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Response to the Scottish Executive Consultation on Widening and Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies.

A proposed intervention - Executive Summary

  • Person-centred/experiential (PC/E) counselling and psychotherapy is a family of psychological therapies that can help clients develop moresatisfying and fulfilling lives through the provision of an empathic, nonjudgmental and empowering therapeutic relationship.
  • Person-centred/experiential therapy enables clients to take responsibility for their psychological wellbeing and development, and is closely aligned to a patient centred healthcare agenda.
  • Person-centred/experiential practice is an empirically-supported approach to therapy which is demonstrably effective for a range ofpsychological difficulties, including depression and mixed anxiety and depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder andadjustment to life events.
  • Meta-analyses indicate that person-centred/experiential therapy is equivalent in overall effectiveness to other therapeutic approaches, including CBT.
  • Person-centred counselling is most obviously appropriate for delivery atTiers 2 and 3, with some current and potentially efficacious application at Tier 4. More focused PC/E interventions are particularly suited to Tiers 3 and 4 and the use of person-centred counselling skills suited for widespread delivery at Tier 1.
  • Person-centred counselling is well established both in the NHS and across a variety of settings in Scotland. Over the past 11 years, more than 25,000 patients have made use of this service in Lanarkshire alone.
  • A large and skilled workforce of PC/E practitioners exists in Scotland, with over a thousand graduates of Scottish person-centred diploma courses in the past decade.
  • Professional standards for counselling require all PC/E therapists to have regular clinical supervision and to demonstrate a commitment to continuing professional development and ethical practice.
  • Person-centred/experiential therapies can make a significant and valuable contribution to the diversity and effectiveness of mental healthcare provision in Scotland.

Mick Cooper, Professor of Counselling, University of Strathclyde, John McLeod, Professor of Counselling, University of Abertay, Robert Elliott, Professor of Counselling, University of Strathclyde, Dave Mearns, Professor of Counselling, University of Strathclyde, Jo Hilton, Secretary, Person-Centred Therapy, Scotland, Susan McGinnis, Co-ordinator, Counselling in Schools Project, Glasgow, Susan Cornforth, Counsellor in private practice, Kevin McGeever, Director, Lanarkshire Therapeutic Counselling Service, Tracey Sanders, Lecturer in Counselling, University of Strathclyde, Lorna Carrick, Lecturer in Counselling, University of Strathclyde, Mike Hough, Senior Lecturer in Counselling, University of Strathclyde, Ewan Gillon, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Glasgow Caledonian University

The full document is available in PDF format and on the University of Strathclyde's Counselling Unit Website. The executive summary is reproduced with the permission of the authors.