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  • 1.
    Westin, Fanny
    et al.
    Department of Psychology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
    Rozental, Alexander
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Health, Education and Technology, Health, Medicine and Rehabilitation. Department of Psychology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Informing patients about possible negative effects of psychological treatment: A survey of Swedish clinical psychologists’ attitudes and practices2024In: Psychotherapy Research, ISSN 1050-3307, E-ISSN 1468-4381, Vol. 34, no 6, p. 709-721Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Objective: The present study explored Swedish clinical psychologists’ attitudes and practices of informing patients about possible negative effects of psychological treatment.

    Method: An anonymous online survey with closed and open-ended questions was distributed via Facebook and two mailing lists. In total, 320 clinical psychologists (age M = 38.6, SD = 10.3; 76% women; 77.3% Cognitive Behavior Therapy) completed the survey. Responses were analyzed using χ2, binominal regression analysis, and thematic analysis.

    Results: No significant associations were identified between demographic variables selected a priori and informing patients about possible negative effects, i.e., years in practice, therapeutic orientation, age, and male gender. The thematic analysis resulted in several positive (e.g., creating realistic expectations of treatment and increasing resilience) and negative attitudes (e.g., causing excessive worry) of sharing patients with information about possible negative effects. It also revealed various factors that prevent an open discussion on the topic, despite being seen as important.

    Conclusion: The need to offer patients information about possible negative effects should be included in ethical guidelines, codes of conduct, and taught during clinical training. Lack of knowledge, fear, lack of time, and patient characteristics however seem to prevent therapists from discussing the issue during the informed consent procedure.

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