Attitudes and beliefs of marriage and family therapists regarding psychotropic drugs and therapy

Paul R. Springer, Steven M. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Clinical members of AAMFT were solicited by means of a randomized multi-staged clustering technique to identify their attitudes and beliefs regarding psychotropic drugs. All participants were blind to the overall purpose of the study (n = 322) and were directed to read a clinical vignette and then identify what course of action they would take with the client. They were then asked to complete a small questionnaire regarding their attitudes and beliefs regarding psychotropic drugs. Results of the study showed that 35.7% of the clinicians identified medication and a medication referral as a viable treatment option they might pursue with a client meeting criteria for major depressive episode. Clinicians who reported having a dedicated university class (17.2%) in psychopharmacology were more likely to identify medication referral as a treatment option. However, 80% of the AAMFT clinicians we surveyed reported that they were not adequately trained about psychotropic medications in their graduate programs. Further implications regarding diagnostic practices are also discussed, as 26% of clinicians failed to explicitly diagnose the client in the case vignette with depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-375
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Marital and Family Therapy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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