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The Impact of Personal Therapy on the Sense of Coherence and Quality of Life of Psychotherapy Students

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Most of the psychotherapy research considers clients with psychic diseases and symptoms as outcome measures. Complementary to that, the present study takes a salutogenic perspective and addresses the question, how personal therapy of psychotherapists in training (who are a healthy population) affects their Sense of Coherence (SoC) (Antonovsky, 1979) as well as their quality of life (QoL). We investigate the hypothesis, that the SoC and the QoL increase with the number of received individual and group personal therapy sessions. This study is a single group cohort study with three repeated measurements (with a time difference of several months, respectively) and a within-between subjects design. There is one intervention group (consisting of psychotherapy students from three different training institutes, who are at the beginnings of their trainings) and no control group. Each student is required to receive a certain number of individual and group personal therapy sessions during their trainings. Each such session we define as an individual or group intervention, respectively. Each of the trainings lasts four to five years, and each student has a certain amount of freedom regarding the time allocation of their psychotherapy sessions. Thus, we expect that during the first year of the trainings there will be a certain heterogeneity in the number of interventions among the participants. The outcome variable is the score difference between certain SoC and QoL scales at the three measurements. The independent variables are the numbers of individual and of group interventions. The control variables are depression, anxiety, and stress scales, a Big Five personality traits inventory, and socio-demographical data. The data are analyzed with a GEE model.