Over a two week period (1994) the 27 physicians at Fjorden registered the time they used on direct and indirect treatment of in- and out-patients, administration, further training, supervision and research. Standardized criteria for the time spent on patient treatment were set up. Thirty-two percent of the total work time was used for direct treatment and a further 32% for indirect treatment (conferences, etc.) while the rest was used for other purposes. In relation to standardized 60 minutes or more treatment sessions, the survey revealed an average of 32-60% insufficient time spent on each patient per session. Fifty percent more physician time for direct treatment would be necessary to reach the standardized criteria for the total number of patients. We conclude that using 2/3 of the total work time available on treatment is acceptable. The great discrepancy between real and ideal use of physician time makes it important to further examine how to acknowledge dialogue as a psychiatric tool.