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Future Research on Psychotherapy Practice in Usual Care

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How might we go about assessing and, where needed, improving the quality of psychotherapy practice delivered in usual care? Given the numbers of mental health specialists practicing in the U.S. (recently estimated at one-half million), the diversity of professional training and licensure that establish credentials to practice therapy, a broad range of practice settings, and variations in the types of individuals treated, the task of answering this question seems daunting (Institute of Medicine 2006a). This special issue includes a range of studies that have made first steps toward tackling this challenging task. Not surprisingly, given the groundbreaking nature of this research, these papers overwhelmingly raise more questions than they answer. A large part of the value of these studies is lessons learned that inform next steps to assess and improve the quality of psychotherapy in usual care.

Quality of Care Framework

Donabedian’s Quality of Care model, commonly used in healthcare qualit