Developments in behavioural group therapy over the past decade are described, with particular reference to a change in focus from administering individual treatment techniques to teaching coping skills for the management of anxiety. In spite of this growing interest there has been little empirical research reported. The current study was an attempt to develop a coping skills package and to evaluate it against the more traditional approach of group relaxation training. Three experiments were conducted, comprising a total of seven groups and they were run in either an N.H.S. psychiatric hospital outpatient setting or in General Practice.
Results were equivocal, both experimental and control groups showed treatment gains. These were superior in the coping skills group on one measure. Reasons for these findings are discussed in the light of the curriculum and the experimental design. And ways of making the coping skills package more potent are suggested.