Role of therapist competence in CBT for Depression

The role of therapist competence in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) outcomes was the subject of a naturalistic process-outcome study conducted at the Center for Cognitive Therapy, an outpatient clinic at the University of Pennsylvania. Sixty-nine clients presenting with depression, some with comorbid presenting problems, were treated by one of eighteen CBT therapists at the Center. Therapist competence was measured by clients and experts. The findings, published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, were that more competent therapists achieved better outcomes with depression patients, regardless of degree of morbidity. The clinical implication of this finding is that “initial selection of therapists will enhance treatment outcomes,” and this contradicts the idea that more competent therapists should focus on more complex cases.

Study authors: W. Kuyken, D. Tsivrikos