The development of psychotherapy manuals may be critical to modern comparative psychotherapy research and the training of therapists. Based on this assumption, four manuals were comparatively analysed according to structural design and content. Furthermore, an empirical study compared how a sample of inexperienced versus experienced therapists (American and German), evaluated the four manuals. Finally, based on these analyses, a generic model for psychotherapy manuals is presented. Since the four manuals studied cover supportive-expressive psychoanalytic therapy, time-limited psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal therapy for depression, and cognitive therapy for depression, this work also provides an overview of how varying approaches can be presented in manual form.