Attendance patterns in therapy across five decades

Robert W. Kinsey (1999)

Treatment duration in psychotherapy is a major focus in current psychological practice because of concerns about escalating costs, perceptions of declining access to care, and difficulty in assessing quality. Attendance patterns from 1,000 randomly selected files of patients treated between 1955 and 1997 are traced across decades while describing patterns within and across each decade. The mean, median, modal and number and percentage of patients attending various session ranges are identified for each decade. The range of mean number of sessions attended across the decades was from 10.03 to 19.56, and was significantly higher in the 1980s. The number and percentage (28.2%) of patients with multiple episodes of treatment, including the length of time between episodes, are described. This five decade study facilitates a clearer picture of actual attendance patterns in therapy, including readmissions over many years and serves as a case study of the changes in treatment duration that are believed to coincide with reimbursement policies (e.g. managed care) and political influences.