What makes psychotherapy sessions productive? a new approach to bridging the gap between process research and practice



This paper proposes a new strategy for bridging the gap between psychotherapy process research and practice. Constructs covering the full spectrum of potential change mechanisms are derived from a general theory of human functioning (Grawe's Consistency Theory) and operationalized by Therapy Spectrum Analysis (TSA), a measure of the realization of therapeutic change mechanisms within individual therapy sessions. Using the data generated by TSA, we conducted an exploratory search for meaningful patterns of process and session-outcome variables using Answer Tree as a context-sensitive method of data analysis. Results show that process-activated resources of the patients, in particular their responsiveness to interventions and motivation are especially predictive of the session productivity experienced. Further analyses were conducted to uncover how the patients' participation can be promoted and results translate into guidelines for the session-to-session decisions by clinicians. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.