Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Influence of theoretical orientation on preferences for describing consumers of mental health services
by Aldaco-Glass, Christopher, Psy.D., Alliant International University, 2015, 170; 3639630
Abstract (Summary)

Psychotherapy is only as effective as the quality of its provider-patient discourse (Poland, 1968; Schwartz, 2009). It is arguable that, in the practice of psychotherapy, theoretical orientations will encapsulate common understandings of the attitude-intention-behavior process, in order to assist in the promotion and prediction of positive health outcomes; and, that personality traits, and professional and demographic characteristics will similarly influence the kind and quality of the therapeutic relationship.

The current research was interested in investigating whether there were meaningful relationships between the language or labels used to describe consumers of mental health services and the primary theoretical orientation of the clinician. This was accomplished through examination of descriptor preference of consumers. Descriptors that were examined varied in terms of personable descriptors (e.g., the use of a client's initials) versus more traditional labels (e.g., patient and client abbreviations). Participants indicated preference by selecting descriptor words in case study vignettes in two repeated measures of least and most preferred options. Theoretical orientations surveyed were categorized as action-based (e.g., CBT, SBT, ABA, and systemic), insight-based (e.g., psychodynamic and humanistic), and other, which included integrative and crisis-based interventions used in medical environments.

Results indicated there were differences in the patterns of most and least preferred, depending on theoretical orientation. Insight-based practitioners demonstrated a greater bias against the use of initials and a bias away from the use of patient, whereas Action-based practitioners most preferred initial descriptors. These findings were in direct contrast to previous health care quality studies on physician provider populations, which, in general, opted for maintaining the use of traditional monikers. Further results indicated trends in term preference and demographic and professional variables. For example, related to Gender, men showed a preference for the term patient, whereas women did not. Additionally, older and more experienced clinicians were less biased against the use of the more traditional client. Findings were explained in terms of the differences in the primary foci of services between mental health and physician providers and in terms of the underlying objective in the training of psychotherapy to cultivate heightened listening skills and sensitivity towards the quality of therapeutic discourse.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bekerian, Debra, Harris, Rob
Commitee: Diaz, Heather, Her, Mary, Wagner, Mellissa
School: Alliant International University
Department: Fresno, CSPP
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 76/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mental health, Psychology, Clinical psychology, Experimental psychology
Keywords: Client descriptions, Mental health services, Orientation, Term preference, Term usage, Theoretical orientation
Publication Number: 3639630
ISBN: 978-1-321-24239-3
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