Consensus approach towards identifying pertinent therapist characteristics in Good Lives Model treatment: a research portfolio
Background: The Good Lives Model (GLM) is a novel strengths-based rehabilitation framework, the principles of which are increasingly being integrated into sexual offender treatment programmes. Previous research has suggested that positive therapist characteristics are empirically associated with treatment change in sexual offender treatment. However, considering the theoretically informed shift from a deficits-based approach to a strengths-based approach in GLM-consistent treatment (GLM-CT), it is reasonable to suggest that therapist characteristics might be reflected differently. Objective: To explore and identify, by expert opinion, what therapist characteristics are important in GLM-consistent treatment and how they might be recognised in a treatment session. Methods: A systematic review of the literature was carried out to appraise the reporting quality of studies that used the Delphi method to develop knowledge on psychotherapeutic models. The empirical study used a three-round Delphi method, a structured consensus-gathering technique, with 28 GLM experts from five different countries. The data in the first round were analysed using content analysis, and data in subsequent round were analysed using descriptive statistics. Results: The systematic review found that the reporting quality in Delphi method studies was respectable in relation to the preparatory stages; however, the reporting quality of aspects of the Delphi methodology important for interpreting the results varied. In regards to the empirical paper, experts endorsed 71 items reflecting the GLM ethos and principles in treatment, listed between twelve categories. Conclusions: The results of the present study suggested that therapeutic characteristics previously identified in sexual offending treatment are indeed important in GLM-consistent treatment. However, additional characteristics were highlighted as important by experts, including emphasis on future-focused and strengths-based language, motivational interviewing skills, flexibility with session material and a good knowledge of clients’ good lives plans. Finally, the results indicated that use of self-disclosure and directiveness in GLM-CT might need to be elucidated in future research.