Statement of Problem
The research “A randomized-controlled crossover trial of mindfulness for student psychotherapists” addresses the problem of mindfulness training impact on psychotherapists and clients. The researchers are trying to experimentally prove the positive impact of mindfulness improvements on the clinicians’ self-development and patient outcomes. According to the researchers’ point of view, mindfulness improvement can positively develop the psychotherapists’ psychological methods of acceptance and empathy, contributing to more efficient treatment. The previous experiments of this issue estimated only the clinicians’ outcomes paying no attention to the patients’ results.
The different authors thoroughly explored mindfulness training and its influence on psychotherapists. However, the results were often controversial and conditional on experimenting with subjects’ different contextual situations (Brecht et al., 2017). Moreover, many experiments had ineffective design, which caused the participants’ rejection influencing the general results (Brecht et al., 2017). The question about the clients’ benefits from psychotherapist training was also poorly explored. Thus, the researchers aimed to fill the gap in the academic area of knowledge, proving the correlation between mindfulness and psychological sessions efficiency.
Hypotheses to Be Tested
The researchers hypothesized that the psychotherapists attending the mindfulness training would report a greater level of presence during sessions. The development of the personal mindfulness traits of the subjects was also to be tested. Moreover, the researcher also believed that they would prove that the mindfulness training of the clinicians would improve the patients’ treatment outcomes. In general, there were two main hypotheses to be tested.
Forty graduate students of the average age of 27 attending the psychological sessions were chosen to participate in the experiment. The 131 patients from 19 to 65 years old receiving psychological treatment from the psychotherapists were also selected for participation.
The different types of questionnaires for the psychotherapists and clients were chosen to ensure the reliability of the data collection: five-facet mindfulness questionnaire (FFMQ), therapist presence inventory (TPI), Toronto mindfulness scale, session rating scale (SRS) (Brecht et al., 2017).
The researchers divided participants into two groups: in the first one, psychotherapists attended mindfulness courses while the participants of the second, control group, witnessed no interventions. After each session, psychotherapists and clients of both groups completed the questionnaires assessing the changes, possible improvements and efficiency of the treatment. Gained data were analyzed and interpreted to make adequate conclusions.
The researchers used the Hierarchical Linear Model for analyzing the gained information (Brecht et al., 2017). The researchers designed no unique statistical analysis method or approach to analyze collected data. All the mentioned techniques and questionnaires were borrowed from the previous experiments.
The psychotherapists’ mindfulness training results were assessed with the TMS and FFMQ. There was an improvement in the psychotherapists taking mindfulness courses scores detected. The difference in the scores based on both tests is approximately 0,5 percentages which is a significant difference (Brecht et al., 2017). This indicates that the psychotherapists highlight the positive self-reported changes in sessions efficiency. SRS scores show a pretty small number meaning that the patients noticed no significant improvements in the sessions’ efficiency regarding the mindfulness training.
Implications for Counselors, Clients, and Counseling
The researchers presented the essential for the psychotherapists finding, which showed that the client’s outcomes do not directly depend on the mindfulness development of the clinician. Theoretically, even self-reported mindfulness should have a positive impact on the efficiency of the session (Goodwin et al., 2017). The psychotherapists, after the training, have more problem-concentrated attention focus contributing to better dialogue and contact with the patient (Goodwin et al., 2017). Being contractionary to the theoretical predictions, the experiment results show that this topic requires a unique approach and statistical design to make more adequate conclusions.
The evaluation demonstrated that the self-reported efficiency of the sessions elevates after the mindfulness training. Therefore, the first essential hypothesis was proved by the experiment results. However, the clients noted no improvements in the efficiency of the sessions, which shows that the researchers failed to assert the second hypothesis. Considering the general outcomes of the research, only fifty per cent of the theoretical predictions were proved by the practical results.
The research has many drawbacks which should be discussed. The conclusions made by the authors are hard to be estimated as warranted because the reader has no access to the formulation of the questionnaires and the final results. Moreover, the research has a lot of limitations and feeble reliability and validity rates. The authors also provide no information about the protection of the participants’ rights and personal data. The reliability contradicts the provided limitations: the conceptual conditions are too influential for guaranteeing the same results in the future reproduction of the same experiment (Goodwin et al., 2017). No measures to prevent the bias influence on the results were implemented.
The positive aspect of the study is the rebuttal of the client-oriented correlation of the session efficiency and the mindfulness training of the psychotherapist. The research also emphasizes the necessity to explore this question further with a more accurate scientific approach (Brecht et al., 2017). Being the true experimental study, this experiment coincides with all the requirements of this format, such as, for example, the random distribution of the participants within the treatment and control groups (Goodwin et al., 2017). The validity of the measures is proved by the various appliances of the questionnaires mentioned in the literature overview.
For Further Study
First of all, the same experiment can be held again to improve the reliability of the study. To make the research more solid, it would be more rational to provide a more detailed explanation of the ethical consideration, anti-bias protection, and interpretation measures. The analyzed study demonstrated the contradiction in previous findings, provoking further discussion of the mindfulness role in the psychological sessions. The research also beneficial can be used as a basis for further exploration of mindfulness.
Brecht, K., Callahan, J. L., Dunn, R., Ivanovic, M., & Swift, J. K. (2017). A randomized-controlled crossover trial of mindfulness for student psychotherapists. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 11(4), 235–242.
Goodwin, K. A., & Goodwin, C. J. (2017). Research in psychology: Methods and designs (8th ed.). NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.