The Therapeutic Focus in Significant Sessions of Master Therapists: A Comparison of Cognitive–Behavioral and Psychodynamic–Interpersonal Interventions

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Abstract

Using the Coding System of Therapeutic Focus, this exploratory study was a comparative process analysis of clinically significant sessions obtained from 22 master cognitive–behavior and 14 master psychodynamic–interpersonal therapists. Therapists were nominated by experts in each of these orientations, and clients were seen in a naturalistic setting for problems with anxiety, depression, or both. Relatively few between-groups differences emerged with this master therapist sample. However, regardless of theoretical orientation, several differences were found between those portions of the session labeled by therapists as being clinically significant and those viewed as less significant. As these findings are different from those obtained in a previous study of the therapeutic focus in interventions carried out within the context of a controlled clinical trial, some of the possible factors contributing to these differences are noted.

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