What is it about?

Some therapists are more effective than others, which means that patients’ treatment outcomes partly depend on how well therapists perform – the so-called therapist effect. In this study we wanted to find out whether providing therapists with feedback on patients’ progress in therapy can influence this therapist variability. To provide feedback to therapists, patients complete a questionnaire at each therapy session covering questions about their symptoms and level of functioning. This questionnaire is evaluated and then provides therapists with important information about whether their patients’ symptoms are improving or deteriorating. The idea is that therapists could use this information to adjust treatment and thus positively influence the therapeutic process. To investigate the influence of progress feedback on the therapist effect, we used data from 4,549 participants and 131 therapists across 6 major clinical trials.

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Why is it important?

Our findings show that “who the therapist is” matters less in healthcare settings that apply feedback-informed treatment, since progress feedback improves outcomes and reduces the risk of being treated by a less effective therapist.


This quality assurance method could be implemented more widely to make psychological treatment more equitable and effective. Although recent analyses indicated that implementing progress feedback incurs an additional cost per treatment, this strategy evidently improves patients’ treatment outcomes.

Maria Kleinstaeuber
Utah State University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Progress feedback narrows the gap between more and less effective therapists: A therapist effects meta-analysis of clinical trials., Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, July 2022, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/ccp0000747.
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