How to Define, Find and Classify Side Effects in Psychotherapy: From Unwanted Events to Adverse Treatment Reactions
Version of Record online: 18 JAN 2012
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy
Volume 20, Issue 4, pages 286–296, July/August 2013
How to Cite
Linden, M. (2013), How to Define, Find and Classify Side Effects in Psychotherapy: From Unwanted Events to Adverse Treatment Reactions. Clin. Psychol. Psychother., 20: 286–296. doi: 10.1002/cpp.1765
- Issue online: 8 JUL 2013
- Version of Record online: 18 JAN 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 10 DEC 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 10 DEC 2011
- Manuscript Received: 7 MAY 2011
- unwanted events;
- side effects;
- adverse treatment reactions;
- quality assurance
Empirical research on the negative effects of psychotherapy is insufficient, partly because there is a lack of theoretical concept on how to define, classify and assess psychotherapy side effects. This paper proposes a model for the definition, classification and assessment of psychotherapy side effects.
Definitions are provided for ‘unwanted events’, ‘treatment-emergent reactions’, ‘adverse treatment reactions’, ‘malpractice reactions’, ‘treatment non-response’, ‘deterioration of illness’, ‘therapeutic risks’ and ‘contraindications’. We describe processes analysing the causality of negative events and the correctness of treatment.
A procedural model on how to find, classify and evaluate negative events is described, the unwanted event to adverse treatment reaction (UE–ATR) checklist.
Recognition of adverse treatment effects is a characteristic of good therapists and treatments. Psychotherapists should be sensitive for negative effects. This can help improve the quality of treatment. The UE–ATR checklist can be used in psychotherapy trials, quality assurance, clinical practice and training of psychotherapists.Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Key Practitioner Message
- If you do not find adverse treatment effects, then ask yourself why and do not assume that there are no side effects.
- The detection and management of adverse treatment effects is not a sign of bad but of good clinical practice.