Practicing clinicians' understanding and experiences of negative effects in psychotherapy
2014 (English)Conference paper, Poster (Other academic)
Introduction: Research of psychotherapy has primarily focused on examining its efficacy and effectiveness for different psychiatric disorders. Hence, little is known about its potential for generating negative effects among patients undergoing treatment, even though some evidence suggest that 5-10% of all patients experience negative effects in terms of deterioration alone. Meanwhile, other types of adverse events might exist as well, e.g., social stigma, lower self-esteem, and less self-reliance. However, the knowledge of negative effects is currently scarce, and research has found that many practicing clinicians do not acknowledge that some patients might fare worse during treatment. Investigating practicing clinicians’ understanding and experiences of negative effects is therefore important in order to raise awareness of its occurrence and characteristics. Method: Participants were recruited through the Swedish Society for Behavior Therapy, the Section for Cognitive Behavior Therapy within the Swedish Psychological Association, and students attending the psychotherapist program at Stockholm University. Seventy four participants completed an online survey regarding negative effects of psychotherapy. The responses were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: A majority of the participants believed that negative effects of psychotherapy exist, and some had personal experiences of patients encountering adverse events during treatment. Few received information about negative effects during their basic training in psychotherapy. Common negative effects were described as discomfort, lack of treatment effect, deterioration, dependency, and invasiveness. Possible causal factors were incompetence or inadequately applied methods, harmful treatment interventions, insufficient working alliance, among others. Only one participant was able to mention methods for monitoring negative effects during treatment. Conclusion: Practicing clinicians recognize that negative effects could pose a problem, but few were informed of its existence during their basic training in psychotherapy or know who to monitor it during treatment, warranting an increased awareness of negative effects among future clinicians.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
negative effects, psychotherapy
Research subject Psychology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-121053OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-121053DiVA: diva2:855818
The 44th Annual European Association for Behavioural Cognitive Therapies Congress, The Hague, The Netherlands, 10-13 September 2014.