Development of a Randomised Controlled Trial of Counselling for Depression

Mick Cooper

Research output: Working paper

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Many members of the UK counselling community feel that their profession and
practice is under threat, particularly within NHS settings. This can be attributed,
primarily, to the near-complete absence of recommendations for counselling in
clinical guidelines, as a consequence of the relative lack of randomised controlled
trial (RCT) evidence in support of this therapy. Expert opinion suggests that this
need for RCT evidence is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
In recent years, BACP has led the development of Counselling for Depression
(CfD), a systematic, person-centred experiential treatment for depression, based on evidenced humanistic competences. The development of this intervention and its roll out into some Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services gives the counselling community one of its best opportunities, yet, to develop a body of RCT evidence in support of counselling. Expert opinion leans towards two specific strategies for trialling CfD: first, a relatively short-term comparison of CfD against waiting list in IAPT settings; second, a more extended trial comparing the effectiveness of CfD against CBT. It is recommended that BACP set up a CfD RCT Task Force to take forward these projects, possibly through the development of pilot trials; and to look at ways of developing a more RCT-friendly culture within the counselling community.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLutterworth
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2011


  • counselling
  • clinical guidelines
  • threat
  • Counselling for Depression
  • CfD
  • randomised controlled trial
  • evidence
  • RCT
  • pilot
  • project


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