Current Research Projects
The Comprehensive Survey of Psychotherapeutic Interventions
Clients’ perceptions of the interventions in psychotherapy have often been overlooked in favor of therapists’ and outside observers’ perceptions, as these are thought to be more objective and therefore more informative. However, clients’ perceptions might provide unique and valuable information about the therapy process that cannot be found in therapists’ or observers’ ratings. The Comprehensive Survey of Psychotherapeutic Interventions (McCarthy, Barber, & DeRubeis, 2002) is an instrument that can measure clients’, therapists’, and observers’ perceptions of interventions administered in a given session. Currently we are validating a revised version of the measure in a sample of clients receiving treatment at community mental health centers. Future studies will include comparing clients’, therapists’, and observers’ ratings for the same sessions and investigating the relation of each group’s perceptions of interventions to therapeutic alliance and outcome.
Differentiation as a Change Variable in Psychotherapy
Many psychotherapy systems share the goal of working to increase clients’ awareness of themselves and their experiences, which presumably leads to symptom change and greater well-being. While the rationale and specific techniques for helping clients increase their awareness might vary by therapy, the process underlying the positive benefits of greater awareness might be the same in each system. Specifically, lasting change probably comes through changing the structure of clients’ self-awareness – making clients’ representations of their worlds more complex or differentiated so that they can seek out, reflect on, and use the type of information of which they were previously unknowledgeable. I am currently reviewing the literatures from several different therapy systems and drawing from the social and developmental psychology literatures to find support for this idea.
The Role of Clinical Management Techniques in Psychopharmacotherapy
A recent push toward the use of pharmacological treatments for psychiatric disorders has led psychiatrists to shift to a greater focus on clinical management techniques (e.g., discussing the biochemical rationale behind the medication with the patient, discussing dosing, assessing symptom and side effect changes from the medication). Little is known however, about how adherence to clinical management techniques relates to other factors in treatment that might influence the quality and outcome of treatment. We are currently examining the relation of the use of clinical management techniques to therapeutic alliance (the doctor-patient relationship), compliance with medication dosing, and treatment retention.
The Central Relationship Questionnaire
The Central Relationship Questionnaire (CRQ) is a self-report measure of interpersonal tendencies, or long-standing interactional patterns through which a person typically relates to others. A self-report instrument for assessing interpersonal tendencies is advantageous compared to clinician- or observer-rated measures because it removes the burden of training and scoring and might provide a more complete picture of an individual’s interpersonal patterns as that individual might have access to more information about their interpersonal tendencies than might clinicians or observers. We are currently validating a revised version of the measure in clinical and non-clinical samples. Soon, we hope to examine the relations of the CRQ to attachment styles and compare ratings of interpersonal tendencies made by observers to the rating of individuals themselves made using the CRQ.