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February 1976

Institutional Alternatives to Psychotherapy: A Study of Growth Center Users

Author Affiliations

From the University of Chicago (Dr Lieberman) and Ravenswood Hospital (Dr Gardner), Chicago.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33(2):157-162. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770020013002

• Are growth centers used as alternative institutions to traditional mental health facilities? Survey methods compared growth centers (N=426) and National Training Laboratories (N=108) participants with clinic patients (N=89). Symptoms, life stress, motivations for participation, process expectations, and various attitudes toward authority, time, and help were assessed prior to participation. Comparisons on degree of psychological distress and avowed motivation indicated that most who attend such activities do so for "psychotherapeutic purposes." Growth centers were found not to be an alternative to traditional psychotherapy, but rather an addition. Eighty percent of the growth center sample had previous or current psychotherapeutic experience. Of the people studied, most go to both rather than to one or the other, and from the perspective of the participants, the institutions do not differ greatly in what they offer, how long the process will take, or what goals will be met.

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