Using Deliberate Practice to Increase Capacity and Improve Outcomes

"Practice, practice, practice! It is how the good become great, and how we all become good. Musicians, athletes, surgeons, chess masters… professionals rely on deliberate practice to achieve expertise." Dr. Tony Rousmaniere

Written BY

Dr Jessica Bolton

Head of Attuned Connection

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June 6, 2019

Using Deliberate Practice to Increase Capacity and Improve Outcomes

"Practice, practice, practice! It is how the good become great, and how we all become good. Musicians, athletes, surgeons, chess masters… professionals rely on deliberate practice to achieve expertise." Dr. Tony Rousmaniere

We wouldn’t expect to learn to play an instrument by going to concerts and by performing whole pieces to an audience. Yet, in psychotherapy we have a culture of practising within our clinics, and rarely practicing what we do. The evidence that we do not improve with age or increasing clinical experience amongst other research shows that to get the best outcomes for our clients we need to develop other ways of improving our skills.

Developing my own deliberate practice routine was not easy. I found that I can resist facing reality for a whole variety of reasons, and the prospect of meeting my own internal critic being a key factor.  The fact that I would sometimes prefer to do my tax return over voluntarily watching a video of my work told me I might need some help getting started creating a successful deliberate practice routine.

There are specific activities that seem to maximise skill acquisition including observing our own work and getting expert feedback on the observed work. In addition, the setting of small incremental learning goals and repetitive behavioural rehearsal of specific skills that work towards these goals helps us to see the links with art, music, athletics and surgery but does this really apply to the science and art of psychotherapy?

Evidence suggests that these are indeed highly related to effective outcomes and the behaviour of highly effective therapists. Chow et al (2015) found that the "amount of time spent targeted at improving therapeutic skills was a significant predictor of client outcomes" while therapist experience level and psychotherapy model were not (Rousmaniere, 2016).

Recent deliberate practice workshops I have facilitated and attended also tell me that maximising skill acquisition in the way described above can have a profound effect on both learning and outcomes. It can also have a profound effect on our relationship with ourself as a psychologist, psychiatrist, psychotherapist; enabling us to own our learning journey in a deeply meaningful way.

Look out for our Deliberate Practice workshops to help get you off the starting blocks. It will show you how to use deliberate practice to enhance your development, your clinical practice and your outcomes. The workshop will emphasise experiential earning through a variety of live and thoughtful methods, watching my video material, and including using your own clinical work.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about the theory and principles of Deliberate Practice
  • Learn about research from the Science of Expertise
  • Using Deliberate Practice to enhance skill development
  • Using Deliberate Practice to help build capacity
  • Assessing the effectiveness of psychotherapy
  • Learn about the benefits of Deliberate Practice for therapeutic work

Learning Methods:

  • Video-segments of psychotherapy sessions
  • Interactive exercises
  • Keynote presentation

Students must bring their own laptop computer / tablet with a video of a therapy session for the experiential exercises.

 

Also see:

  • Cycle of Excellence – Chapter 1 (Rousmaniere, Goodyear, Miller, & Wampold)
  • The Influence of Experience and Deliberate Practice on the Development of Superior Expert Performance (Ericsson, 2006)
  • Deliberate Practice and Mastery Learning: Origins of Expert Medical Performance (McGaghie & Kristopaitis, 2015)
  • How experts practice: A novel test of Deliberate Practice Theory. Coughlan, Williams et al (2014) Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition, 40, 449-458.
  • Adaptation to physically and emotionally   demanding conditions: the role of deliberate practice. Johnson, Tenebaum & Edmonds (2006), High Ability Studies, 17, 117-136.
  • The role of deliberate practice in the development of highly effective psychotherapists. Chow, Miller, et al (2015), Psychotherapy, 52, 337-345

 

 

Further Reading
Explaining chronic bodily symptoms (infographic)
What causes chronic symptoms when there's no obvious physical explanation, even after extensive medical investigations?
September 4, 2019
“Why can I not find the cause of my patient’s pain?”
This is a question I hear a great deal from Family Medicine Doctors. For many doctors with patients like these, it's hugely frustrating. Imagine, then, how you and your patients would feel if you could find a way to provide better outcomes for them.
September 3, 2019