Effects of Video-Based Therapy Preparation Targeting Experiential Acceptance or the Therapeutic Alliance

Printer-friendly version
APA Citation: 

Johansen, A.B., Lumley, M. and Cano, A. (2011). Effects of Video-Based Therapy Preparation Targeting Experiential Acceptance or the Therapeutic Alliance. Psychotherapy, 48(2),163-9.

Publication Topic: 
Education: Empirical
Publication Type: 
preparatory training, experiential acceptance, therapeutic alliance

Preparation for psychotherapy may enhance the psychotherapeutic process, reduce drop-outs, and improve outcomes, but the effective mechanisms of such preparation are poorly understood. Previous studies have rarely targeted specific processes that are associated with positive therapy outcomes. This randomized experiment compared the effects of preparatory videos that targeted either the Therapeutic Alliance, Experiential Acceptance, or a Control video on early therapeutic process variables in 105 patients seen in individual therapy. Participants watched the videos just before their first therapy session. No significant differences were found between the Alliance and Experiential Acceptance videos on patient recommendations, immediate affective reactions, or working alliance and attrition after the first session. However, the Therapeutic Alliance video produced an immediate increase in negative mood relative to the Control video, whereas the Experiential acceptance video produced a slight increase in positive mood relative to the Alliance video. Surprisingly, patients who viewed the Alliance video were rated significantly lower than the control group on therapist-rated alliance after the first session. These findings suggest there may be specific process effects in the early phase of treatment based on the type of pretraining material used, and also indicate that video-based pretraining efforts could be counterproductive. Furthermore, this research contributes to the literature by providing insights into methodological considerations for future work on the use of technology in psychotherapy and challenges associated with preparing people for successful psychotherapy.