychotherapy, Brief
  • Random Allocation
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Imipramine