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Berghout, C.C. Zevalkink, J. (2011). Therapist Variables and Patient Outcome after Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 59(3):577-583.

(2011). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 59(3):577-583

Therapist Variables and Patient Outcome after Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

Caspar C. Berghout and Jolien Zevalkink

Evidence from studies that have focused on the effects of therapist variables on treatment outcome suggests that a moderate amount of variance in patient outcomes is attributable to therapist differences, regardless of the type of treatment practiced. In the literature, researchers have considered gender of the therapist, therapists' experience and training, therapists' treatment attitudes, and self-reported attachment style to be relevant therapist variables (e.g., Beutler et al. 2004). In the present study, we investigated whether these therapist variables are related to patient outcome in a group of patients after psychoanalysis and a group of patients after psychoanalytic psychotherapy.


The patient sample (N = 97) originated from a project, with participants from four mental health care organizations in the Netherlands, designed to study the effectiveness of long-term psychoanalytic treatment. For the present study, we focused on patients who had ended long-term psychoanalytic treatment. One group of patients had received psychoanalysis (PA; n = 40); the other group had received psychoanalytic psychotherapy (PP; n = 57). Patient outcome was assessed by using the three outcome factors that were found in the PCA factor analyses: General distress, Introversion, and Disadaptation and disorganization (see Berghout, Zevalkink, and de Jong 2010).

All therapists (N=53) in the project were licensed clinicians (psychiatrist-psychotherapists or psychologist-psychotherapists) and members of one of the Netherlands psychoanalytic societies.

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