Psychotherapy research often compares specific treatments to control conditions to establish efficacy of the specified treatment. Research has typically evaluated common factor elements (e.g., credibility, expectancy) in treatments only after the first or second session, largely as a manipulation check and under the assumption that such factors are static. This study observed therapist common factor and model-specific interventions in three treatment approaches from a randomized control trial for generalized anxiety disorder across the entire early phase of treatment (i.e., first five sessions). The parent randomized control trial compared two treatment conditions, using an additive design where patients were randomized to receive either interpersonal/emotional processing interventions or supportive listening after receiving a session of cognitive-behavioral therapy. The first five video-recorded sessions of N = 40 randomly sampled participants were observationally coded with a multidimensional intervention measure, with subscales reflecting diverse theoretical orientations and common factors. Multilevel modeling was used to examine intervention use and investigate differences between treatment conditions and segments. Among the results, common factor interventions were rated as significantly more typical in cognitive-behavioral therapy compared with supportive listening. The pattern of intervention use of other subscales was generally consistent with the orientation of the respective protocols. In the early phase of treatment, supportive listening conditions do not appear to function as common factor controls in the manner that many might assume. Common factors are potentially enhanced in bona fide treatments that include a more detailed, specific rationale and clear and cohesive techniques and goals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health