Psychiatric outpatient services were evaluated by patients coming for their first interview, continuing in therapy, and those terminating prematurely. Questionnaires were used to evaluate the patients' experience in making appointments, registering, therapist's interest, appearance, and service generally. The perceived values of medication, insight, and specific direction were evaluated.
Patients still in therapy gave generally favorable responses. For dissatisfied patients the main focus is the therapist's interest, not contact with other clinic procedures and personnel. The value of insight and specific directions together with the perceived therapist interest are the major sources of dissatisfaction. Appearance and medication seem least important.
It seems clear that if one wishes a critical evaluation to improve service we should go to our patients who have prematurely stopped treatment rather than to patients continuing in therapy.