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Internet-based cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) is a promising format for treating different psychiatric disorders. In addition, several clinical trials have found positive results when using it to target transdiagnostic processes, such as perfectionism. However, few qualitative investigations have been conducted on the experiences of clients undergoing such treatments.
In the current study, clients completing 12-week guided ICBT for perfectionism responded to open-ended questions at post-treatment. In total, 30 out of 62 (48.4%) described their impressions of its content and the support provided by their guide.
The results were analysed qualitatively using thematic analysis. Five themes were found in the responses: Learning how to do things differently, Noticing the positives, Feeling safe to be honest, A comfortable treatment format and Barriers to treatment.
The results suggest that many clients were able to achieve a change in perspective in relation to their perfectionism and started facing their fears. They were also able to report the benefits of doing things differently as part of treatment, such as an improvement in their interpersonal relationships. Most clients were also positive about the treatment format, enjoying its flexibility and the encouragement offered by their therapist. However, obstacles such as conflicting commitments, personal difficulties, time-consuming and comprehensive treatment modules, and a desire for more support were brought up by some, suggesting that there are aspects that could be considered in the future.
Psychological treatments provide many benefits for patients with psychiatric disorders, but research also suggests that negative effects might occur from the interventions involved. The Negative Effects Questionnaire (NEQ) has previously been developed as a way of determining the occurrence and characteristics of such incidents, consisting of 32 items and six factors. However, the NEQ has yet to be examined using modern test theory, which could help to improve the understanding of how well the instrument works psychometrically.
The current study investigated the reliability and validity of the NEQ from both a person and item perspective, establishing goodness-of-fit, item bias, and scale precision.
The NEQ was distributed to 564 patients in five clinical trials at post-treatment. Data were analysed using Rasch analysis, i.e. a modern test theory application.
(1) the NEQ exhibits fairness in testing across sociodemographics, (2) shows comparable validity for a final and condensed scale of 20 instead of 32 items, (3) uses a rating scale that advances monotonically in steps of 0 to 4, and (4) is suitable for monitoring negative effects on an item-level.
The NEQ is proposed as a useful instrument for investigating negative effects in psychological treatments, and its newer shorter format could facilitate its use in clinical and research settings. However, further research is needed to explore the relationship between negative effects and treatment outcome, as well as to test it in more diverse patient populations.
Psychotherapy can alleviate mental distress and improve quality of life, but little is known about its potential negative effects and how to determine their frequency.
To present a commentary on the current understanding and future research directions of negative effects in psychotherapy.
An anonymous survey was distributed to a select group of researchers, using an analytical framework known as strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
The researchers perceive an increased awareness of negative effects in psychotherapy in recent years, but also discuss some of the unresolved issues in relation to their definition, assessment and reporting. Qualitative methods and naturalistic designs are regarded as important to pursue, although a number of obstacles to using such methods are identified.
Negative effects of psychotherapy are multifaceted, warranting careful considerations in order for them to be monitored and reported in research settings and routine care.
Declaration of interest
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