Therapists' self-assessment of time spent on learning activities and its relationship to treatment outcomes: A replication study

Pauline D. Janse*, Diana T. Bakker-Brehm, Naline Geurtzen, A. Scholing, Giel J. Hutschemaekers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: This study investigated whether therapists' self-assessed time spent on learning activities was associated with treatment outcomes. The study was a replication of Chow et al.'s (2015) study, which showed that the most effective therapists spent more total time on solitary learning activities than less effective therapists. The present study sought to replicate this finding, and it explored the association between 25 specific activities of therapists and clients' treatment outcomes. Also, this study explored which learning activities therapists found most relevant for improving their performance. Methods: In this naturalistic longitudinal study, data from 2424 outpatients who were being treated by 40 different therapists were analyzed using multilevel analyses. Posttreatment scores on the OQ-45 (controlled for pretreatment client variables) were used to measure treatment outcome. The RAPID Practice-D was used to measure therapists' learning and other activities spent with the aim of improving their therapeutic skills. Results: The results showed that the total amount of time that therapists indicated they spent on learning activities did not predict clients' treatment outcomes. Also, no specific learning activities were related to clients' outcomes. Nevertheless, therapists indicated that they perceived several specific activities to be highly relevant for improving their skills. Conclusion: The results showed that therapists' perceptions of how much time they spent on learning activities was not related to their performance. This might suggest that therapists' perceptions of their activities is inaccurate or that they attach value to the wrong activities. It also indicates the importance of not relying solely on the self-assessments of therapists to evaluate a therapist's training and its relationship with outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1070-1081
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • professional development
  • psychotherapy outcomes
  • therapist effects
  • therapists' learning activities


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