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Richness of the Therapeutic Technique as Process Factor in Psychotherapy

Conducted by:

Dr. Sharon Ziv Beiman / School of Behavioral Science

The therapist flexibility or the richness of therapeutic technique are key aspects of psychotherapy process research in the last few decades (Barber, 2009; Boswell et al., 2013). Theoretically, the therapists' flexibility around choosing interventions is associated with their responsiveness  and attunement to the therapeutic process and patient's needs (Stiles, 2009).  Studies that examined this aspect of the therapeutic technique found that combining interventions from variety of therapeutic approaches might be beneficial (Defife, Hilsenroth & Gold, 2008). In addition, flexibility of the therapists in adherence to the psychotherapeutic protocols was found as associated with treatment outcomes (Owen & Hilsenroth, 2014). Advanced and additional research is needed facing the limitations of these studies.

The current study challenges the methodological limitations of previous studies by offering innovative use of an empirical index for evaluating the Richness of the Therapeutic Technique (RTT). This index enables the evaluation of the degree of integration of the psychotherapeutic session and the examination of the association between RTT and treatment outcomes as well as other process variables of the treatment.   To create RTT index we applied Shannon's (1948) entropy index, that was used in few fields (computer sciences, biology, epidemiology and more) for avaluation of diversity of spices or features. We then examined whether RTT is associated with session outcomes. This index serves us to evaluate the degree of richness and integration of the technique of each therapeutic session and of the treatment as a process, while taking into account the number of 

different kinds of therapeutic interventions the therapists are using and the amount of interventions from each kind.

The presentation will try to present the potential contributions of RTT, the rational for using Shannon index and initial findings on the inter-relations between RTT and outcome and process variables of the psychotherapeutic process.  

Sharon Ziv-Beiman (PhD) – a clinical psychologist, faculty and head of "Mifrasim Institute for Psychotherapy Research and Training" in the School of Behavioral Sciences in the Academic College of Tel Aviv- Yaffo .

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