Aldgate, United Kingdom (PressExposure) May 30, 2009 -- Donald Kirkpatrick is a psychoanalyst and clinical manager at LACAP.
"The recognition and treatment of anxiety & depression, and knowing when to refer to psychotherapy or counselling is a challenging area of clinical practice, especially in primary care where there are many patients with various presentations and a multitude of causes for distress. Then there are, despite the evidence showing patient preference for psychotherapy & counselling above treatment by medication, the twin problems of counselling & psychotherapy service availability in London, and the barriers both to referring over and to entering psychotherapy and counselling treatments."
The advice refers to the current NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) guidelines for the uses of psychotherapy and counselling interventions in the treatment of anxiety and depression.
Please see the webpage: http://www.london-counselling-psychotherapy.co.uk/Referee.Information.htm
Phil Rickwood is part of the editorial team. He commented:
"I am currently concerned about the effect of the proposed alterations to the NICE guidelines for the psychological treatment of depression, and I will be publishing my research and views soon. It looks like the sustained government assault against counselling & psychotherapy in the UK marches on. But LACAP's advice published today remains pertinent and accurate"
"LACAP is concerned to address a significant problem. When you look at the research, then if you are depressed and living in London, and have gone to see your GP, you would have told him that you would prefer psychotherapy over antidepressant medications. However, when the GP does recommend a psychotherapy, only 20% will ever follow that up. Then, of these, half drop out of counselling treatment."
Donald Kirkpatrick commented on research undertaken about how GP's refer onto psychotherapy and counselling, and points to one significant factor that might explain this result:
"Surprisingly, only a minority of patients are given meaningful assistance with making psychotherapy or counselling appointments. Most patients are just told to call a London counselling & psychotherapy service."
LACAP's advice refers to research about factors on the patient's side, but also the GP's side that act as barriers when taking up psychological services. The advice suggests ways in which GP's can alter their current referral practice in ways that can significantly increase both the uptake and sustained usage of psychological services following referral. The article also outlines how GP's can consider when there are indications for counselling & psychotherapy, and how GP's may remain involved in the case to assist in their evaluation of the effectiveness of psychological interventions.
In addition to this advice, LACAP takes great care to publish full details of the psychotherapy services available, their accessibility, and the affordability of treatments (counselling fees).
More information ans articles can be found here: http://www.london-counselling-psychotherapy.co.uk/Our.Blog.htm
Phil Rickwood again.
"It is quite possible to see that even a small change in psychological referral practices can lead to effective treatments, might stop a significant waste of resources, and prevent suffering."