An exploratory study of factors associated with therapists offering 26 or more sessions of therapy

Küchemann, Christine (2003). An exploratory study of factors associated with therapists offering 26 or more sessions of therapy. DClinPsychol thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f9da

Abstract

Longer therapies can have a major impact on services by lengthening waiting lists. This exploratory study of one National Health Service (NHS) adult mental health psychology department aims to understand why therapists gave longer therapies to a few of their patients. There is a paucity of research on this topic in the literature. A longer therapy was defined as one of 26 or more sessions since some research has shown that at around this number the rate of improvement levels off. A qualitative research methodology using grounded theory was employed to analyse data obtained from interviewing nine psychologists. The main findings comprised two related themes: the stages that therapy goes through, during which it becomes extended; and balancing competing demands while carrying out the therapy. These conflicts may be coped with in different ways, but they often result in the therapist finding it difficult to stop therapy, even when they review frequently. The therapist may then ask a colleague for advice to help them stop. The therapist may keep their feelings, and behaviour secret, which may make it difficult for them to maintain their self-esteem. The conflicts may remain unresolved. The methodology and findings are discussed critically. Recommendations are made, from the findings and using ideas from the literature, to help the members of the department (and other therapists) stop therapy sooner, and to become more open about the length of the therapies they give.

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