Psychotherapy With American Indians: An Exploration of Therapist-Rated Techniques in Three Urban Clinics

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The aim of the project was to conduct psychotherapy research in American Indian mental health clinics. To date, very little psychotherapy research has been conducted in this area. We report the findings from a multisite investigation of psychotherapy techniques used with American Indians. Psychotherapists, working in three American Indian clinics, were asked to self-report the therapeutic interventions that they used in sessions with 93 separate adult American Indian outpatients. Each therapist rated each client exactly once, and thus data on 93 sessions were collected. Therapists’ self-reported technique use with the Multitheoretical List of Therapist Interventions (McCarthy & Barber, 2009). Ratings were made immediately following the delivery of a session. The common factors approach was the most reported approach, followed by person-centered and interpersonal approaches. However, the therapists reported using techniques from all of the main therapeutic approaches. Technique use was affected by client- (demographic and diagnostic), therapist-, and therapy-related variables. This project represents a promising start to systematic psychotherapy research in busy, urban American Indian clinics. Many psychotherapeutic techniques are utilized, and there are many avenues for future research. A replication with client and observer ratings will be an important next step.

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