Expertise in psychotherapy

An elusive goal?

Terence Tracey, Bruce E. Wampold, James W. Lichtenberg, Rodney K. Goodyear

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

118 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It has been argued that psychotherapy is a profession without any expertise (Shanteau, 1992). We examine the validity of this claim, reviewing the literature on expertise, clinical decision making, and psychotherapeutic outcome assessment, and find it a reasonable assessment. There is no demonstration of accuracy and skill that is associated with experience as a therapist. We posit that this absence of an expertise-experience relation is attributable to therapists' lack of access to quality outcome information regarding their interventions and an overreliance on fallible information-processing strategies even when such outcome information is available. The research on providing outcome feedback is reviewed, and although it does relate to client improvement, it has not been shown to be associated with any gains in therapist skill or expertise. We propose a model of outcome information usage and specific a priori hypothesis testing as a means of developing expertise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-229
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Volume69
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

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Automatic Data Processing
Psychotherapy
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Research
Clinical Decision-Making
Expertise

Keywords

  • Clinical decision making
  • Clinical feedback
  • Expertise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Tracey, T., Wampold, B. E., Lichtenberg, J. W., & Goodyear, R. K. (2014). Expertise in psychotherapy: An elusive goal? American Psychologist, 69(3), 218-229. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0035099

Expertise in psychotherapy : An elusive goal? / Tracey, Terence; Wampold, Bruce E.; Lichtenberg, James W.; Goodyear, Rodney K.

In: American Psychologist, Vol. 69, No. 3, 2014, p. 218-229.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tracey, T, Wampold, BE, Lichtenberg, JW & Goodyear, RK 2014, 'Expertise in psychotherapy: An elusive goal?', American Psychologist, vol. 69, no. 3, pp. 218-229. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0035099
Tracey T, Wampold BE, Lichtenberg JW, Goodyear RK. Expertise in psychotherapy: An elusive goal? American Psychologist. 2014;69(3):218-229. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0035099
Tracey, Terence ; Wampold, Bruce E. ; Lichtenberg, James W. ; Goodyear, Rodney K. / Expertise in psychotherapy : An elusive goal?. In: American Psychologist. 2014 ; Vol. 69, No. 3. pp. 218-229.
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