Effects of competence feedback on therapist competence and patient outcome : A randomized controlled trial.

Objective: Therapist competence is considered essential for the success of psychotherapy. Feedback is an intervention which has the potential to improve therapist competence. The present study investigated whether competence feedback leads to an improvement of therapist competence and patient outcome.


Method: Sixty-seven master-level clinical trainees were randomly assigned to either a competence feedback group (CFG) or a control group (CG). Patients with a diagnosis of major depression (N = 114) were randomly assigned to CFG or CG. Treatment included 20 individual sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In CFG, therapists received, parallel to the treatment, five competence feedbacks, based on videotaped therapy sessions. Independent raters assessed therapist competence with the Cognitive Therapy Scale (CTS) and provided the competence feedback. Patient outcome was evaluated with the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) and therapeutic alliance (Helping Alliance Questionnaire [HAQ]) from both therapist’s (HAQ-T) and patient’s (HAQ-P) perspective were evaluated after each of the 20 sessions.


Results: (a) Therapist competence (CTS) increased significantly more for CFG than CG. (b) Depression (BDI-II) decreased significantly across sessions for both groups, but without evidence for a group-differential benefit for the CFG. (c) Therapeutic alliance (HAQ-T/P) increased significantly across sessions for both groups from both perspectives, but without group differences. (d) There is a positive effect of BDI-II on CTS at the beginning and a negative effect of CTS on BDI-II at the end of therapy.


Conclusion: Competence feedback improves therapists’ independently rated competence, but there is no evidence that competence feedback in CBT leads to better outcome. 

Weck, Florian Junga, Yvonne M. Kliegl, Reinhold Hahn, Daniela Brucker, Katharina Witthöft, Michael | 2021
In: Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology ; ISSN: 0022-006X | 89 | 11 | 885-897
Adults, Cognitive Processing Therapy, Depressive Disorders, Females, Major Depressive Disorder, Males, Psychotherapy, Treatment