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The effects of therapist training and experience on the outcomes of psychological therapy within an NHS setting

Newman, Mandy


Mandy Newman


Background: This study is based on the notion that client therapy outcomes are dependent, in part, on who the therapist is and not on the techniques they use or what theoretical model is drawn upon to conceptualise the presenting difficulties. Research going back decades has shown that some therapists are better than others at gaining positive outcomes. Additionally, a range of specific therapist characteristics have been shown to contribute to such outcomes. However, the two most controversial variables to have been investigated are therapist training and level of experience; to date the research findings have not clearly demonstrated that either training or experience make a practitioner more effective with clients. This study thus set out to explore the differences in effectiveness between therapists on client outcomes in the context of a British, NHS setting. In addition to this, the study also investigated the specific effects of therapist training and experience.

Methodology: This study examined data collected on 109 clients seen by 9 therapists over a five year period. The study incorporated client pre and post scores on the Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation questionnaire (CORE: CORE Systems Group, 1998), and therapist information obtained from an ‘in service audit questionnaire’. A series of Analysis of Co-variances (ANCOVA) were conducted.

Results and Discussion: The study findings showed that there were no statistically significant differences between the therapist’s levels of effectiveness. This result indicates that each of the therapists were as equally effective in gaining positive outcomes. Additionally, no statistical support was gained for the influence of either therapist training or experience on therapeutic outcomes. The implications of the study findings as well as the study limitations and directions for future research are discussed.


Newman, M. The effects of therapist training and experience on the outcomes of psychological therapy within an NHS setting. (Thesis). University of the West of England

Thesis Type Thesis
Keywords training, experience, outcomes, psychological therapy, therapist training, NHS


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