• A pilot randomised controlled trial investigating psychotherapeutic interventions for improving therapist engagement

      Hochard, Kevin D.; Flynn, Samantha; Hubert-Williams, Lee; Gidlow, Anna (University of Chester, 2016)
      Evidence consistently shows that therapist verbal and non-verbal behaviours both contribute to the outcome of psychotherapy. Therapists must learn how to deal with, and control these behaviours during uncomfortable discussions with clients. The present pilot study investigated whether brief cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)-based or acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)-based interventions could improve therapists’ levels of engagement with a video scenario in which the sensitive topic of an attempted suicide is discussed. Participants in the CBT group (n = 10) and the ACT group (n = 10) were compared on levels of implicit attention (measured by a recall questionnaire), and explicit attention (measured by eye gaze) to the scenario. Behavioural measures assessed differences between groups in terms of connectedness with the client and her story. No significant main effects were found between the two groups for levels of engagement or connectedness. This study suggests that both CBT- and ACT-based interventions may help to improve therapists’ skills in dealing with uncomfortable discussions. These initial findings also suggest that ACT-based interventions may be more effective than CBT-based interventions but a fully-powered study must be completed before drawing conclusions.