The Poor Image of Psychotherapy as a Roadblock to Coverage: A Corrected View and Some Thoughts on Validation

  • David Upton


Psychotherapy* has a severe image problem. This is still another major factor that militates against full coverage for mental health care under NHI. True enough, laypersons, including health planners and legislators, can see a value in the treatment of serious mental illness such as the psychiatric syndromes. When a person is psychotic, they recognize the necessity for mental health care. However, when symptoms are not that apparent, as in the person who suffers chronic symptomatic maladjustment (see Chapter 3), the public too often does not understand what is to be gained by treatment—or how. The layperson is frequently of the opinion that mental health care, especially psychotherapy, consists of little more than a conversation between a patient and a psychiatrist. He does not conceptualize psychotherapy as any special process. Nor does he believe that any special skills are required to practice it. As a result, the layperson is reluctant to spend his money—or his constituents’ tax dollars if he is a legislator—on what he perceives to be a vague, interminable, and meaningless treatment.


Mental Health Mental Health Care Mental Health Professional Psychotherapy Outcome Mental Health Care Delivery 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Upton
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Fort BelvoirUnited States Army Mental Health ClinicUSA
  2. 2.Los Angeles County Community Mental Health Center SystemsUSA

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