Despite the strong efficacy of couple therapy, many couples still do not benefit from treatment. Marriage and family therapy scholars have argued that therapists play a crucial role in the delivery of successful couple therapy, yet little research has documented that the therapist in couple therapy has a significant impact on outcomes. Known as the study of therapist effects, this study sought to assess the amount of variance attributed to the therapist in couple therapy outcomes. Using dropout as the outcome variable, this study analyzed data from 1192 couples treated by 90 therapists at a university-based training clinic. Results from multilevel analysis indicated that therapists in the sample accounted for 9.5% of the variance in couple dropout while controlling for initial couple impairment. Therapist gender and therapist experience did not significantly predict the effectiveness of therapists. These findings give promise to future research on therapist effects in couple therapy and encourage exploration into which therapist characteristics and behaviors contribute to successful clinical outcomes.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Family Life
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Willis, Kwin L., "Therapist Effects on Dropout in Couple Therapy" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 9202.
couple therapy, therapist effects, dropout, explanation of variance