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  10. Play to Learn: The Rate-Predict Exercise


1. How to seek the counterfactuals so that were can listen better and be more receptive to feedback

10. Rate and Predict Ex.pdf

Highlights from this Session:
1. Seek not to be confirmed, seek to be disconfirmed.

2. Two related quotes to think about:

a. "You're only as young as the last time you changed your mind."~ Timothy Leary

b. The late Eugene Gendlin, pioneer of the focusing approach in therapy, said some years ago that when he’s asking questions in therapy, he was no longer seeking to be confirmed like he used to. Rather, he’s now intentionally seeking to be disconfirmed by his client. When we are willing to be wrong, our ears open up.

Additional Notes:

Instructions to the Rate-Predict exercise:

1. Rate: At the end of the first session, using an alliance measure (e.g., Session Rating Scale, SRS), ask your client to RATE how they feel about the level of engagement in the session;

2. Predict: Before you see your client’s score, PREDICT what they would score. It is important that you write down scores for each of the sub-scales (for SRS, level of emotional connection, goals, approach/method, overall), and

3. Evaluate: Compare and contrast the scores. See what surprised you. Form your feedback questions from there.


Professional Self-Doubt

One study found that the more effective therapists are plagued with “professional self-doubt,” that is, questioning one’s self-efficacy as a therapist. (Niesen Lie et al., 2013)

What’s interesting from our study of highly effective therapists is that the top performers are more likely to report being surprised by a client’s feedback than their counterparts (Chow, 2014)

This does seem to suggest the following:

Highly effective therapists are more willing to be corrected. They have a sense of openness to receive and consider a client’s viewpoints, even if it may be contradictory to the therapist’s existing expectations.


Janet Metcalfe and colleagues suggest that individuals are more likely to correct errors made with initial high confidence than those made with low confidence, so long as the corrective feedback is given. Although it may seem intuitive that deeply held beliefs are more entrenched and are the hardest to change, experimental studies have indicated that individuals are more likely to overwrite their responses and correct their beliefs, and are more likely to retain the correct answer compared to knowing the correct answer at the outset.

In other words, the Rate-Predict Exercise is setup to intentionally create a context for seeking the counterfactual, or hypercorrection, not hyper-confirmation.

When we experience hypercorrection, we learn more deeply, as it enhances the memory encoding system. We do not learn when we keep seeking to confirm what we already know.

Further Readings:

(optional materials)

1. See a blog post on Frontiers of Psychotherapist Development, What have You Changed Your Mind About?

2. Nissen-Lie, H. A., Monsen, J. T., Ulleberg, P., & Ronnestad, M. H. (2012). Psychotherapists' self-reports of their interpersonal functioning and difficulties in practice as predictors of patient outcome. Psychotherapy Research, 1-19. doi:10.1080/10503307.2012.735775 (click here to see article)

3. Chow, D. (2014). The study of supershrinks: Development and deliberate practices of highly effective psychotherapists. (PhD), Curtin University, Australia.

4. See the following articles by Janet Metcalfe and her colleagues:

Barbie, J. H., & Metcalfe, J. (2012). Making related errors facilitates learning, but learners do not know it. Memory & Cognition, 40(4), 54-527. doi:10.3758/s13421-011-0167-z

Butterfield, B., & Metcalfe, J. (2001). Errors Committed With High Confidence Are Hypercorrected. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition November, 27(6), 1491-1494.

Butterfield, B., & Metcalfe, J. (2006). The correction of errors committed with high confidence. Metacognition and Learning, 1(1), 69-84. doi:

Metcalfe, J., & Finn, B. (2011). People's hypercorrection of high-confidence errors: Did they know it all along? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 37(2), 437-448. doi:

(click here to see article)