An Opt-in appointment system and brief therapy: Perspectives on a waiting list initiative

Paul Stallard, Jacqui Sayers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (SciVal)


An opt-in appointment and brief (three session) therapy formed the basis of an initiative designed to tackle a waiting list. The opt-in system, requiring families to confirm in advance attendance at their initial appointment, resulted in a first appointment failure rate of 5%. This compared to 27% using a more traditional appointment system. Almost half of the families were never seen and whether the opt-in system disadvantaged these remains unclear. The majority of families who attended appointments were satisfied with the service they received and both they and clinicians identified fewer problems by the end of contact. The limitations of the assessment methods used are acknowledged although the results suggest that brief therapy can produce short-term change. Further work to identify which problems respond best to brief intervention and whether this change lasts in the longer term is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-212
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1998


  • 'opt-in' appointment system
  • Brief therapy
  • Child and family mental health
  • Waiting list

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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