Making a Difference
Want to make a difference in the world? For your clients? The research on what makes some treatment services effective and what makes some services not so effective is expanding and is helping clinicians to improve the services they provide to clients. This ultimately helps people who receive those services to accomplish their goals and make positive changes in their lives.
The research shows that there are what is known as “therapist effects” that play a role in how effective a therapist’s (or treatment provider’s) services are for their clients. Therapist effects are specific characteristics or factors related to the individual therapist that have an impact on the therapist’s services and how the client experiences those services.
Therapist effects may be responsible for treatment outcomes anywhere from 5 to 8% of the time.
There is evidence to support the importance of a therapist’s well-being on treatment outcomes. The greater the therapist’s overall well-being is, the greater chances that their clients will have positive outcomes from the services they receive from that therapist.
This is an interesting finding…I’ll rephrase what I just mentioned….
A therapist’s well-being influences client outcomes.
Therapist Stress Influences Client Outcomes
Additionally, the more stressed a therapist is, even in their personal life, the more likely it is that the client’s treatment outcomes will negatively suffer (Nissen-Lie et al., 2013b).
The therapist’s state of mind and stress levels, even outside of work, can influence treatment outcomes.
Resilience and Mindfulness
To improve well-being, the concepts of resilience and mindfulness can be incorporated into a therapist’s life. Resilience and mindfulness can improve well-being.
Green et. al (2014) found that treatment providers who were more resilient had greater client outcomes, as well. Grepmair et. al. (2007) studied mindfulness and treatment outcomes and their research supports that treatment providers who were more mindful experienced greater treatment outcomes with their clients.
Defining Resilience and Mindfulness
To be a more effective therapist, research finds that engaging in activities that involve mindfulness and building resilience can help (Pereira, et. al., 2017). Mindfulness activities can build one’s resilience which can then support greater well-being.
“Resilience has been defined as that which “embodies the personal qualities that enable one to thrive in the face of adversity” (Connor and Davidson 2003; p. 76 as cited in Pereira, et. al., 2017).”
“Mindfulness refers to “a state of psychological freedom that occurs when attention remains quiet and limber, without attachment to any particular point of view” (Martin 1997; p. 291 as cited in Pereira, et. al., 2017).”
Taking Care of Yourself for Better Client Outcomes (and Better Well-Being for You)
Professionals who work with people in a helping manner cannot fully separate their personal and work lives. In one way or another, work and personal experiences will influence either directly or indirectly the other environment.
So, to be a better and more effective treatment provider, work on your overall well-being. To improve your well-being, reduce your stress levels at work and at home. Also, practice being more mindful and engage in mindfulness activities.
Being mindful as well as other strategies can support your level of resilience which also supports positive client outcomes.
Your well-being can influence your client’s outcomes, so take care of yourself to be the best clinician that you can be and to help your client’s be more likely to accomplish their goals, as well.
Connor KM, Davidson JR. Development of a new resilience scale: The Connor–Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC) Depression and Anxiety. 2003;18:76–82. doi: 10.1002/da.10113.
Green H, Barkham M, Kellett S, Saxon D. Therapist effects and IAPT Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs): A multilevel modeling and mixed methods analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy. 2014;63:43–54. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2014.08.009.
Grepmair L, Mitterlehner F, Loew T, Bachler E, Rother W, Nickel M. Promoting mindfulness in psychotherapists in training influences the treatment results of their patients: A randomized, double-blind, controlled study. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. 2007;76:332–338. doi: 10.1159/000107560.
Martin JR. Mindfulness: A proposed common factor. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. 1997;7:291–312. doi: 10.1023/B:JOPI.0000010885.18025.bc.
Nissen-Lie HA, Havik OE, Høglend PA, Monsen JT, Rønnestad MH. The contribution of the quality of therapists’ personal lives to the development of the working alliance. Journal of Counseling Psychology. 2013;60:483–495. doi: 10.1037/a0033643.
Pereira, J. A., Barkham, M., Kellett, S., & Saxon, D. (2017). The Role of Practitioner Resilience and Mindfulness in Effective Practice: A Practice-Based Feasibility Study. Administration and policy in mental health, 44(5), 691–704. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10488-016-0747-0