How Psychotherapists Develop: A Study of Therapeutic Work and Professional Growth

Pages: 325
Item #: 4317078
ISBN: 978-1-59147-273-5
List Price: $19.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $19.95
Copyright: 2005
Format: Hardcover
Availability: In Stock
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To date, the research on psychotherapy outcomes has tended to concentrate on psychotherapies and treatments rather than on the characteristics of psychotherapists themselves. Perhaps surprisingly, there has been little systematic research on therapists' own personal and professional development. This volume documents an ambitious, multinational survey that helps correct that situation.

Among the questions that interested the authors were:

  • In what ways do professional psychotherapists develop over the course of their careers?
  • What factors influence their growth, positively or negatively?
  • How does a psychotherapist's personal growth affect his or her therapeutic work and personal life?
  • To what extent are developmental patterns broadly similar for all therapists and to what extent do they vary by profession, theoretical persuasion, nationality or other characteristics (e.g., gender)?

The authors and their collaborators present in this book an impressive amount of data in response to questions about the formative experience, practices and development of psychotherapists at all career levels and across national borders. During the course of the study, much additional information was garnered about who practices psychotherapy in different countries, how therapists are trained, what treatment modalities they use, how they view their work and much more.

This landmark book records the patterns and trends that define a profession.

Table of Contents


I. The Study

  1. The Development of Psychotherapists
  2. Study Methods
  3. The Psychotherapists

II. Therapeutic Work

  1. Facets of Psychotherapeutic Work
  2. Dimensions of Work Involvement
  3. Work Practice Patterns

III. Professional Development

  1. Aspects of Professional Development
  2. Current Development: Growth and Depletion
  3. Career Development: Correlates of Evolving Expertise
  4. Comparative Cohort Development: Novice to Senior Therapists

IV. Integration and Implications

  1. Theoretical Integration: Cycles of Work and Development
  2. Clinical Implications: Training, Supervision, and Practice
  3. Research Implications: Ongoing and Future Studies


  1. Origins of the Society for Psychotherapy Research Collaborative Research Network Study
  2. Sample Characteristics
  3. Analyses of Therapeutic Work Experience
  4. Analyses of Professional Development
  5. Work Involvement Self-Monitoring Scales
  6. Professional Development Self-Monitoring Scales


Author Index

Subject Index

About the Authors

Author Bios

David E. Orlinsky, PhD, is a psychologist and professor of human development and social sciences at the University of Chicago and has won several awards for his contributions to the science and profession of psychotherapy (APA Division of Psychotherapy, Society for Psychotherapy Research, Illinois Psychological Association). He wrote the pioneering study Varieties of Psychotherapeutic Experience (with K. I. Howard), recently coedited The Psychotherapist's Own Psychotherapy: Patient and Clinician Perspectives (with J. D. Geller and J. C. Norcross), and has authored dozens of influential journal articles and book chapters over the past 40 years (including reviews of process-outcome research in successive editions of Bergin and Garfield's Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change). He is a cofounder and past president of the International Society for Psychotherapy Research.

Michael Helge Rønnestad, PhD, is an award-winning Norwegian psychologist and a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Oslo. He has been honored by the American Counseling Association (Association for Counselor Education and Supervision Research Award), the Norwegian Psychological Association (Bjørn Christiansen Memorial Award), and the University of Iowa (Ida Beam Professorship). He coauthored a landmark qualitative study of therapist and counselor development, The Evolving Professional Self (with Thomas Skovholt) and has authored and edited several books in Norwegian on professional development, supervision, and clinical psychology, most recently Det Kliniske Intervjuet (The Clinical Interview; coedited with Anna von der Lippe). He has published numerous national and international journal articles and is a specialist in clinical psychology of the Norwegian Psychological Association.

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