Patients’ Own Problem Formulations and Recommendations for Psychotherapy

Irena Zuber

Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, December 2000, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 403-414

Abstract
One hundred fifty-nine patients’ (121 women and 38 men, mean age 35.1 (SD = 7.6) own descriptions of problems that brought them to psychotherapy, as described during a clinical interview, were classified into three categories: symptoms, relations, and a mix of these two categories. Length of problem formulation in millimeters was another variable of interest. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition (DSM-IV) diagnosis of the patients was assessed during the same clinical interview. As expected, a relationship between patients’ own problem formulations and type of recommended psychotherapy in a naturalistic setting was detected. Length of problem formulations was related, as expected, to type of recommended psychotherapy. No significant relationship between recommendation and DSM-IV Diagnosis Axis II, Axis V, and Axis I, with the exception of anxiety disorders, was disclosed. The results are discussed in terms of Gaw and Butler’s model of systematic treatment selection (1995) and the Tallman and Bohart (1999) theory of client as active self-healer.

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