In the context of psychotherapy research, investigators often assume that the assessment of adherence to treatment protocols should be done by trained observers, who are viewed as more neutral or objective than the therapists themselves. The aim of this present study is to check the concordance between therapist self-reports and observer ratings of adherence to marital treatment (IBCT and TBCT). The data for the current study were obtained from an archive of adherence data for 35 randomly selected therapy cases, collected by Andrew Christensen and colleagues (2004) in the context of a large clinical trial of marital therapy. For both the TBCT and IBCT interventions, there was a consistent and high concordance between the therapist self-reports and observer ratings, suggesting that therapists accurately self-reported the same interventions seen by the observer raters. Results of this study challenge the widely accepted notion that observer ratings are superior to therapist self-evaluations. Present findings reveal that therapist self-reports on adherence to marital treatment can prove comparable to the revered "gold standard" observer reports, and can serve as a valuable supplement to other adherence ratings. Therapist self-reports are not only cost-efficient, but can also provide a unique perspective in understanding nuances of psychotherapy that often go unnoticed by distant observer raters. Ways to maximize the accuracy and reliability of therapist self-reports are discussed.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Marital psychotherapy; Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Eldridge, Kathleen