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The impact of Managed Care on the practice patterns and theoretical orientations of humanistic psychotherapists

16 April 2004


The purpose of this study is to survey the experiences of humanistic psychotherapists in the current managed care environment and to systematically assess the impact that managed care is having on their theoretical orientations and practice patterns. The hypothesis of this study is that the majority of humanistic practitioners have never accepted managed care reimbursement or have stopped accepting managed care reimbursement because of irreconcilable differences. A second hypothesis of this study is that humanistic psychotherapists who have continued to work with managed care companies have been forced to shift their theoretical orientations and practice patterns to incorporate the policies of managed care organizations. The 77 participants who completed the on line survey were members of Division 32 (Humanistic Psychologists) and members of the American Mental Health Alliance (AMRA). The respondents were divided into three sections: (a) those who are currently on managed care panels; (b) those who were formerly on managed care panels, and (c) those who have never been-on managed care panels. The first hypothesis was supported by the survey results as 53% of the respondents reported that they are not involved with managed care in their practices. Overall, humanistic practitioners who work with managed care organizations reported that they usually change their therapeutic approach and case conceptualizations. Most respondents who are working with managed care organizations reported that managed care had a negative impact on their professional work and professional identity. Other findings, implications, and limitations as well as future directions are discussed.


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