In more ways than one, therapists are bridge makers.
Except that one of the greatest challenges is the process of bridging what we’ve learned into fruitfulness for our clients.
Demis Hassabis, founder of the AI Company, DeepMInd (2017) says,
At its core, intelligence can be viewed as a process that converts unstructured information into useful and actionable knowledge
Transfer of learning is a topic that is a lifeblood not just in the education literature, but in every practical sense imaginable. Transfer of learning simple means when you learn something in one context, like in a classroom, and whether you are able to apply it to another context, say in real life.
Except that there is something significant you need to know about. Author of Transfer of Learning, psychologist Robert Haskell says
…that without exaggeration, (there is) an education scandal. 
What Haskell was referring to in that research findings over the last 9 decades clearly show that individuals and academia have failed to achieve tranfer of learning on any significant level.
That is sobering news.
Turns out that transfer of learning has been duped the “Holy Grail” of education. Although transfer of learning is universally recognised as fundamental to all learning, paradoxically the current evidence suggest that it seldom happens in instructional settings.
In an impression study improvement of informal reasoning skills, the results indicated fourth- year colleage students were no better than first-year college students. Fourth-year grad students were barely better tha first-year grad students. In other words, students barely improve at reasoning ability about everyday events. People with better reasoning ability were better at the outset, and not because of the higher education that they received. 
Even all those brain training games that tout to improve our memory and cognitive function, all they do it get us better in the context of the game itself, and the empirical evidence doesn’t pervail to transfer or generalise to improvement in the real-world. Bummer.
Closer to home, as mentioned previously in a blog series about Reimagining Education in Psychotherapy (REP), consistent findings suggest that the ability to handle a variety of interpersonal interactional issues is at the heart of clinical expertise.
In a prospective study, Tim Anderson and colleagues found that a practitioners “facilitative interpersonal skills” or FIS scores predicted patient’s alliance and outcome measures, a 2-year relevant doctoral training had no significant effect on client outcomes. Intriguingly, though not statistically significant, untrained therapists had higher alliance ratings! In other words, it appears that a trainee’s ability prior to receiving any training, matters more than the effects of training.
It seems that what we are doing in training, there seems to be a lack of evidence of improved outcomes from formalised education in psychotherapy. (Or maybe if we are to game the system, we should enroll students who already possess good therapeutic abilities during the selection process).
In a whistleblowing tale The Case Against Education, Bryan Kaplan asks us to consider the following about education:
By analogy, both sculptors and appraisers have the power to raise the market value of a piece of stone. The sculptor raises the market value of a piece of stone by shaping it. The appraiser raises the market value of a piece of stone by judging it.
Teachers need to ask ourselves, “How much of what we do is sculpting, and how much is appraising?” And if we won’t ask ourselves, our alumni need to ask for us.
Transfer of learning is paradoxical. It’s there all the time in our everyday lives, but when we want it, we don’t get it. What are we to do?
After all, isn’t
LEARNING = THE ABILITY TO TRANSFER KNOWLEDGE INTO ANOTHER SITUATION?
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 Transfer of Learning by Robert Haskell
 Postprimary Education Has Little Impact on Informal Reasoning article by D. N. Perkins 1985
 Anderson, T., Ogles, B. M., Patterson, C. L., Lambert, M. J., & Vermeersch, D. A. (2009). Therapist effects: Facilitative interpersonal skills as a predictor of therapist success. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(7), 755-768. doi:10.1002/jclp.20583
 Anderson, T., Crowley, M. E. J., Himawan, L., Holmberg, J. K., & Uhlin, B. D. (2015). Therapist facilitative interpersonal skills and training status: A randomized clinical trial on alliance and outcome. Psychotherapy Research, 1-19. doi:10.1080/10503307.2015.1049671
 The Case against Education by Bryan Kaplan
Header Photo by Alex Azabache