Literature Review: Brief Therapy in Adult Psychiatry

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Abstract

This paper provides an overview of the study conducted by A.J Macdonald (1994) on Brief therapy in adult psychiatry. With thorough analysis, it expresses concerns about the structure and lack of focus in controlling the research. It outlines strengths and limitations within its core assumptions to the research model in the context of the findings and the outcome of the research. Through considering multiculturalism, family socioeconomic status and other extraneous variables, it will lead to more valid and reliable research method to help in contributing to better knowledge on the effectiveness of brief therapy.

Literature Review:
Brief therapy in adult psychiatry

With increase in interest in Brief Therapy, researches were conducted in an attempt to verify its effectiveness within the field of psychotherapy. The purpose of the study conducted by Macdonald was to assess the effectiveness of a brief family therapy in adult psychiatric settings as there are limited studies available. Notion of family interaction and training in family began to rise with its importance and issues such as financial and staffing limitations to achieve more cost effective and short term therapies began to elevate which resulted in the use of brief therapy described by Fisch et al (1982). Regardless of the intention, Macdonald failed in setting a clear base structure of the research as simplistic definition of brief therapy was only was only referred to Fisch et al. Therefore, lack of detail in introducing the research seemed vague and disorganised.

The research questions addressed by this study were: Is family interaction effective in brief therapy and with follow up, has the problem diminished, or gotten worse? The independent variable in this study was family contact and the dependent variable was good, neutral and worse outcomes. Good outcome refers to whether clients were able to overcome their problems. Bad outcome refers to a problem worsening after the treatment and neural outcome having no changes in their problem regardless of the treatments. Demographic variables considered potential covariates used to answer the question on whether family contact was associated to result in good, neutral or bad outcomes were: age, social class, duration of the problem, length of treatment, gender and clients’ motivation to change.

This study was a quantitative research. The sample consisted of forty one of forty four referrals to a multidisciplinary team providing brief therapy in adult psychiatry was followed up after one year. Statistical calculation followed the studies from Swinscow (1983) and Siegel (1956) and data was collected through questionnaires to distinguish good and bad outcome from each clients. Prior to the selection process, Macdonald briefly mentions about the Brief Therapy Team consisting of mental health professionals from several disciplines but lacks to explain their roles and why such method was utilized. As there are numerous researches available on the effectiveness in using brief therapy team, it neutralized some biased opinions that one may hold depending upon the nature of the clients’ problems. Out of forty eight referrals from general practitioners and consultant psychiatrists, four did not attend and forty three sets of questionnaires were returned with one case having been lost in the process. Two cases were overlooked as client had left the area, therefore follow up information couldn’t be obtained. The sample size for the following study seemed a little small to obtain more valid results and in addition, candidates were not controlled and looked after which caused unexpected errors within the sample size. A larger sample size with careful monitoring of clients and practitioners would have aided in the data analysis, particularly in obtaining accurate and valid results. In total of 41 cases, 26 clients and 37 general practitioners replied, however, with 15 cases...
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