Indexed on: 28 Mar '06Published on: 28 Mar '06Published in: Cognitive behaviour therapy
Given the low prevalence rate and rather secretive nature of trichotillomania, it is uncertain how much trichotillomania-related knowledge physicians and psychologists possess, what the perceived role of a psychologist is in the treatment process, what level of familiarity practitioners have with effective treatments and whether providers have resource materials available for patients. In a postal survey of 501 psychologists and physicians in the USA, providers responded correctly to 61% of the general knowledge items about trichotillomania. Most providers believed that psychologists may play a variety of roles in the clinical management of the disorder. Although providers were fairly accurate about the effectiveness of certain treatments for trichotillomania (e.g. medication, habit-reversal), a number of non-empirically supported treatments were endorsed as being effective. Furthermore, an overwhelming majority of healthcare providers did not have resources or referral information available for patients with trichotillomania. Implications of the findings and limitations of the study are discussed.