Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Christopher Heavey

Second Committee Member

Michelle Carro

Third Committee Member

Marta Meana

Fourth Committee Member

Kimberly Barchard

Fifth Committee Member

Stephen Fife

Number of Pages



Traditional evaluation and assessment procedures in professional psychology programs have long been criticized for inadequately attending to the set of interpersonal skills that are important to professional functioning in the field of psychology. The present study was exploratory and focused on examining the reliability and validity of an evaluation tool designed to capture a set of interpersonal skills that are clinically relevant and grounded in the empirical literature on psychotherapy outcome. Toward this end, the Facilitative Interpersonal Skills (FIS) task (Anderson, Patterson, & Weiss, 2006) was administered to a sample of trainees (n = 19) enrolled in a clinical psychology doctoral program and a marriage and family therapy master's program. The FIS task is a performance based evaluation method that attempts to measure interpersonal behavior samples taken in response to videotaped vignettes simulating challenging therapeutic situations. Trainee interpersonal responses to the task were evaluated and rated on the basis of the FIS scale by four independent raters. Other measures that could potentially be used to evaluate trainee performance or relevant skills were gathered, including measures of academic ability/performance, quantity of experience, self-reported interpersonal skills, and client outcome. Consistent with previous research, results indicated that ratings of trainee performance on the FIS task could be made reliably. With respect to validity, better performance on the FIS task was associated with more years in training, particularly for clinical psychology trainees; and unrelated to measures of academic ability. Results involving measures of client outcome were deemed inconclusive due to very small sample size, missing data, and other concerns. Findings are discussed in terms of implications for improving current training evaluation and assessment practices in professional psychology training programs.


Clinical performance; Clinical psychologists; Clinical psychologists – Training of; Competency assessment; Counselor and client; Facilitative Interpersonal Skills Task; Interpersonal performance; Interpersonal relations; Relationship competence


Clinical Psychology | Counseling Psychology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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