Impact of Therapist Emotional Intelligence on Psychotherapy

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The concept of emotional intelligence (EI) describes a set of emotional skills that may comprise efficacious therapist variables. The present study is the first to investigate EI among psychotherapists. Based on conceptual overlaps between the EI model and psychotherapy models, as well as a review of empirical evidence from both literatures, we make several predictions of how therapist EI impacts treatment. In a small pilot study, we assessed psychotherapist EI to determine its relation to psychotherapy outcome and process. Therapists with higher ratings of EI achieved better therapist-rated outcome results and lower drop-out rates compared with therapists with lower ratings of EI. Though not hypothesized, higher therapist EI was significantly associated with increased patient assessment compliance. There was no relationship between early working alliance ratings and therapist EI. Findings offer preliminary support for the relevance of therapist EI to psychotherapy.

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