Patient satisfaction with psychiatric treatment can strongly influence pursuit and use of mental health services as well as treatment compliance and treatment outcome. Although assessment of patient satisfaction is crucial to designing effective mental health programs, no standard methodology exists to measure satisfaction; thus it is difficult to compare findings from different satisfaction studies. The author examines the studies in four areas of satisfaction research: patient satisfaction with treatment, with participation in research, with participation as subjects in psychiatric teaching, and with involuntary commitment. He notes the variance between mental health professionals' expectations of patient satisfaction and the higher satisfaction that patients themselves report. He also discusses the need for more study of the subjective experience of patients who participate in research projects, teaching conferences, and observed psychotherapy and who undergo involuntary commitment.