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Keywords:

  • integrating complementary therapy;
  • perceived risk;
  • psychologists;
  • psychology practice;
  • theory of planned behaviour

Drawing on an extended Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) framework, we employed a cross-sectional design study to investigate psychologists' intentions to integrate complementary and alternative therapies (CAT) into their practice via recommending CAT to clients or referring clients to CAT practitioners. Participants were registered practicing psychologists from a range of therapeutic orientations (e.g., narrative, cognitive behavioural, psychodynamic). The psychologists were either recruited by phone, following a search of the Internet, or were contacted through their place of employment (hospitals, university counselling service). Those who agreed to participate (N = 122; n = 88 females, n = 34 males) completed a questionnaire that included standard TPB items of attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioural control, along with items measuring perceived risk, past behaviour, CAT knowledge, and gender. The outcome variables of interest were (a) intention to recommend CAT to clients and (b) intention to refer clients to CAT practitioners. Structural equation modelling revealed that the extended model was a good fit, explaining 69% (recommending CAT) and 51% (referring to CAT practitioners) of the variance in intentions. For both behaviours, direct paths from attitude and subjective norm to intentions were observed, with perceived risk and past behaviour influencing the TPB predictors of attitudes, subjective norm, and perceived behavioural control. The findings illustrate the role that cognitive and risk factors have on psychologists' decisions to integrate CAT into their practice. Understanding psychologists' cognitions and decisions about CAT integration forms an important basis on which to consider future changes in policy or practice.