“In hindsight, I was more depressed than I thought”. Response shifts in psychotherapy outcome research.

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


[Structured discussion chaired and moderated by Dr. Truijens.]

A clinically familiar phrase from patients at the end of treatment is that “in hindsight, my complaints were actually worse than I thought”. Indeed, research shows that people often overestimate or underestimate their complaints at the start of treatment. Moreover, by going through treatment, clinicians expect people to gain insights that may affect how they understand their condition and its relationship with other feelings, thoughts, relations, and personal stories.

In psychotherapy research, the concept of change is pivotal. Change research often starts with calculating pre-to-post differences on (self-reported) symptom measures. For this use of change data, it is essential that the interpretation of measurement items in the scale remained the same, so that change in scores actually reflects a change in the symptoms of interest. However, when interpretation of the condition changes, people may start to re-conceptualize their interpretation of items or re-prioritize or re-calibrate their scores, saying “In hindsight, I should have scored a 5 rather than a 3 before treatment”. This phenomenon is called Response Shift, and is particularly relevant for psychotherapeutic change research.

In this discussion, the first panelist presents a Response Shift model recently revised by the International Response Shift Interest Group. The second and third panelist provide a response to discuss consequences for psychotherapy research, with specific attention to longitudinal and repeated measures research, and validity of research data. The panelists encourage a concrete and (self-)reflective exploration of research practices by the audience, and hope to foster a changed perspective of change in psychotherapy research.
Period23 Sept 2022
Event title9th Society for Psychotherapy Research Europe Chapter Meeting: Therapist Responsiveness: Challenges and Opportunities
Event typeConference
LocationRome, ItalyShow on map