Functional Assessment of Skills for Interpersonal Therapists:: The FASIT System: For the Assessment of Therapist Behavior for Interpersonally-Based Interventions Including Functional Analytic Psychotherapy or FAP-Enhanced Treatments

Article excerpt

Several contemporary behavior therapies exist that espouse the importance of the therapeutic relationship including Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT). Each of these therapies has described the importance of focusing on the process of what occurs in session between the client and therapist in an effort to change client behavior. This interpersonal aspect is shared not only by behavior therapies but by numerous other paradigmatically driven interventions. Functional Analytic Psychotherapy posits that the mechanism of clinical change is therapist contingent responding to client problem and improved behaviors in-session. This suggests that the therapists conducting these types of interpersonally-oriented psychotherapies possess a corresponding set of interpersonal skills to be effective. The Functional Assessment of Skills for Interpersonal Therapists (FASIT) manual presents an approach to assessment and classification of behavioral repertoire problems that can prevent effective delivery of interpersonally-oriented psychotherapies such as FAP. The manual begins with a discussion of its purpose, the selection of target therapist behaviors for improvement, therapist self-assessment questions, questions used by the supervisor to assess the therapist, and a discussion of idiographically based tracking devices that can be developed using the FASIT system. The bulk of the FASIT manual presents definitions and examples of particular therapist problems in five domains or classes of interpersonal functioning. These classes include: Assertion of needs; bi-directional communication (providing and receiving feedback); problems with conflict resolution; disclosure skills related to developing interpersonally close relationships; and difficulties with the experience and expression of emotions. There is a repeated emphasis throughout the manual on the purpose of identifying and targeting therapist skills for change. It is highlighted for the reader that therapist skills which directly impact his or her ability to conduct interpersonally-oriented psychotherapies can be reasonable behaviors targeted for change by a supervisor. The FASIT manual provides a basic behavioral approach to assessing these therapist responses in order to assist with the identification, documentation, and amelioration of such problems in the context of supervision and training. Developing more effective interpersonally-oriented psychotherapy therapy skills should continue to be driven by its direct impact on alleviating client distress with these clinical interventions.

Key Words: Functional Analysis, Analytic, Psychotherapy, Assessment, Therapist, Skills, Interpersonal, Behavior, Interpersonal, Therapy

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This system is used to assist therapists in learning interpersonally-based behavioral and cognitive behavioral interventions including Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP; Kohlenberg & Tsai, 1991) or FAP-enhanced treatments such as FAP Enhanced Cognitive Therapy (FECT; Kohlenberg, Kanter, Bolling, Parker, & Tsai, 2002) and FACT (Callaghan, Gregg, Marx, Kohlenberg, & Gifford, 2004). The Functional Assessment of Skills for Interpersonal Therapists (FASIT; pronounced "facet") system is designed to target therapist problem and improved behaviors relevant to effectively conducting FAP. This manual is designed to be used with the Functional Idiographic Assessment Template (FIAT) system (Callaghan, in press). The FIAT manual specifies the classes of behaviors used with the Client Forms (FIAT-C pre and FIAT-C post) and Therapist Forms (FIAT-T pre and FIAT-T post) of the assessment template. The FIAT system is more expansive than this counterpart focusing on therapist skills. However, there are both parallels and important differences between the two systems. There are many similar impersonal skills deficits that can appear with clients and with therapists alike. …