Popular or Unpopular? Therapists’ Use of Structured Interviews and Their Estimation of Patient Acceptance

University of Basel.
Behavior therapy (Impact Factor: 3.69). 12/2011; 42(4):634-43. DOI: 10.1016/j.beth.2011.02.003
Source: PubMed


An accurate diagnosis is an important precondition for effective psychotherapeutic treatment. The use of structured interviews provides the gold standard for reliable diagnosis. Suppiger et al. (2009) showed that structured interviews have a high acceptance among patients. On a scale from 0 (not at all satisfied) to 100 (totally satisfied) patients rated overall satisfaction with a structured interview at M=86.55. Nevertheless, therapists rarely seem to use structured interviews in clinical practice. The aim of this study was to assess how frequently therapists use structured interviews in daily practice. Secondly, we hypothesized that therapists underestimate patient acceptance of structured interviews. As a third goal, we explored further reasons why therapists choose not to use structured interviews. We conducted an online survey of 1,927 psychiatrists and psychotherapists in Switzerland and asked them how frequently they used structured interviews and how they estimated patient satisfaction with these interviews. Furthermore, we asked therapists why they chose to use or not use structured interviews. Therapists reported using structured interviews on average with about 15% of their patients. Furthermore, therapists estimated significantly lower patient acceptance than patients themselves indicated (M(therapist)=49.41, M(patient)=86.55). Our data suggest lack of familiarity with these instruments as well as an overestimation of the utility of open clinical interviews as further reasons for not using structured interviews.

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