How psychiatrists introduce themselves in the first consultation may influence the therapeuticrelationship. There is no evidence about what type of introduction patients prefer.
To assess experimentally patients' preferences for how psychiatrists introduce themselves.
Twelve psychiatrists were filmed, each with three different introductions: stating name, profession and reason for consultation; the same, plus information on what will happen during the consultation; and the same, plus disclosure of a personal difficulty. Six randomly selected videos, of different psychiatrists, two of each type of introduction, were rated by each of 120 psychiatric in- and out-patients on Likert-type scales.
Patients gave the most positive ratings to psychiatrists who introduced themselves with information about what will happen in the consultation rather than ones with briefer introductions or with additional personal disclosure (P = 0.002). Preferences were similar in different subgroups.
Psychiatrists should introduce themselves with information about what they intend to do in theconsultation, but without personal disclosure.
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