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July 1976

Personal Needs, Values, and Technical Preferences in the Psychiatric HospitalA Replicated Study

Author Affiliations

From the Center for Family Research, departments of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and of medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC (Dr Reiss); the Psychiatric Institute, Washington, DC (Dr Costell); and the Collective Psychotherapy Center, Palo Alto, Calif (Dr Almond).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33(7):795-804. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770070025002

• This study tests the hypothesis that staff and patients try to make their involvement in psychiatric hospitals personally gratifying by fashioning preferences for those specific therapeutic techniques that match or satisfy their personal values and needs. Results of questionnaire data, collected from a total of 397 staff and patients at two psychiatric hospitals at two different times, show two distinctly different combinations of needs, values, and technical preferences. In one, a preference for psychotherapy and somatotherapy correlates highly with a preference or need for structured, cautious, and rule-governed relationships. Underlying these preferences seems to be a common dimension emphasizing a technical attitude towards the psychiatric hospital with true healing provided only by a professional, scientific elite. A second combination shows high correlations between a preference for social therapy and a need for unstructured, open, and trusting relationships. A common dimension underlying these preferences seems to be a moral attitude that stresses the healing power of all human relationships. Treating institutions may be categorized according to whether the technical or moral attitude predominates.