Journal article Summary 2
Instructor: Christie Rogers-Larke
Jennings, L & Skovholt T M: The cognitive, emotional, and relational characteristics of master therapist. Journal of Counseling Psychology 1999: 46: 3-11
The Journal article reviewed is “The cognitive, emotional, and relational characteristics of a master therapist” by Len Jennings and Thomas M. Skovholt. In this article, Jennings and Skovholt (1999) start off with a basic question; what factors go into making psychotherapy effective? The factor’s mentioned were client variables, therapist variables, client-therapist personality matching and therapeutic alliance. According to Jennings, “In particular, the therapeutic alliance is considered to play a central role in producing effective psychotherapy outcome” (Jennings & Skovholt 1999). Jennings and Skovholt make assumptions that the personal character of the therapist determines the quality of the therapeutic alliance.
Cognitive, emotional, and relational characteristics of ten peer-nominated master therapists were identified through qualitative research methods. Each therapist had been nominated by at least four peers within a major metropolitan area. Seven were women and three were men. Six were Ph.D psychologists, three were master’s level social workers, and one was a psychiatrist. Their ages ranged from 50 to 72 years, and their level of experience practicing psychotherapy ranged from 21 to 41 years. Four theoretical orientations were represented: psychodynamic (n=4), family systems (n=2), integrative (n=2), and existential-humanistic (n=2). All of the therapists worked full-time in private practice. A systematic qualitative analysis was conducted and preliminary findings were checked for accuracy with the therapist sample. Results indicate that master therapists are voracious learners; draw extensively from accumulated experience; value cognitive complexity; are emotionally receptive and non-defensive;