Qualities and Actions of Effective Therapists

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Format: DVD [Closed Captioned]
Availability: In Stock
Running Time: over 180 minutes
Item #: 4310888
ISBN: 978-1-4338-0990-3
Copyright: 2011
APA Psychotherapy Training Videos are intended solely for educational purposes for mental health professionals. Viewers are expected to treat confidential material found herein according to strict professional guidelines. Unauthorized viewing is prohibited.

In Qualities and Actions of Effective Therapists, Bruce E. Wampold discusses the essential aspects of effective therapy. Although evidence conclusively shows that psychotherapy is effective, evidence also shows that some therapists consistently achieve better outcomes than do others. Research has begun to identify the qualities that effective therapists have and the actions that they take to produce positive therapeutic outcomes.

In this DVD, Bruce Wampold discusses the things therapists do and the ways that they conduct sessions to help improve outcome, including verbal fluency, affect modulation, empathy, and the ability to provide an explanation for the client's distress. Wampold illustrates each therapist characteristic or action with demonstrations from actual therapy sessions, enabling viewers to observe compelling examples of skills that deepen and strengthen the therapeutic process.


There is conclusive evidence that psychotherapy is remarkably effective, yet it is also known that some therapists consistently attain better outcomes with their clients than do other therapists. This raises the important question, "What do effective therapists do that helps their clients?" Although we don't know for sure, the evidence is beginning to accumulate to provide an answer to this question.

This DVD explores a set of characteristics and actions of effective therapists, including:

  • Effective therapists have a sophisticated set of interpersonal skills, including verbal fluency, interpersonal perception, affective modulation and expressiveness, warmth and acceptance, and empathy.
  • Clients of effective therapists feel understood, trust the therapist, and believe the therapist can help him or her.
  • Effective therapists are able to form a working alliance with a broad range of clients. The working alliance involves the therapeutic bond, but also importantly agreement about the task of goals of therapy.
  • Effective therapists provide an acceptable and adaptive explanation for the client's distress. Anyone who presents to a socially sanctioned healer, such as a physician or a psychotherapist, wants an explanation for their symptoms or problems.
  • The effective therapist provides a treatment plan that is consistent with the explanation provided to the client.
  • The effective therapist is influential, persuasive, and convincing.
  • The effective therapist continually monitors client progress in an authentic way.
  • The effective therapist is flexible and will adjust therapy if resistance to the treatment is apparent or the client is not making adequate progress.
  • The effective therapist does not avoid difficult material in therapy and uses such difficulties therapeutically.
  • The effective therapist communicates hope and optimism.
  • Effective therapists are aware of the client's characteristics and context.
  • The effective therapist is aware of his or her own psychological process and does not inject his or her own material into the therapy process unless such actions are deliberate and therapeutic.
  • The effective therapist is aware of the best research evidence related to the particular client, in terms of treatment, problems, social context, and so forth.
  • The effective therapist seeks to continually improve.
About the Therapist

Bruce E. Wampold is the Patricia L. Wolleat professor of counseling psychology and clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He received his PhD from the counseling psychology program at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1981, and joined the University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty in 1991. He has been a faculty member in the counseling psychology programs at the University of California, Santa Barbara; the University of Utah; and the University of Oregon in Eugene. Prior to his doctoral studies, he was a junior and senior high school mathematics teacher, counselor, and coach.

Currently, Dr. Wampold's area of interest is in the efficacy of counseling and psychotherapy. He has published various meta-analyses and analyses of data from naturalistic settings that have demonstrated that the efficacy of psychotherapy emanates from the contextual features and not the specific ingredients. This work has culminated in the book The Great Psychotherapy Debate: Models, Methods, and Findings (2001).

Recently, he has conceptualized psychotherapy as a healing practice embedded in historical and cultural contexts. His work has influenced the practice of psychotherapy through consultations with managed care companies and health care accrediting organizations as well as presentations to scientists and practitioners around the world.

He served on the APA Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice in Psychology, the Performance Improvement Advisory Group, and the Task Force on Advancing Practice. His research on psychotherapy and methodology has been published in Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Journal of Counseling Psychology, Journal of Clinical Psychology, and Journal of Affective Disorders, among others.

Dr. Wampold is a licensed psychologist and a diplomate in counseling psychology of the American Board of Professional Psychology. He is the 2007 recipient of the APA Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Applied Research; the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award, Section on the Promotion of Psychotherapy Science, Society of Counseling Psychology (Division 17 of APA); and the 2008 Distinguished Psychologist Award, Division 29 (Psychotherapy).

He is a fellow of APA Divisions 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology), 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology), 29 (Psychotherapy), and 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues); was vice president of the Society of Counseling Psychology for Scientific Affairs; and is past associate editor of the Journal of Counseling Psychology and of Behavioral Assessment.

Suggested Readings
  • Duncan, B., Miller, S. D., Hubble, M., & Wampold, B. E. (Eds.). (2010). The heart and soul of change: Delivering what works (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Norcross, J. C. (Ed.). (2002). Psychotherapy relationships that work: Therapist contributions and responsiveness to patients. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Wampold, B. E. (2001). The great psychotherapy debate: Model, methods, and findings. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Wampold, B. E. (2010). The basics of psychotherapy: An introduction to theory and practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Wampold, B. E. (2007). Psychotherapy: The humanistic (and effective) treatment. American Psychologist, 62, 857–873.

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