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November 1980

Mental Health Practitioners: Old Stereotypes and New Realities

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1980;37(11):1247-1253. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1980.01780240045005

• Changes in the patterns of mental health care have led to shifts in the treatment roles of types of mental health personnel. The current contributions of mental health personnel in one geographic region were identified. Over 500 psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, psychiatric social workers, psychiatric nurses, and mental health workers responded to questionnaires covering their personal background, training and education, treatment roles, salary, and attitudes. Unexpected findings about these groups included their overall youthfulness, differences in religion, the high proportions of nurses and mental health workers with advanced degrees; and occupational ratings for families of origin. Despite differences in the types of psychotherapy provided, almost half of each group provided some formal psychotherapy. An important factor in the mental health field's "identity crisis" may be that these groups can no longer define themselves in terms of psychotherapy.