Outcome of psychiatric treatment: what is relevant for our patients?

Compr Psychiatry. 2004 May-Jun;45(3):199-205. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2004.02.001.


This study investigated relevant outcome domains in the patient's perspective following psychiatric outpatient treatment for non-psychotic, non-substance-related disorders. Questionnaires, including the Client Satisfaction Questionnaire (CSQ) and the Bern Inventory of Treatment Goals (BIT-C) applied as a broad typology of outcome domains, were mailed 1 year after treatment to outpatients who had undergone eight or more therapy sessions. Patients reported a wide range of relevant outcomes, including changes with respect to the interpersonal domain, their self-concept, and existential issues. Changes in depressive and anxiety symptoms were rated as particularly important; the reports of both symptomatic and more integral changes were related to treatment characteristics, patient's diagnostic category, and patient's employment status. Patient satisfaction was particularly related to reported changes in the interpersonal domain. This exploratory study provides evidence that traditional outcome measures that include mood, anxiety, and fear symptoms continue to assess the most important areas for change in patients' views. However, they might miss relevant therapeutic achievements in some of our patients, particularly in those suffering from adjustment and personality disorders. The use of measures that include dimensions such as personal growth, purpose of life, and positive relations with others may record important changes in these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Attitude to Health
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Switzerland


  • Psychotropic Drugs