Evidence from the literature show that patients affected by psychosis rarely are informed about their diagnosis and/or involved in the decision making process regarding the therapeutic program. The aim of the present study is to investigate psychiatrists' clinical experiences, beliefs and attitudes towards communicating the diagnosis to patients affected by psychosis. METHOD: Three focus groups were conducted with 28 psychiatrists of different levels of expertise (10 senior psychiatrists and 18 psychiatrists in training), all working at the South-Verona Community-based Mental Health Service. The group discussions were audiotaped and transcribed. The authors derived different thematic categories which were used by two raters to classify all contributions of the psychiatrists. RESULTS: The main themes of interest which emerged were: experience with the communication of the diagnosis of psychosis and main communication strategies used; obstacles and personal difficulties in giving such information. CONCLUSIONS: In the psychiatric setting the disclosure of the diagnosis of psychosis implies different clinical and ethical issues and is felt as highly problematic. These findings suggest a need of psychiatrists to involve the psychotic patient in the information giving process in order to learn his/her informative needs which are the starting point for individually tailored information. The authors have no potential conflict of interest related to the subject of the paper.
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