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NORTUT - Norwegian study of therapist development. A longitudinal study.

The intention of the longitudinal study is to reveal new knowledge about therapists’ development during training in different psychotherapy modes. 

This knowledge might be of importance for teaching and curriculum at psychotherapeutic educational institutions and might improve psychotherapy training and psychotherapy delivered to patients.


There is considerable research on patient variables and different psychotherapeutic methods. There is less research on therapist variables. Empirical data point to the fact that relational competence, experience of other people, experience, and ability to think about other people's inner lives are factors of importance for treatment outcome.

However, there is a lack of empirical knowledge on therapists' development over time and especially if there are differences in therapist development within various psychotherapy training institutions (e.g. psychodynamic, psychoanalytic, group analyses, cognitive behavioral therapy) (Carlsson, Norberg, Schubert, & Sandell, 2011; Hill, Spiegel, Hoffman, Kivlighan Jr, & Gelso, 2017; Sandell et al., 2004; Sandell et al., 2006 , 2007; Taubner, Kachel, Visbeck, Rapp & Sandell, 2010).  

Hill and colleagues conclude that there is a special need for longitudinal studies on therapist expert development. As research in this area is sparse and since it’s likely that therapists' development are of great importance for patients, there is an urgent need to learn more about this topic. Such knowledge may affect the quality of the training in the psychotherapeutic training institutions.


Therapist trainees will be invited to participate in the study in line with the intention to investigate therapist development during and after training in various child, adolescent, and adult therapy modalities.

Trainees from psychotherapy training institutions with differing theoretical basis will be included. This will involve participants who are medical doctors and psychologists, but also representatives from other professions.

In total 200 trainees will be included in the study. 


NORTUT is a longitudinal study on therapist’s development, and change in therapeutic attitude and reflective / relational functioning during psychotherapy training and after graduation.

A pilot will run during the spring 2018. In the pilot, trainees in the introduction program at the Norwegian Institute of psychotherapy. This includes medical doctors and psychologists.

Following completion of the pilot, invited  doctors, psychologists and other professionals from differing psychotherapy training institutions will be invited to participate. Questionnaires will be send to the participants every six months at different psychotherapeutic training institutions, until five years after graduation.  

The questionnaires will be Therapeutic Identity Questionnaire (Norwegian version of ThId) (Sandell et al., 2004; Sandell et al., 2006, 2007). The responses will be collected by web-questionnaires from the University of Oslo ( Data will be stored at the University of Oslo’s service for secure data storage (TSD).


The study is registered at the Norwegian Centre for Research Data (NSD): Project 59798: Norwegian study of therapist development - a longitudinal study. 

Participants will be informed orally and with written information. Written consent will be collected.     


Carlsson, J., Norberg, J., Sandell, R., & Schubert, J. (2011).  Searching for recognition: The professional development of psychodynamic psychotherapists during training and the first few years after it.  Psychotherapy Research, 21 (2), 141-153. 

Drdla, S., & Loffler-Stastka, H. (2016).  Influence of conversation technique seminars on the doctoral therapeutic attitude in doctor-patient communication.  Wien Klin Wochenschr, 128 (15-16), 555-559.  doi: 10.1007 / s00508-016-1023-8 

Hill, CE, Mirror, SB, Hoffman, MA, Kivlighan Jr, DM, & Gelso, CJ (2017).  Therapist expertise in psychotherapy revisited ψ.  The Counseling Psychologist, 45 (1), 7-53. 

Parth, K., & Loeffler-Stastka, H. (2015). Psychoanalytic core competence.Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 356. doi: 10.3389 / fpsyg.2015.00356 

Sandell, R., Carlsson, J., Schubert, J., Broberg, J., Lazar, A., & Grant, J. (2004).  Therapist attitudes and patient outcomes: I. Development and validation of the Therapeutic Attitudes Scales (TASC-2).  Psychotherapy Research, 14 (4), 469-484. 

Sandell, R., Lazar, A., Grant, J., Carlsson, J., Schubert, J., & Broberg, J. (2006).  Therapist attitudes and patient outcomes.  III.  A latent class analysis of therapists.  Psychology and psychotherapy: Theory, research and practice, 79 (4), 629-647. 

Sandell, R., Lazar, A., Grant, J., Carlsson, J., Schubert, J., & Broberg, J. (2007).  Therapist attitudes and patient outcomes: II.  Therapist attitudes influence change during treatment. Psychotherapy Research, 17 (2), 196-204.  

Seitz, T., & Löffler-Stastka, H. (2016).  Diagnostically Fit for the Future?  The Students' Perspective.  Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 228, 541-546.      

Taubner, S., Kächele, H., Visbeck, A., Rapp, A., & Sandell, R. (2010).  Therapeutic attitudes and practice patterns among psychotherapy trainees in Germany.  European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counseling, 12 (4), 361-381. 

Published Oct. 14, 2019 1:10 PM - Last modified Sep. 28, 2022 2:31 PM