Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Providers of psychological therapies are encouraged to offer patients choice about their treatment, but there is very little information about what preferences people have or the impact that meeting these has on treatment outcomes. METHOD: Cross-sectional survey of people receiving psychological treatment from 184 NHS services in England and Wales. 14,587 respondents were asked about treatment preferences and the extent to which these were met by their service. They were also asked to rate the extent to which therapy helped them cope with their difficulties. RESULTS: Most patients (12,549-86.0 %, 95 % CI: 85.5-86.6) expressed a preference for at least one aspect of their treatment. Of these, 4,600 (36.7 %, 95 % CI: 35.8-37.5) had at least one preference that was not met. While most patients reported that their preference for appointment times, venue and type of treatment were met, only 1,769 (40.5 %) of the 4,253 that had a preference for gender had it met. People who expressed a preference that was not met reported poorer outcomes than those with a preference that was met (Odds Ratios: appointment times = 0.29, venue = 0.32, treatment type = 0.16, therapist gender = 0.32, language in which treatment was delivered = 0.40). CONCLUSIONS: Most patients who took part in this survey had preferences about their treatment. People who reported preferences that were not met were less likely to state that treatment had helped them with their problems. Routinely assessing and meeting patient preferences may improve the outcomes of psychological treatment.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Psychiatry

Publication Date





Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Cross-Sectional Studies, England, Female, Health Surveys, Humans, Male, Mental Disorders, Middle Aged, Patient Preference, Psychotherapy, Self Report, Treatment Outcome, Wales, Young Adult