Clients' experiences of shared decision making in an integrative psychotherapy for depression

Adam Gibson, Michael Cooper, John Rae, Jacqueline Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

427 Downloads (Pure)


Mental health and general health care research has shown that practitioners can facilitate patient involvement in shared decision making (SDM) and that the approach can benefit patients who wish to take part in decisions around their care. Yet patient experiences of SDM within a psychotherapy context have been little researched. This studyexamined how clients experienced SDM in a collaborative‐integrative psychotherapy. A grounded theory approach used interpersonal process recall interviewing and supplementary semi‐structured interviews to investigate 14 clients' experiences of SDM in pluralistic psychotherapy for depression. Verbatim transcripts were coded into 819 meaning units across six categories containing 13 subcomponents that compriseda single, core category. The six categories were (a) experiencing decisions as shared, (b) psychotherapists supporting clients to become more active in the decision‐making process, (c) both parties presenting and recognizing expert knowledge, (d) clients felt recognized as an individual and accommodated for by their psychotherapist, (e) clients felt comfortable engaging with the decision‐making process, and (f) daunting for clients to be asked to take part in decision discussions. A core category emerged of “Psychotherapists encourage client participation and progressively support clients to provide information and contributions towards shared treatment decisions that couldbe led equally, or marginally more by one party.” Such support was particularly useful when clients had difficulty contributing as part of decision discussions. Client preferences for SDM change across clients and across decisions, highlighting the importance of practitioners remaining flexible to individual clients when using the approach.
© 2019, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. The attached document (embargoed until 01/12/2020) is an author produced version of a paper published in JOURNAL OF EVALUATION IN CLINICAL PRACTICE uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-568
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Issue number2
Early online date1 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • client experience
  • communication
  • counselling
  • interpersonal process recall
  • psychotherapy
  • shared decision making

Cite this