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Expanding the Conceptualization of Outcome and Clinical Effectiveness

  • Michael Helge Rønnestad
  • Helene A. Nissen-Lie
  • Hanne Weie Oddli
  • Kirsten Benum
  • Vidar Blokhus Ekroll
  • Siri E. Gullestad
  • Hanne Haavind
  • Sissel Reichelt
  • Marit Råbu
  • Erik Stänicke
  • Anna Louise von der Lippe
  • Margrethe Seeger Halvorsen
Original Paper

Abstract

There is a need for studies that advance our knowledge of therapist effectiveness, expanding the definition of what constitutes therapeutic success. In the present study, four aspects of clinical outcome were analyzed using a sample of highly experienced psychotherapists (mean years of experience as therapy practitioners = 30) who also serve as clinical teachers. The four aspects were: (1) overall change in different outcome domains, including long-term outcome; (2) outcome with clinically distressed clients (i.e. clients above the level of clinical disturbance at pretreatment); (3) level of drop-out; and (4) the degree to which clients re-entered treatment during the follow-up period. Participants were 48 clients treated by 18 therapists. Treatments were open-ended, ‘therapy as usual’, mostly within the setting of independent private practice. Outcome measurements included the OQ-45.2 and IIP-64, with repeated measurements during therapy and extended long-term follow up (up to 3.5 years). Cohen’s d effect sizes and multilevel growth trajectories were estimated for patient change in symptomatic and interpersonal distress. The findings indicate that these therapists obtain very good outcomes overall, particularly with clients above cut-off for clinical disturbance. Moreover, there was a high level of maintenance and increase of treatment gains over time. No clients dropped out. Overall, the findings suggest that a sample of highly experienced therapists obtains particularly good outcomes as defined in more comprehensive terms than what is typical in psychotherapy research. Implications for the understanding of therapeutic success and clinical expertise are discussed.

Keywords

Client outcomes Clinical expertise Client drop out 

Notes

Funding

This study was financed by the Norwegian Research Council and the University of Oslo. We want to thank David E. Orlinsky and John McLeod for their valuable contributions to the project.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Helge Rønnestad
    • 1
  • Helene A. Nissen-Lie
    • 1
  • Hanne Weie Oddli
    • 1
  • Kirsten Benum
    • 1
  • Vidar Blokhus Ekroll
    • 1
  • Siri E. Gullestad
    • 1
  • Hanne Haavind
    • 1
  • Sissel Reichelt
    • 1
  • Marit Råbu
    • 1
  • Erik Stänicke
    • 1
  • Anna Louise von der Lippe
    • 1
  • Margrethe Seeger Halvorsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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