Impact of therapist emotional intelligence on psychotherapy

Matthew J. Kaplowitz, Jeremy D. Safran, Chris J. Muran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The concept of emotional intelligence (EI) describes a set of emotional skills that may comprise efficacious therapist variables. The present study is the first to investigate EI among psychotherapists. Based on conceptual overlaps between the EI model and psychotherapy models, as well as a review of empirical evidence from both literatures, we make several predictions of how therapist EI impacts treatment. In a small pilot study, we assessed psychotherapist EI to determine its relation to psychotherapy outcome and process. Therapists with higher ratings of EI achieved better therapist-rated outcome results and lower drop-out rates compared with therapists with lower ratings of EI. Though not hypothesized, higher therapist EI was significantly associated with increased patient assessment compliance. There was no relationship between early working alliance ratings and therapist EI. Findings offer preliminary support for the relevance of therapist EI to psychotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-84
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Emotional intelligence
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychotherapy process
  • Therapist effect
  • Therapist variables


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of therapist emotional intelligence on psychotherapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this