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Therapist competence matters -- and more for some patients than others
Date:7/6/2010

earchers also tested patients again after 16 weeks of treatment to see if competence predicted longer-term improvement. Here, competence was significantly related to patient improvement on just one of two measures of depression severity.

"When you look at how patients do after four full months of treatment, the importance of therapist competence was still there, but not as strong," he said.

Strunk said the results suggest that therapists may show higher levels of competence in some sessions compared to others, even with the same patient.

"From our results, you should expect that there will be a range of competence from session to session even among good therapists," Strunk said.

"That may mean that the way we define competence is still not good enough, because we're finding that even highly trained therapists get below-average scores a fair number of times."

The results should encourage more study about the best way to measure competence in therapists.

"The field is still struggling to figure out how to measure competence, and that's one of the things this study is about," he said.

Strunk also said that, if replicated, these results would suggest that clinic directors should look at patient characteristics when deciding which therapists should treat individual patients with depression. Those patients with anxiety issues or early onset depression should be placed with the highest-rated therapists to get the most benefit.


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Contact: Daniel Strunk
Strunk.20@osu.edu
614-688-4891
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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