Internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) is often accompanied by therapist emails, but there is limited research on the quality of this therapist-assistance. In this study, an ICBT Therapist Rating Scale (ICBT-TRS) was developed and evaluated to assess whether therapist emails showed fidelity to specific therapist behaviours. Using data from a previous ICBT trial for depression and anxiety, the ICBT-TRS was used to rate 706 emails sent by 39 therapists to 91 randomly selected patients. Emails were rated for adherence (absent/present) and quality (inadequate/competent) on the following behaviours: Builds Rapport, Seeks Feedback, Provides Symptom Feedback, Provides Psychoeducation, Facilitates Understanding, Praises Effort, Encourages Practice, Clarifies Administrative Procedures, and Communicates Effectively. Inter-rater reliability was high. Most behaviours were identified as present in 72–100% of emails, with the exception of Provides Symptom Feedback and Facilitating Understanding which were only present in 54 and 61% of emails. The majority of emails were rated as high quality (88–98% of messages). While not related to symptom improvement, ICBT-TRS ratings were higher when patients were more engaged in ICBT (e.g. log-ins) and among therapists who specialized in ICBT or had a background in Psychology. The ICBT-TRS has potential to facilitate ICBT research and clinical training.
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- therapist fidelity
- Internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy