The Role of Therapy Delivery and Clinic Organizational Factors in Explaining Therapist Effects for Trauma-Focused Psychotherapies in the Veterans Health Administration

Nina A. Sayer, Shannon Wiltsey Stirman, Craig S. Rosen, Shannon Kehle-Forbes, Michele R. Spoont, Afsoon Eftekhari, Kathleen M. Chard, Adam Kaplan, David B. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: This study estimated the size of therapist effects (TEs) for dropout and clinical effectiveness of two trauma-focused psychotherapies (TFPs) and evaluated whether therapy delivery and clinic organizational factors explained observed TEs. Method: Participants were 180 therapists (54.4% psychologists, 42.2% social workers) from 137 Veterans Health Administration facilities and 1, 735 patients (24.7% women; 27.2% people of color) who completed at least two TFP sessions. Outcomes were dropout (< 8 TFP sessions) and for a subsample (n = 1, 273), clinically meaningful improvement and recovery based on posttraumatic stress disorder checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5) scores. Therapist-level predictors were ascertained through survey, manual chart review, and administrative data. Multilevel models estimated TEs. Results: Over half (51.2%) of patients dropped out and those who dropped out were less likely to meet criteria for clinically meaningful improvement or recovery (ps <.001). Adjusting for case-mix and TFP type, therapists accounted for 5.812% (p <.001) of the unexplained variance in dropout. The average dropout rate for the 45 therapists in the top performing quartile was 27.0%, while the average dropout rate for the 45 therapists in the bottom performing quartile was 78.8%. Variation between therapists was reduced to 2.031% (p =.140) when therapists’ mean of days between sessions, adherence, implementation climate, and caseload were added to multilevel models. TEs were nonsignificant for clinically meaningful improvement and recovery. Conclusions: Interventions targeting therapy delivery and clinic organization have the potential to reduce variation between therapists in TFP dropout, so that more patients stay engaged long enough to experience clinical benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-679
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Volume91
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© (2023), (American Psychological Association). All Rights Reserved.

Keywords

  • dropout
  • implementation
  • therapist effects
  • trauma-focused psychotherapies
  • treatment outcomes

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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