Publication details

Are client- and therapist-identified significant events related to outcome? : a systematic review



Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Counselling Psychology Quarterly
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Keywords Significant events; important events; helpful events; hindering events; psychotherapy outcome; psychotherapeutic change
Description The significant events paradigm in psychotherapy research assumes that some parts of the psychotherapy process play a more important role in achieving desired outcomes than others. The goal of this study was to assess whether this assumption is tenable in the light of existing research. A systematic review of 13 empirical studies which strived to establish a link between client-/therapist-identified significant events (SEs) and psychotherapy outcome was conducted. Whereas only sporadic associations were found between specific SE types and psychotherapy outcome, the match between client- and therapist-identified SEs predicted outcome. Furthermore, SEs tend to have higher specificity, emotional and information-processing quality, and a more direct focus on clients’ main issues. Finally, the process of resolution of these issues could be tracked in SE descriptions. Although studies connecting SEs with psychotherapy outcome are relatively scarce, the evidence lends support to the assumption that SEs really matter.
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