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A proposed conceptualization of therapeutic competence: the three level model

Christine Koddebusch, Christiane Hermann
  • Christiane Hermann
    Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany


A model of therapeutic competence that equally satisfies the requirements of practice and research is still lacking. The existing models are not widely accepted, at least partially because the postulated competences can often not be operationalized in a satisfactory manner. Yet, in order to be measurable, therapeutic competences need to be operationalized. We present the Three Level Model of Therapeutic Competence as a working model for studying therapeutic competence. The model proposes that therapeutic competence develops based on rather stable individual Dispositions, which promote the acquisition of therapeutic competences. We further distinguish between Basic Competences, which are mostly independent of the theoretical orientation of the therapeutic approach, and Specific Competences, which are defined based on the theoretical underpinnings of a therapeutic orientation (e.g. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). We describe this model and outline how it can be used to operationalize and assess therapeutic competence.


Therapeutic competence; Conceptualization; Operationalization; Dispositions; Research.

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Submitted: 2017-08-03 14:17:36
Published: 2018-04-12 10:48:41
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Copyright (c) 2018 Christine Koddebusch

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