Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 136–144

Evaluating Competence in Psychotherapy

  • John Manring
  • Bernard D. Beitman
  • Mantosh J. Dewan
Original Article


Background: The Residency Review Committee (RRC) for Psychiatry has recently charged psychiatry training programs with developing methods to demonstrate competence of trainees in five areas of psychotherapy. Each program must decide what specific skills are essential for competence in each of the five listed psychotherapies. This requires determining whether those skills that are necessary are also sufficient for effective psychotherapy and whether additional specific skills are required for each one. Method: Two lists of general skills for psychotherapy are compared, one from the perspective of specific “schools” of psychotherapy and one from a more eclectic “integrative” approach. The issue of measuring competence is addressed by placing ratings of “competent” midway on a continuum from “novice” to “expert.” Thirteen methods for measuring competence from the Accreditation Council for Graduate medical Education (ACGME) “tool-box” are described and reviewed with respect to applicability to psychotherapy. Examples of toolbox implementation are described based on a functioning psychotherapy evaluation program at the University of Missouri. Results and Conclusions: The authors found both theoretical as well as practical problems in measuring competence in psychotherapy. We propose that global rather than highly specific assessment methods may be more practical in these early stages of development, and we offer specific suggestions for assessment components that can currently be implemented.


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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Manring
    • 1
  • Bernard D. Beitman
    • 2
  • Mantosh J. Dewan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryState University of New York, Upstate Medical UniversitySyracuseUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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