How do personal and professional characteristics influence the development of psychotherapists in training: Results from a longitudinal study

  • Oliver Evers | oliver.evers@med.uni-heidelberg.de Institute for Psychosocial Prevention, Heidelberg University Hospital, Heidelberg; Department of Psychology, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany.
  • Paul Schröder-Pfeifer Institute for Psychosocial Prevention, Heidelberg University Hospital, Heidelberg, Germany.
  • Heidi Möller Department of Psychology, University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany.
  • Svenja Taubner Institute for Psychosocial Prevention, Heidelberg University Hospital, Heidelberg, Germany.

Abstract

This study examined the professional development of psychotherapy trainees over three years of training. The first objective was to investigate the long-term change of work involvement (Healing and Stressful Involvement) during psychotherapy training. The second objective was to investigate possible predictors of professional development from the areas of training context as well as professional and personal attributes of trainees. A total of 184 psychotherapy trainees with psychodynamic, psychoanalytic and cognitive behavioral orientation participated in the study. The development of work involvement was assessed over three years of training using the Work Involvement Scales. The set of possible predictors for work involvement included training context variables (training orientation, supervision), professional attributes of trainees (theoretical breadth, work satisfaction), and personal attributes of trainees (introject affiliation, attachment strategies, personality traits). Hierarchical Linear Modeling was conducted to investigate the change over time and the individual predictors of work involvement. Over three years of training Healing Involvement improved whereas Stressful Involvement did not change over time. Healing Involvement was mostly predicted by training context variables and professional attributes (therapeutic orientation, job satisfaction) as well as extraversion. Stressful Involvement was only predicted by personal attributes of trainees (age, neuroticism, conscientiousness, introject affiliation). The results imply two distinct sets of predictors for Healing and Stressful Involvement that will be discussed with regard to their implications for psychotherapy training and trainee selection.

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Published
2019-12-19
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Special Section: The role of psychotherapy research in psychotherapy training: mutual influences and relations
Keywords:
Professional development; psychotherapy training; work involvement; therapist characteristics; personality
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How to Cite
Evers, O., Schröder-Pfeifer, P., Möller, H., & Taubner, S. (2019). How do personal and professional characteristics influence the development of psychotherapists in training: Results from a longitudinal study. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome, 22(3). https://doi.org/10.4081/ripppo.2019.424