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First contact session outcomes in primary care psychological therapy and counselling services

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Evidence in the literature suggests that some groups have greater difficulty accessing psychological treatment than others. The present study set out to provide benchmarks from the CORE National Research Database, focussing on four primary outcomes following a client's first contact session – (1) accepted for therapy, (2) assessment only, (3) referred to another service, (4) unsuitable for therapy. Data from 34 primary care counselling services were collected which had used CORE-PC as a service resource for at least two years. For each of the four assessment outcomes, the mean, standard deviation and 25th, 50th and 75th percentiles were calculated. Across the 34 services, an average of 81% clients were accepted for therapy with 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile values of 74, 82 and 89% respectively. The results indicate that working with benchmarks is an area in need of further research. Implications for policy and practice are discussed and attention given to the client's experience of seeking therapy.
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Keywords: First contact session outcomes; counselling; primary care; service quality management

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Psychological Therapies Research Centre, University of Leeds 2: University of Manchester, UK

Publication date: 01 March 2006

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