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Factors related to psychotherapists' self-assessment when treating anxiety and other disorders.

Parker, Zachary J and Waller, Glenn (2014) Factors related to psychotherapists' self-assessment when treating anxiety and other disorders. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 66. ISSN 0005-7967

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Abstract

The aim of the study was to replicate and extend recent findings regarding therapists' self-assessment biases. This study examined clinicians' estimates of their abilities when working with general clinical groups and with anxious patients, and of the recovery/improvement rates of their clients. It also considered what clinician personality traits and clinical practice elements were associated with such estimates. A total of 195 out 801 clinicians completed a survey regarding self-ratings, team ratings, therapy outcomes for their clients, and their own personality traits. The great majority of clinicians rated themselves and their teams as being better clinicians than their peers, though not to as extreme a level as in the previous study. They also reported exceptionally positive therapy outcomes. Due to the large proportion of non-responders, it is possible that these findings do not reflect actual self-assessment bias, but a greater willingness to participate among clinicians who are more skilled and with particular personality styles. However, the data suggest that perceptions of skill and therapy outcome might be associated with clinician personality characteristics, though not with other clinical practice variables. These interpretations should be treated with caution due to the limited response rate. Different possible explanations for these patterns of self-assessment are outlined, including conscious and unconscious processes. Methods for enhancing accurate skill perception are discussed, including self-monitoring and supervision.

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