Department of General… Research Research areas



Common factors of different psychotherapeutic approaches have a significant share in the effectiveness of psychotherapy. Empirically, the independent and curative role of the potential active factors must be clarified. In addition to the therapeutic alliance, the active shaping of psychotherapy by patients appears to be significant for the therapeutic outcome. Therapeutic agency is defined as the intentional influence of patients on the psychotherapeutic process. In this research project agency as a mechanism of change is investigated. For this purpose, a self-reporting tool for patients to record agency in the psychotherapeutic process will be developed and psychometrically investigated. The subjective experience of agency is related to observable characteristics of the therapeutic process (the active cooperation of patients) and the interaction between patient and therapist (the therapeutic alliance, the interpersonal behavior of patients and therapists). It is further examined whether changes in agency predispose to symptom improvement after controlling for previous changes in symptomatology and personal differences. In addition, the role of the therapeutic alliance as a mechanism of change and the interplay between agency and alliance will be further investigated.

Project Management

Working group:
H. Schauenburg, C. Nikendei, S. Jennissen, Maximilian Orth, Laura Stangl, Julia Huber

Duration: 2015-2021

Supported by: State Graduate Scholarship Heidelberg (PhD Scholarship J. Huber)