Client Perceptions of Therapy Component Helpfulness in Group Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety Disorders


Please address correspondence to: A.H.Smith, Department of Psychology, University of Houston 126 Heyne Bldg., Houston, TX, 77204-5022. E-mail:



Treatment credibility and client satisfaction have received relatively little research attention, but extant findings indicate that some clients and therapists differ in their perceptions of what is helpful about therapy, with greater divergence related to poorer outcomes. This study examined relationships between treatment credibility, perceptions of therapy helpfulness, and treatment response.


Participants were 48 individuals (60.4% female; 53.2% Caucasian; mean age 32.79 years) with an anxiety disorder diagnosis. Participants completed a 12-week transdiagnostic treatment protocol; treatment credibility was rated after session 2, and treatment component helpfulness was rated posttreatment.


Treatment response was significantly correlated with perceived helpfulness of cognitive restructuring and exposure techniques, but not treatment credibility. Treatment responders recognized the helpfulness of factors considered to be important therapeutic processes.


Findings emphasize the importance of client perceptions of cognitive and behavioral techniques in treatment and suggest the need to monitor client perceptions throughout the treatment process.