Psychotherapy in mental health clinics of the Department of Veterans Affairs

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Abstract

In this study, Department of Veterans Affairs Fiscal Year 2006 national workload data are analyzed to determine use and intensity of outpatient individual and group psychotherapy and, using multivariate analysis, to identify sociodemographic and diagnostic correlates. Results show that among veterans receiving specialty mental health services (n=934,832), average visits numbered 7.9, 64.7% received at least one psychotherapy visit, 94% received individual therapy, and 24.1% received group. Veterans with the most mental health specialty visits of any kind were most likely to receive psychotherapy. Veterans with affective disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis were more likely to receive psychotherapy than others. Veterans who are older, male, Black, or psychiatrically hospitalized were less likely to receive psychotherapy. Correlates of receipt of group therapy (i.e., older, Black, male, substance abuse diagnosis, urban residence) tend to be inversely related to receiving individual therapy. We conclude that psychotherapy is widely available at modest levels of intensity in Veterans Affairs. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol 67:1–13, 2011.

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