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Title: The clinical effectiveness of the person-centred psychotherapies : the impact of the therapeutic relationship
Author: Weston, Tony
ISNI:       0000 0004 2705 5765
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2011
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Background: Person-centred psychotherapies have fared poorly in reviews of „empirically supported therapies‟, compared with cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT). Yet there is evidence of comparable efficacy and effectiveness of person-centred therapies (PCT), of elements of the therapeutic relationship as defined in PCT as a therapeutic process of change and an NHS research funding gap (£m CBT >> PCT). The author wondered if PCT was an effective intervention for a range of different symptoms and about the role of therapeutic relationships. Aim: The aim was to measure the clinical effectiveness of PCT as practised in the author‟s private practice and by colleagues at the University of East Anglia Counselling Service and to assess the therapeutic relationship as a putative predictor of outcome. Method: This was primarily an uncontrolled naturalistic experiment; outcome measures were completed at first therapy session and subsequently, along with a measure of the relationship. Results: There was evidence that PCT was an effective intervention for clients who completed subsequent questionnaires who started with symptoms of depression (ES(d) =1.48, n =111), anxiety (ES(d) =1.15, n=91) and distress (ES(d) =1.80, n=79). These outcomes were broadly comparable with the literature. Some of the difficulties identified with uncontrolled naturalistic experiments described in the literature are addressed in the text, further supporting the validity of these findings. There was no evidence of the role of the therapeutic relationship (Rogers 1957) as a predictor of outcome for depression (n=92), anxiety (n=75) or distress (n=54). Further analysis of outlier and influential cases suggested the therapeutic relationship had an effect on depression outcome, r = .22. Illustrative analysis suggested the therapeutic relationship could have an effect on outcomes for anxiety in the order of r = .25 and distress r = .29. Non-positive findings may have been due to problems with the protocol and sample, these are discussed in the text and recommendations for future research made. Conclusions: PCT warrants further outcome and change process research and inclusion as a comparator treatment condition in NHS-sponsored trials of CBT. Declaration of interest: The author was trained and practices as a person-centred psychotherapist. During the period 19/5/5 – 13/7/6 the author received £8,167.07 from the University of East Anglia University Counselling Service; this was for sessional counselling work and included a contribution towards the costs of this research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available