Entry for 13 November 2010:
Last year, Art Bohart, Jeanne Watson, Les Greenberg & I were asked to update our 2002 meta-analysis of research on the relationship between therapist empathy and therapy outcome, published in John Norcross’s Psychotherapy Relationships That Work. The revised version, in book chapter and journal article formats is still in press; however, a sneak preview version has just been published online, along with the rest of the reviews to appear on the second edition of John’s book.
SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is a branch of the US government responsible for improving treatment of mental health and substance abuse issues by funding research and disseminating information about evidence-based practice. Somehow, the Powers That Be were persuaded to sanction summaries of the current set of meta-analytic reviews being published on their website.
SAMHSA have now published online a set of summaries of evidence supporting the importance of different aspects of the therapeutic relationship for promoting successful psychotherapy or counselling. We updated and replicated our previous analyses with somewhat larger data set and found a moderately strong and highly reliable relationship between therapist empathy and therapy outcome. In addition to empathy, the other Rogerian conditions of therapist warmth and genuineness also fare quite well.
The summary of our review can be found at: http://www.nrepp.samhsa.gov/Norcross.aspx#chapter6
The other reviews can be found in other parts of the same document/webpage.
Elliott, R., Bohart, A.C., Watson, J.C., & Greenberg, L.S. (2010). Empathy. In J. C. Norcross (ed.), Evidence-Based Therapy Relationships. National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP). Online Resource, available at: http://184.108.40.206/Norcross.aspx#chapter6