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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2000 Aug;68(4):547-8.

Introduction to the special section on stepped care models in psychotherapy.

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Department of Psychology, American University, Washington, DC 20016-8062, USA.


Not all patients need the same type and intensity of intervention. Some may be helped greatly by reading a self-help book, watching an instructional video, or using a computer program. Others could benefit from a brief psychoeducational group conducted by a paraprofessional, and still others may require long-term individual treatment from a highly trained professional therapist with specialized expertise. In an environment of limited resources, it makes sense to provide all the time, expertise, and individual attention a patient needs, but not more. Stepped care models represent attempts to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of decisions about allocation of resources in therapy. This article introduces a special section addressing these resource allocation issues in the context of prevalent disorders (e.g., generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, eating disorders, and alcohol dependence) for which empirically supported psychosocial treatments are available.

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