Patient preference as a predictor of outcomes in a pilot trial of person-centred counselling versus low-intensity cognitive behavioural therapy for persistent sub-threshold and mild depression

Mick Cooper, Claudia-Martina Messow, Alex McConnachie, Elizabeth Freire, Robert Elliott, Deborah Heard, Christopher Williams, Jill Morrison

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The aim of this analysis was to explore whether pre-treatment intervention preferences were related to outcomes for patients with persistent sub-threshold and mild depression who received one of two treatment types. Thirty-six patients took part in a two-arm, parallel group, pilot randomized controlled trial that compared short term (3 month and 6 month) outcomes of person-centred counselling (PCC) compared with low-intensity, CBT-based guided self-help (LICBT). Patient preferences for the two interventions were assessed at baseline assessment, and analysed as two independent linear variables (pro-PCC, pro-LICBT). Eight out of 30 interactions between baseline treatment preferences and treatment type were found to be significant at the p < .05 level. All were in the predicted direction, with patients who showed a stronger preference for a treatment achieving better outcomes in that treatment compared with the alternative. However, pro-LICBT was a stronger predictor of outcomes than pro-PCC. The findings provide preliminary support that treatment preferences should be taken into account when providing interventions for patients with persistent sub-threshold and mild depression. It is recommended that further research analyses preferences for different treatment types as independent variables, and examines preferences for format of treatment (e.g. guided self-help vs. face-to-face).
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalCounselling Psychology Quarterly
Issue number4
Early online date26 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2018


  • aptitude-treatment interaction research
  • cognitive behaviour therapy
  • depression
  • experiential/existential/hupanistic Psychotherapy
  • treatment preferences
  • guided self-help

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