Intake Decisions and
Preparation of Patients
This chapter discusses intake decisions and the preparation of patients for therapy. It begins with considerations and guidelines for making decisions about the selection of patients and the planning of appropriate interventions. It continues with discussions of both the importance of tailoring therapy goals and the cognitive preparation of patients, or patient education. Additional sections focus on interviewing, history taking, and selected self-report measures.
One basic intake decision in the therapeutic setting is whether or not to use biofeedback with a specific patient. This chapter discusses many factors in this decision-making process.
Practitioners can benefit from being aware of the information and guidelines set forth in this chapter before and during assessment interviewing. Although the selection of topics is not exhaustive, it is sufficient for many of the situations a practitioner is likely to encounter. For more intake information and considerations about specific disorders discussed in this book, the reader is referred to specific chapters (especially to Arena & Schwartz, Chapter 7, and M. S. Schwartz & Andrasik, Chapter 14).
Arriving at a list of disorders for which biofeedback and other applied psychophysiological treatments are appropriate is not an easy task. One must consider both the individual to be treated and the specific features and stage of the disorder. There are many practical considerations, including the accuracy of the diagnosis. Prudent practitioners first consider the published literature and current clinical practice.
Good research is one cornerstone of clinical practice and a basis for deciding which disorders, symptoms, and patients to treat. One must therefore read many journals and books and attend professional meetings. However, research often does not capture the essence of clinical