What Clinicians Want: Findings From a Psychotherapy Practice Research Network Survey
Practice research networks may be one way of advancing knowledge translation and exchange (KTE) in psychotherapy. In this study, we document this process by first asking clinicians what they want from psychotherapy research. Eighty-two psychotherapists in 10 focus groups identified and discussed psychotherapy research topics relevant to their practices. An analysis of these discussions led to the development of 41 survey items. In an online survey, 1,019 participants, mostly practicing clinicians, rated the importance to their clinical work of these 41 psychotherapy research topics. Ratings were reduced using a principal components analysis in which 9 psychotherapy research themes emerged, accounting for 60.66% of the variance. Two postsurvey focus groups of clinicians (N = 22) aided in interpreting the findings. The ranking of research themes from most to least important were—Therapeutic Relationship/Mechanisms of Change, Therapist Factors, Training and Professional Development, Client Factors, Barriers and Stigma, Technology and Adjunctive Interventions, Progress Monitoring, Matching Clients to Therapist or Therapy, and Treatment Manuals. Few differences were noted in rankings based on participant age or primary therapeutic orientation. Postsurvey focus group participants were not surprised by the top-rated items, as they were considered most proximal and relevant to therapists and their work with clients during therapy sessions. Lower ranked items may be perceived as externally imposed agendas on the therapist and therapy. We discuss practice research networks as a means of creating new collaborations consistent with KTE goals. Findings of this study can help to direct practitioner–researcher collaborations.
Keywords: psychotherapy, psychotherapists, knowledge translation, practice research networks, survey