CBT based counselling significantly reduces their uptake of primary and secondary care services in patients with chronic medical conditions

A study that was published in 2005. [1]

Frequent attenders and patients with diabetes, hypertension and asthma were invited to take part in the study and received eight 90-minute small-group counselling sessions, conducted by trained counsellors. The counselling followed a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) approach, with the aim of developing personal responsibility.

Psychological outcomes were assessed immediately following counselling and at six months post-intervention. Health service uptake was assessed for each group over the twelve months post-intervention, using number of GP consultations, home visits, hospital referrals and test/investigations requested. These data were compared with those for comparable control groups for each condition. The results suggested that all patient groups showed a significant improvement in psychological well-being and that these gains were maintained over the six-month of the study period. The intervention groups also significantly reduced their uptake of primary and secondary care services.

The authors suggest that the psychological and fiscal benefits of counselling provision within a primary care setting can extend to other patient categories.

1          Spurgeon P, Hicks C, Barwell F, et al. Counselling in primary care: A study of the psychological impact and cost benefits for four chronic conditions. Eur J Psychother Couns 2005;7:269–90. doi:10.1080/13642530500367753