Representing the assessment process for psychodynamic psychotherapy within a computerized model of human classification

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This research describes a computerized model of human classification which has been constructed to represent the process by which assessments are made for psychodynamic psychotherapy. The model assigns membership grades (MGs) to clients so that the most suitable ones have high values in the therapy category. Categories consist of a hierarchy of components, one of which, ego strength, is analysed in detail to demonstrate the way it has captured the psychotherapist's knowledge. The bottom of the hierarchy represents the measurable factors being assessed during an interview. A questionnaire was created to gather the identified information and was completed by the psychotherapist after each assessment. The results were fed into the computerized model, demonstrating a high correlation between the model MGs and the suitability ratings of the psychotherapist (r = .825 for 24 clients). The model has successfully identified the relevant data involved in assessment and simulated the decision-making process of the expert. Its cognitive validity enables decisions to be explained, which means that it has potential for therapist training and also for enhancing the referral process, with benefits in cost effectiveness as well as in the reduction of trauma to clients. An adapted version measuring client improvement would give quantitative evidence for the benefit of therapy, thereby supporting auditing and accountability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Medical Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1997


  • psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • therapy category
  • measuring client improvement


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