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Integrating complementary and alternative therapies into psychological practice: A qualitative analysis


Lee-Ann Margaret Wilson, BPsyc(Hons), School of Public health, Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove, QLD 4059, Australia. Email:


Although complementary and alternative therapies (CATs) are utilised widely for treating psychological disorders, little research has examined psychologists' beliefs about integrating CAT into psychological practice. Six practicing psychologists and six psychology students were interviewed about their CAT integration beliefs, in particular integrating CAT into clinical practice via recommending CATs, offering referrals to CAT practitioners, or undertaking training to utilise CATs within psychological practice. Guided broadly from a theory of planned behaviour perspective, participants raised a number of costs and benefits, discussed referent groups who would influence their decisions, and suggested motivators and barriers for integration. A number of additional themes were raised, including risks, such as the possibility of litigation and the need for clear Society guidelines, as most participants were unclear about what constitutes appropriate practice. Identifying these themes serves as an important initial step to informing discussion and policy for this emerging practice issue within psychology.