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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work


Wisdom is seen as quality that makes the navigation of the complex issues of human existence easier. A role that wise individuals often perform is that of problem-solver, advisor, and mentor. Therapist factors have been found to account for a greater role in treatment effectiveness than the choice of treatment modality; therefore, this study attempts to find parallels between the fields of psychotherapy research (therapist factors) and self-perceived wisdom by examining the practice and practitioner correlates of therapists who feel wise with their clients.

This study analyzed data collected over the past two decades by members of the Society for Psychotherapy Research Collaborative Research Network (SPR/CRN) using the Development of Psychotherapists Common Core Questionnaire (DPCCQ). Statistical analysis using correlations and ANOVAs was completed to compare the practice and practitioner correlates of 4139 therapists, who marked themselves as Very Wise, Much Wise, Somewhat Wise, and Not at All Wise on the DPCCQ. Practice variables that were significantly associated with high, self-perceived clinical wisdom included higher levels of clinical skills, lower levels of difficulties in practice, and higher levels of constructive and reflective coping in response to these difficulties.

The Very Much Wise therapists held the therapeutic frame more flexibly, felt significantly less anxious, were more inspired and stimulated, and were more available in sessions. Feeling Wise with clients was not related to the sex of the therapist but was related to the therapist’s age with older therapists feeling Much Wiser than younger therapists. Therapists’ self-perceived clinical wisdom was significantly positively correlated with how Wise they felt they were in their close, intimate relationships. Lastly, therapists who felt Very Much Wise with their clients had significantly higher levels of current life satisfaction, significantly lower life stress, and significantly higher emotional and psychological well-being. Conclusions are discussed to give directions and suggestions for future professional development of psychotherapists

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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