Counselling as effective as CBT for ‘depression’: Research evidence

Thank you, Carol Wolter-Gustafson, Jo Hilton and The Society for Humanistic Psychology, Division 32’s Facebook page for this link. Click on the title to go to Carol’s post. Or here is the direct link to Mick Cooper’s post (which itself gives various useful further links):-

http://www.thementalelf.net/mental-health-conditions/depression/counselling-is-as-effective-as-cbt-for-depression-according-to-a-reanalysis-of-rct-data/#

We have referred to the King study previously on this blog, and are aware of the work being done by Mick and others in research – as Carol rightly puts it, ‘a new validation’ for what Carl Rogers knew over half a century ago, and what we at this service also know well from our daily experience working with clients.

The evidence – King and beyond – indicates it is above all the quality of the human relationship between therapist and client that determines how effective therapy is, NOT the therapeutic model. There are some therapists working within the NHS who offer a very high quality of relationship, of course.

However, our clients often come to us effectively as refugees from the psychiatric system and/or CBT as practised by the NHS, bringing accounts of experiences they have found at best unhelpful and at worst profoundly disempowering and even abusive. We think this will inevitably be the case, within a model characterized by external locus cultural values on expertise, ‘professionalism’ and detachment, rather than on the client’s internal locus, and on relationship.

The reality, we think, is that there is a substantial political/cultural investment in the medical model’s diminishing/undermining of non-directive therapy (having opted for the CBT route before the King study was published). The person-centred approach challenges existing social models at their core – be that education, social care, the medical model, the justice system, the political system. Anyone who has studied political theory will readily appreciate that this is not likely to lead to establishment endorsement.

Palace Gate Counselling Service

Here’s a brief biography on Mick:-

Mick Cooper is a Professor of Counselling at the University of Strathclyde and Clinical Lead for the Counselling MindEd programme. Mick is a HPC-registered counselling psychologist, working mainly with young adults. He has led on a range of research studies into school-based counselling in the UK; and has written extensively on research findings and their implications for therapeutic practice: authoring Essential Research Findings in Counselling and Psychotherapy: The Facts are Friendly (Sage, 2008). Mick is also author and editor of a wide range of texts on person-centred, existential, and relational approaches to therapy, including Existential Therapies (Sage, 2003), Working at Relational Depth in Counselling and Psychotherapy (Sage, 2005, with Dave Mearns) and Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy (Sage, 2011, with John McLeod).

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