What is it about?

According to social psychology -we quickly form impressions of new people based on two basic dimensions: warmth and competence. These two dimensions are probably important as they are central when we decide whether a person is trustworthy or not. In psychotherapy patients also make appraisals of both the therapist they collaborate with and the specific treatment that they engage in. Using complex statistical methods, we investigated whether patients´ confidence in the therapist and in the treatment influenced symptom levels week by week during psychotherapy treatment.

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Why is it important?

We found that when patients` experience higher levels of confidence in the therapist and confidence in the treatment, their symptom level decreased the following week, throughout treatment.


Thus, it seems that psychotherapy is effective partly due to the processes that increase trust, in both the therapist and the treatment. Clinicians should be aware of these types of appraisals made my the patient during treatment. Especially, this study supports the notion that the therapeutic collaboration does not only depend on the patient´s personal attachment to the therapist, but also on the therapist ability to raise hope in the patient through offering a meaningful and credible treatment rationale.

Ingvild Finsrud

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This page is a summary of: Confidence in the therapist and confidence in the treatment predict symptomatic improvement week by week in therapy: A latent curve modeling approach., Journal of Counseling Psychology, September 2022, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/cou0000640.
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