Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 367–385 | Cite as

The public's perception of psychotherapy and counseling: Differential views on the effectiveness of psychologists, psychiatrists, and other providers

  • Patrick Richardson
  • Paul Handal
Article

Abstract

This study examined the public's perceptions relative to the effectiveness of psychotherapy and counseling, expectations of treatment efficacy for different psychotherapy and counseling providers (i.e., clinical psychologists, counseling psychologists, counselors, general medical practitioners, marital and family therapists, psychiatrists, self-help groups, and social workers), professional characteristics, and factors that may influence treatment utilization in an adult population. The sample viewed psychotherapy or counseling as moderately effective and perceived psychotherapy/counseling to be effective for 26 to 50 percent of all cases. The perceived amount of time necessary for noticeable improvement in psychotherapy or counseling was approximately four months, and the expected necessary length of treatment was approximately eight months. Participants stated they were moderately willing to seek psychotherapy or counseling if they were to experience a mental problem, and reported discernible differences among the eight psychotherapy/counseling providers in terms of treatment efficacy. Differences were also found in the relative perception of providers' personal/professional qualities and characteristics.

Keywords

Public Health Social Psychology Social Worker Adult Population Treatment Efficacy 

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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Richardson
  • Paul Handal
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychological Services CenterSt. Louis

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