The psychological literature highlights experiential avoidance as a transdiagnostic maintenance factor for a number of psychopathologies. Some attention has been given to therapist experiential avoidance, with the suggestion that this interferes with the acquisition and execution of CBT skills; there is, however, a paucity of research directly examining this relationship. This study aimed to measure experiential avoidance in trainee cognitive behavioural therapists, and establish any relationships with observed clinical competence. Twenty-nine trainee therapists took part in the study; levels of experiential avoidance were measured using the Multidimensional Experiential Avoidance Questionnaire and were analysed in relation to observed CBT skills assessed using the Cognitive Therapy Scale (Revised). No overall relationship between therapist experiential avoidance and clinical competency was observed. However, a number of significant associations were observed between individual dimensions of therapist experiential avoidance and CBT skills in collaboration, guided discovery, conceptual integration and homework setting. Aspects of therapist experiential avoidance during training may therefore be associated with the acquisition of key CBT skills. Tentative interpretations and recommendations for CBT training and supervision have been made, although further investigation is required.
Bibliographical note© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited
- CBT training
- Experiential avoidance
- Therapist schema