Interpersonal and intrapersonal focus in cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic—interpersonal therapies: A preliminary analysis of the sheffield project

Sandra Kerr, Maryin R. Goldfried, Adele M. Hayes, Louis G. Castonguay, Lloyd A. Goldsamt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


Using a coding system designed to assess therapists’ in-session focus, we conducted a preliminary investigation of the differential emphasis placed on client’s intrapersonal and interpersonal functioning with interim data collected from an outcome study of a cognitive—behavioral (prescrip-tive) therapy and psychodynamic—interpersonal (exploratory) therapy. Consistent with theory, exploratory therapists made more interpersonal links relative to intrapersonal links. Contrary to theoretical expectation, there was a tendency for prescriptive therapists to place more of a focus on interpersonal, rather than intrapersonal, links. A between-group com-parison revealed that there was no difference between the therapies in their emphasis on intrapersonal or interpersonal links. However, only in exploratory therapy were there positive correlations approaching statis-tical signilicance between the focus on interpersonal links and clienfs improvement in self-esteem and social adjustment. There was also a marginally significant positive correlation between prescriptive therapists’ focus on intrapersonal links and symptom improvement. Although the findings suggest differential mechanisms of change across these two therapeutic orientations, the results should be interpreted cautiously until they can be replicated with a larger sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-276
Number of pages11
JournalPsychotherapy Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology

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