The measurement of psychotherapeutic competence in psychodynamic, interpersonal and relational models of therapy

  • Isobel Barlow

Student thesis: Doctor of Clinical Psychology


This thesis aimed to investigate the feasibility and process of developing tools for measuring psychotherapeutic competence in psychodynamic, interpersonal, and relational models of therapy. Paper one provides a systematic review of the currently available literature on measures of psychotherapeutic competence in psychodynamic, interpersonal, and relational models. Fifteen articles were identified which met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The studies included collectively presented measures of 10 specific models, while three papers described more generic measures that take psychodynamic models into account. Several NICE-recommended models of therapy did not have associated measures. Heterogeneity was observed in the development methods and psychometric properties of the measures described. Theoretical and clinical implications, and recommendations for future research, are discussed. Paper two reports a study which aimed to develop and evaluate a measure of psychotherapeutic competence in Psychodynamic Interpersonal Therapy (PIT) skills. A measure was developed based on current literature and refined through a consensus-building procedure. Inter-rater reliability, internal consistency, and convergence with a measure of empathy and a measure of a service user’s subjective ratings of therapist competence were analyzed. Inter-rater reliability was found to be low; internal consistency was high. Scores on the PIT measure showed moderate significant correlations with scores on the empathy measure, and no significant correlations with scores on the service user rating tool. Paper three provides a critical appraisal of the work reported in papers one and two. Reflections on the methodological processes of both studies are offered, along with a discussion of the overarching implications of the thesis, its contribution to the research literature, and key ideas for future research directions indicated by the findings.
Date of Award31 Dec 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorElspeth Guthrie (Supervisor) & Richard Brown (Supervisor)


  • Competence
  • Psychodynamic
  • Relational
  • Measurement
  • Validity
  • Reliability

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