Intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy provided by novice psychotherapists: effects on symptomatology and psychological structure in patients with anxiety disorders


This study examines the effectiveness of psychotherapy provided by novice therapists, in an attempt to clarify the controversial relationship between treatment effectiveness and therapist experience. To achieve this, we examined the short- and long-term effectiveness of intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy (ISTDP) in the treatment of patients with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, IV edition - Text Revision anxiety disorders, as provided by novice psychology trainees. Twenty-two patients with anxiety disorders were provided ISTDP. Patients improved significantly on all outcome indices, including the global assessment of functioning, the symptom checklist and the inventory of interpersonal problems, at the end of the treatment and at 6 and 12 month follow-up. In addition to these results, there was marked structural personality change as evidenced by ratings on the Shedler Westen assessment procedure (SWAP-200), at the same assessment moments; the SWAP-200 psychological health index score showed a meaningful increase in adaptive psychological resources and capacities, while the mean number of personality diagnoses decreased from the beginning to the end of therapy, and all patients maintaining their gains in 6-12 month follow-up. We conclude that ISTDP provided by novice psychotherapists is efficacious in bringing broad and in-depth change to pathology that can perpetuate anxiety disorders and other psychiatric conditions.



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Intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy, outcome, anxiety disorders, trainees.
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Rocco, D., Calvo, V., Agrosì, V., Bergami, F., Busetto, L. M., Marin, S., Pezzetta, G., Rossi, L., Zuccotti, L., & Abbass, A. (2021). Intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy provided by novice psychotherapists: effects on symptomatology and psychological structure in patients with anxiety disorders. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome, 24(1).