Purpose: Group autogenic training (AT) programs are conducted in medical institutions in Japan. An additional interview with patients was conducted before the group AT session to inform patients of details regarding the program. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of this interview. Methods: Outpatients, mostly suffering from anxiety and psychosomatic diseases, were assigned to a control (n = 27) or an experimental group (n = 22). In the experimental group, a pretreatment interview was conducted before starting the AT program. Four patients were excluded after the interview due to severe symptoms and time limitations for participating in all sessions. At the first and the last AT sessions, the participants completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Center for Epidemiological Study of Depression scale. They also reported the perceived controllability of their symptoms by using the Visual Analogue scale. At the last session, the participants and physicians rated the achievement of treatment goals. Results: Patients who completed the program were significantly increased in the experimental group (95%) compared with the control group (63%). Emotional level improved equally in both groups. Participants' self-rating of controllability, as well as participant's and physician's rating achieving treatment goals were not significantly different in the two groups. Conclusions: This study indicates the important role of pretreatment interviews. As a result of the interview, appropriate patients could be selected and more patients could complete the program.
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