Therapists personal lives affect treatment outcomes

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If you’re a helper and you think your personal life is irrelevant to the treatment you provide, think again.

The Personal Burdens scale was strongly and inversely related to the growth of the alliance as rated by the patients, but was unrelated to therapist-rated alliance. Conversely, the factor scale of therapists’ Personal Satisfactions was clearly and positively associated with therapist-rated alliance growth, but was unrelated to the patients’ ratings of the alliance. The findings suggest that the working alliance is influenced by therapists’ quality of life, but in divergent ways when rated by patients or by therapists. It seems that patients are particularly sensitive to their therapists’ private life experience of distress, which presumably is communicated through the therapists’ in-session behaviors, whereas the therapists’ judgments of alliance quality were positively biased by their own sense of personal well-being.

This is especially relevant because we know that the quality of the client’s participation in therapy is one of the strongest predictor of outcomes, and the alliance is the best predictor of the client’s participation.

via The contribution of the quality of therapist… [J Couns Psychol. 2013] – PubMed – NCBI.

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One response to “Therapists personal lives affect treatment outcomes

  1. Rory Crook

    “It seems that patients are particularly sensitive to their therapists’ private life experience of distress, which presumably is communicated through the therapists’ in-session behaviors.”

    From a transitional housing perspective, sharing non-distressed “private life experiences” is part of the ebb and flow with residents. I suppose people (DF clients) are benefiting from stronger alliances with the live-in house managers much like this study suggests…but how would we know it unless we collected the data? Just a thought.