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Psychotherapeutic Competencies

In this line of research, we explore the question of what psychotherapeutic competencies are and how to measure them.

Difficult Situations in Therapy

In this collaborative project, a questionnaire is validated to assess which situations are particularly difficult for psychotherapists. In addition, factors that influence the difficulty of situations (such as level of training) will be investigated, as well as the effects of difficult situations (such as "not being able to switch off after work"). An online survey was conducted among licensed psychotherapists and trainees for this purpose.

We appreciate your participation in the survey:

Participants: Psychotherapists and Psychotherapists in training (all specializations)
Duration: 20 Minuten

Project leader: Dr. Ulrike Maaß, OSF:

Cooperation: PhD Sven Alfonsson, M.Sc. Simon Fagernäs, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Therapeutic self-efficacy

In the present study, an instrument for measuring therapeutic self-efficacy (Hahn, Weck, Witthöft & Kühne, 2021) was used at the beginning and end of seminars that taught communication skills. We examined the reliability and validity of the CASES questionnaire and investigated whether the training contributed to an improvement in self-reported conversation skills.

Cooperation: Prof. Dr. Michel Knigge, Dr. Destina S. Ay-Bryson, Scarlett Kobs (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Contact: Joanna Hunsmann (study implementation), PD Dr. Franziska Kühne (project leader)

Simulation patients in training and supervision for the evaluation of psychotherapeutic competencies

Psychotherapy is considered a highly effective and recognized method for treating various mental disorders. However, measures for teaching effective psychotherapeutic approaches and competencies are much less well researched. Two important strategies for imparting competencies in this context are training measures and supervision. One method that is already widely used in medicine and allows for the systematic study of training measures is standardized role plays, in which simulation patients (trained individuals portraying a specific disorder) are used. In clinical psychology and psychotherapy, however, standardized role plays have not yet been widely used, but they have the potential to contribute to the systematization of training and supervision research. In the first phase of the research project, standardized role plays will be adapted for the clinical psychology field to enable the assessment of psychotherapeutic competencies. In the second phase, standardized role plays will be used to evaluate training and supervision measures. In two experiment, central treatment approaches that are important in depression treatment (cognitive restructuring and activity building) will be imparted. In the first experiment, an active training strategy (model learning) will be compared to a passive training strategy (reading a manual). In the second experiment, two methods of supervision (verbal report vs. video analysis) will be compared. In both experiments, 68 master's students of psychology will be randomly assigned to the experimental and control conditions. Competency assessment in the standardized role plays will be based on established competency scales using video recordings by two independent raters and will be constructed at three measurement time points (pre-, post-, and 3-month follow-up). The research project aims to contribute to the development of training research methods in clinical psychology and to provide insights into specific training and supervision methods, thereby improving psychotherapeutic training and the effective dissemination of psychotherapeutic treatment methods.

Funding: German Research Foundation (project description)

Funding period: 06/2019 to 06/2023

Project leaders: Prof. Dr. Florian Weck, PD Dr. Franziska Kühne


Prediction of Competence

In this project, we address the question of which factors influence psychotherapeutic competence. An online study explores the extent to which empathy and competence in psychotherapists are perceived similarly. In another study, we examine the relationship between social skills and psychotherapeutic competence.

Project leader: Dr. Ulrike Maaß

Methods in Psychotherapy Training

In this project, we are investigating the suitability of various training methods for aspiring psychotherapists. For example, in one study, we are examining how helpful it is for psychology students to reflect on their own therapy sessions (role plays). Another study is looking at the benefits of model videos.

Project leader: Dr. Ulrike Maaß, OSF: und