PCEP Conference edition:8 location:Norwich date:6-10 July 2008
Incorrect or unclear assumptions and expectations about psychotherapy are one of the biggest obstacles of the therapeutic process. When clients are not informed well enough about the underlying rationale of psychotherapy or its specific working methods and when they don’t have an accurate idea of what they are expected to say or do, there is often a premature dropout or stagnation of the psychotherapy process.
Poor therapeutic outcome, however, is not always due to a limited cognitive know-how of psychotherapy. Some clients lack the basic ‘therapeutic skills’ to make psychotherapy work. They have difficulties in recognizing or expressing their inner experiences, they are restricted in their relational functioning, they are limited in their introspective capacities and they lack a proper way of relating to their problems (either relating to them as an observing self or coinciding with them).
Pretherapy training prepares clients for future psychotherapy by providing accurate information about the therapeutic process and by teaching specific therapeutic skills. In the past decades, a variety of pretherapy programmes was developed, differing in aim, content and method. Some are more cognitive-oriented (providing accurate knowledge about psychotherapy), others are focused on behavioral goals (teaching appropriate client responses), affective goals (reducing excessive arousal or anxiety) or motivational goals (motivating for individual or group psychotherapy).
In the Psychotherapeutic Centre for students of the K.U Leuven a multimethod short-term group programme has been developed, combining the goals mentioned above. The programme will be introduced and evaluated by means of a set of research data, both quantitative and qualitative.