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Service user satisfaction with cognitive behavioural therapy for psychosis: Associations with therapy outcomes and perceptions of the therapist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-102
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date2 Dec 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Dec 2016


King's Authors


Objectives: Few studies have investigated service user satisfaction with cognitive behavioural therapy for psychosis (CBTp). This study explored its associations with clinical presentation and outcomes, retrospective expectations of progress, perceptions of the therapist, and demographic variables. Design and methods: One hundred and sixty-five service users completed self-report questionnaires pre- and post-CBTp in relation to the constructs of interest. Regression analyses explored associations with (1) overall satisfaction with therapy and (2) perceived progress, skills, and knowledge gained. Results: Ninety-six per cent of service users reported satisfaction with therapy. Higher levels of overall satisfaction with, and perceived benefit from, therapy were associated with positive therapy expectations, positive ratings of therapist's personal qualities, competence and trustworthiness, lower pre-therapy depression, and improvements in quality of life. Symptom improvements were not related to overall satisfaction with therapy; however, with the exception of voices, better clinical outcomes were associated with subjective ratings of having made more progress and gained more CBT skills and knowledge. Demographic factors were not associated with satisfaction or perceived progress. In multiple regression analyses, expectations of progress showed the strongest associations with both satisfaction and perceived benefits. Other remaining significant associations consisted of perceptions of the therapist for satisfaction, and both pre-therapy levels of, and changes in, depression for perceived benefits. Qualitative feedback emphasized the importance of the therapeutic relationship and developing new coping strategies. Conclusions: The findings provide preliminary evidence that high levels of satisfaction with therapy are not contingent on good clinical outcomes and are instead associated with positive therapy expectations and perceptions of the therapist. Practitioner points: Therapy expectations represent a neglected area of research and may have implications for levels of satisfaction with therapy and perceived benefit. The findings reinforce the importance of cognitive behavioural therapy for psychosis (CBTp) therapists demonstrating that they are supportive, competent, and trustworthy. The findings suggest that positive experiences of therapy do not require changes in psychosis symptoms and are instead related to changes in quality of life. Depressive symptoms at the start of therapy may adversely influence the extent to which CBT skills and knowledge are gained and levels of perceived progress at the end of therapy. The present sample was restricted to service users who completed therapy. Satisfaction levels were high. Further research is needed to explore factors associated with dissatisfaction with therapy.

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