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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 46 (2004) 11, 739 - 743

New research

Premature termination of short-term in-patient psychotherapy

M.M. Thunnissen, Y.A.H. Remans, R.W. Trijsburg

background Efficient application of psychotherapy is also important with respect to policy making in mental health care. Therefore special attention needs to be given to the reasons for premature termination of treatment.
aim To discover patients' motives for terminating their treatment prematurely and to identify particular points that should lead to policy changes.
method Drop-outs were interviewed by telephone and self-reports about treatment and reintegration were analysed.
results About 50% of the drop-outs stopped their treatment in the first two weeks, mainly because of high levels of anxiety. However, in view of the fact that most of the drop-outs were doing well one to three years later, dropping out does not necessarily imply treatment failure.
conclusion The number of drop-outs can be reduced if their anxiety tolerance is assessed more accurate at the intake and if patients are given more support in the initial phase of treatment.


keywords dropouts, in-patients, psychotherapy