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Despite the importance of assessing the quality with which low-intensity (LI) group psychoeducational interventions are delivered, no measure of treatment integrity (TI) has been developed.
To develop a psychometrically robust TI measure for LI psychoeducational group interventions.
This study had two phases. Firstly, the group psychoeducation treatment integrity measure-expert rater (GPTIM-ER) and a detailed scoring manual were developed. This was piloted by n=5 expert raters rating the same LI group session; n=6 expert raters then assessed content validity. Secondly, 10 group psychoeducational sessions drawn from routine practice were then rated by n=8 expert raters using the GPTIM-ER; n=9 patients also rated the quality of the group sessions using a sister version (i.e. GPTIM-P) and clinical and service outcome data were drawn from the LI groups assessed.
The GPTIM-ER had excellent internal reliability, good test–retest reliability, but poor inter-rater reliability. The GPTIM-ER had excellent content validity, construct validity, formed a single factor scale and had reasonable predictive validity.
The GPTIM-ER has promising, but not complete, psychometric properties. The low inter-rater reliability scores between expert raters are the main ongoing concern and so further development and testing is required in future well-constructed studies.
There is some initial evidence that attachment security priming may be useful for promoting engagement in therapy and improving clinical outcomes.
This study sought to assess whether outcomes for behavioural activation delivered in routine care could be enhanced via the addition of attachment security priming.
This was a pragmatic two-arm feasibility and pilot additive randomised control trial. Participants were recruited with depression deemed suitable for a behavioural activation intervention at Step 2 of a Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression service. Ten psychological wellbeing practitioners were trained in implementing attachment security priming. Study participants were randomised to either behavioural activation (BA) or BA plus an attachment prime. The diagrammatic prime was integrated into the depression workbook. Feasibility outcomes were training satisfaction, recruitment, willingness to participate and study attrition rates. Pilot outcomes were comparisons of clinical outcomes, attendance, drop-out and stepping-up rates.
All practitioners recruited to the study, and training satisfaction was high. Of the 39 patients that were assessed for eligibility, 24 were randomised (61.53%) and there were no study drop-outs. No significant differences were found between the arms with regards to drop-out, attendance, stepping-up or clinical outcomes.
Further controlled research regarding the utility of attachment security priming is warranted in larger studies that utilise manipulation checks and monitor intervention adherence.
Some patients return for further psychological treatment in routine services, although it is unclear how common this is, as scarce research is available on this topic.
To estimate the treatment return rate and describe the clinical characteristics of patients who return for anxiety and depression treatment.
A large dataset (N=21,029) of routinely collected clinical data (2010–2015) from an English psychological therapy service was analysed using descriptive statistics.
The return rate for at least one additional treatment episode within 1–5 years was 13.7%. Furthermore, 14.5% of the total sessions provided by the service were delivered to treatment-returning patients. Of those who returned, 58.0% continued to show clinically significant depression and/or anxiety symptoms at the end of their first treatment, while 32.0% had experienced a demonstrable relapse before their second treatment.
This study estimates that approximately one in seven patients return to the same service for additional psychological treatment within 1–5 years. Multiple factors may influence the need for additional treatment, and this may have a major impact on service activity. Future research needs to further explore and better determine the characteristics of treatment returners, prioritise enhancement of first treatment recovery, and evaluate relapse prevention interventions.
Despite the use of case formulation being encouraged for in-patient psychiatric care, there have been no previous examples and evaluations of this type of work on a psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU).
To evaluate whether a schema-informed formulation with a patient diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and mild learning difficulties was effective in reducing the use of restrictive interventions.
A biphasic n = 1 quasi-experimental design with an 8-week baseline versus an 8-week intervention phase. The restrictive outcomes measured were use of physical restraint, seclusion, and intramuscular rapid tranquilisation. The formulation was developed through eight one-to-one sessions during the baseline period, and was implemented via six one-to-one sessions during the intervention phase and discussion at the ward reflective practice group. The intervention encouraged better communication of schema modes from the patient and for staff to then respond with bespoke mode support.
Incidents involving need for seclusion, restraint and rapid tranquilisation extinguished.
The need for making access to psychological input a routine aspect of the care in PICUs and the necessity for developing a methodologically more robust evidence base for psychological interventions on these wards.
Guided self-help (GSH) for anxiety is widely implemented in primary care services because of service efficiency gains, but there is also evidence of poor acceptability, low effectiveness and relapse.
The aim was to compare preferences for, acceptability and efficacy of cognitive–behavioural guided self-help (CBT-GSH) versus cognitive–analytic guided self-help (CAT-GSH).
This was a pragmatic, randomised, patient preference trial (Clinical trials identifier: NCT03730532). The Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) was the primary outcome at 8- and 24-week follow-up. Interventions were delivered competently on the telephone via structured workbooks over 6–8 (30–35 min) sessions by trained practitioners.
A total of 271 eligible participants were included, of whom 19 (7%) accepted being randomised and 252 (93%) chose their treatment. In the preference cohort, 181 (72%) chose CAT-GSH and 71 (28%) preferred CBT-GSH. BAI outcomes in the preference and randomised cohorts did not differ at 8 weeks (−0.80, 95% confidence interval (CI) −4.52 to 2.92) or 24 weeks (0.85, 95% CI −2.87 to 4.57). After controlling for allocation method and baseline covariates, there were no differences between CAT-GSH and CBT-GSH at 8 weeks (F(1, 263) = 0.22, P = 0.639) or at 24 weeks (F(1, 263) = 0.22, P = 0.639). Mean BAI change from baseline was a reduction of 9.28 for CAT-GSH and 9.78 for CBT-GSH at 8 weeks and 12.90 for CAT-GSH and 12.43 for CBT-GSH at 24 weeks.
Patients accessing routine primary care talking treatments prefer to choose the intervention they receive. CAT-GSH expands the treatment offer in primary care for patients with anxiety seeking a brief but analytically informed GSH solution.
The manner in which heuristics and biases influence clinical decision-making has not been fully investigated and the methods previously used have been rudimentary.
Two studies were conducted to design and test a trial-based methodology to assess the influence of heuristics and biases; specifically, with a focus on how practitioners make decisions about suitability for therapy, treatment fidelity and treatment continuation in psychological services.
Study 1 (N=12) used a qualitative design to develop two clinical vignette-based tasks that had the aim of triggering heuristics and biases during clinical decision making. Study 2 (N=133) then used a randomized crossover experimental design and involved psychological wellbeing practitioners (PWPs) working in the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme in England. Vignettes evoked heuristics (anchoring and halo effects) and biased responses away from normative decisions. Participants completed validated measures of decision-making style. The two decision-making tasks from the vignettes yielded a clinical decision score (CDS; higher scores being more consistent with normative/unbiased decisions).
Experimental manipulations used to evoke heuristics did not significantly bias CDS. Decision-making style was not consistently associated with CDS. Clinical decisions were generally normative, although with some variability.
Clinical decision-making can be ‘noisy’ (i.e. variable across practitioners and occasions), but there was little evidence that this variability was systematically influenced by anchoring and halo effects in a stepped-care context.
An Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service in England has implemented cognitive analytic therapy guided self-help (CAT-GSH) alongside cognitive behavioural guided self-help (CBT-GSH) in order to support enhanced patient choice. This study sought to explore the acceptability to psychological wellbeing practitioners (PWPs) of delivering CAT-GSH.
This study used a qualitative design with semi-structured interviews and associated thematic analysis (TA). A sample of n=12 PWPs experienced in delivering CAT-GSH were interviewed.
Five over-arching themes (containing 12 subthemes) were identified and conceptually mapped: (a) the past-present focus (made up of working with clients’ pasts and the different type of change work), (b) expanding the treatment offer (from the perspective of PWPs and clients), (c) the time and resources required to effectively deliver CAT-GSH (to enable safe and effective delivery for clients and personal/professional development for PWPs), (d) understanding CAT-GSH (made up of confidence, learning new therapeutic language/concepts and appreciating the difference with CBT-GSH) and (e) joint exploration (made up of therapeutic/supervisory relationships and enhanced collaboration).
CAT-GSH appears an acceptable (but challenging) approach for PWPs to deliver in IAPT services. Services should prioritise training and supervision for PWPs to ensure good governance of delivery.
The unified protocol (UP) is indicated when patients present with co-morbidity, but no studies have previously investigated the effectiveness of the UP with co-morbid health anxiety and depression.
An A/B single case design evaluated outcomes for a 27-year-old male presenting with health anxiety and co-morbid depression. Following a 21-day assessment-baseline period containing three sessions, the manualised UP was delivered across a 42-day period containing seven intervention sessions. Four idiographic measures (occurrence and duration of health checking, sleep duration and food intake satisfaction) were collected daily throughout, and two nomothetic measures were collected at four time points.
All sessions were attended. Number of health checking episodes reduced from four per day to two per day. A 59 minute per day reduction in time spent health checking occurred, and sleep increased by 100 minutes per night. There was little apparent change in terms of food intake satisfaction. There was a reliable and clinically significant reduction in depression.
Further testing of the effectiveness of the UP with co-morbid health anxiety and depression in true single case experimental designs is now indicated.
Whilst the delivery of low-intensity group psychoeducation is a key feature of the early steps of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, there is little consensus regarding the skills and competencies demanded.
To identify the competencies involved in facilitating CBT-based group psychoeducation in order to inform future measure development.
A Delphi study in which participants (n = 36) were relevant IAPT stakeholders and then an expert panel (n = 8) review of the competencies identified within the Delphi study to create a shortened, more practical list of competencies.
After three consultation rounds, consensus was reached on 36 competencies. These competencies were assigned to four main categories: group set-up, content, process and closure. A further expert review produced a shortened 16-item set of psychoeducation group facilitation competencies.
The current study has produced a promising framework for assessing facilitator competency in delivering CBT-based group psychoeducational interventions. Weaknesses in the Delphi approach are noted and directions for future measure development research are identified.
Outcome studies of the treatment of compulsive buying disorder (CBD) have rarely compared the effectiveness of differing active treatments.
This study sought to compare the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and person-centred experiential therapy (PCE) in a cross-over design.
This was an ABC single case experimental design with extended follow-up with a female patient meeting diagnostic criteria for CBD. Ideographic CBD outcomes were intensively measured over a continuous 350-day time series. Following a 1-month baseline assessment phase (A; 28 days; three sessions), CBT was delivered via 13 out-patient sessions (B: 160 days) and then PCE was delivered via six out-patient sessions (C: 63 days). There was a 99-day follow-up period.
Frequency and duration of compulsive buying episodes decreased during active treatment. CBT and PCE were both highly effective compared with baseline for reducing shopping obsessions, excitement about shopping, compulsion to shop and improving self-esteem. When the PCE and CBT treatment phases were compared against each other, few differences were apparent in terms of outcome. There was no evidence of any relapse over the follow-up period. A reliable and clinically significant change on the primary nomothetic measure (i.e. Compulsive Buying Scale) was retained over time.
The study suggests that both CBT and PCE can be effective for CBD. Methodological limitations and suggestions for future CBD outcome research are discussed.
To outline the methods of a pragmatic patient preference trial in the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme comparing cognitive behavioural therapy guided self-help (CBT-GSH) with cognitive analytic therapy guided self-help (CAT-GSH).
A partially randomised patient preference trial (PRPPT) methodology. Participants will be assessed with the MINI to ascertain a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. Treatment will be six to eight 35-minute sessions in each arm. The primary outcome measure is the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), with secondary outcome measures of the IAPT minimum dataset and indices of service utilisation. Participants will be followed up at 8 and 24 weeks.
Choice, treatment completion, drop-out and step-up rates will be summarised via a CONSORT diagram. If there are no differences between randomised and preference participants within each form of GSH, then these groups will be collapsed to form a two-arm trial. The primary analysis will compare between-arm standardised effect sizes on the BAI measure, using Cohen’s d+ at 8- and 24-week follow-up. The proportions in each arm achieving reliable and clinical change on the BAI will be established, with interviews exploring the change process with participants achieving a reliable pre–post change on the GAD-7.
The utility of patient preference trials in mental health services are discussed and the necessary further development of robust evidence concerning low-intensity interventions is highlighted.
The cognitions and emotions of people prone to hoarding are key components of the dominant cognitive behavioural model of hoarding disorder.
This study sought to use Q-methodology to explore the thoughts and feelings of people that are prone to hoarding, to identify whether distinct clusters of participants could be found.
A 49-statement Q-set was generated following thematic analysis of initial interviews (n = 2) and a review of relevant measures and literature. Forty-one participants with problematic hoarding met various study inclusion criteria and completed the Q-sort (either online or offline). A by-person factor analysis was conducted and subsequent participant clusters compared on psychometric measures of mood, anxiety, hoarding and time taken on the online task as proxy for impulsivity.
Four distinct participant clusters were found constituting 34/41 (82.92%) of the participants, as the Q-sorts of n = 7 participants failed to cluster. The four clusters found were ‘overwhelmed’ (n = 11 participants); ‘aware of consequences’ (n = 13 participants); ‘object complexity’ (n = 6 participants) and ‘object–affect fusion’ (n = 4 participants). The clusters did not markedly differ with regard to hoarding severity, anxiety, depression or impulsivity.
Whilst the participant clusters reflect extant research evidence, they also reveal significant heterogeneity and so prompt the need for further research investigating emotional and cognitive differences between people prone to hoarding.
Group psychotherapy for older adults with generalised anxiety disorder is an under-researched area.
This report describes a mixed method evaluation of the acceptability and feasibility of an Overcoming Worry Group.
The Overcoming Worry Group was a novel adaptation of a cognitive behavioural therapy protocol targeting intolerance-of-uncertainty for generalised anxiety disorder, tailored for delivery to older adults in a group setting (n = 13).
The adapted protocol was found to be acceptable and feasible, and treatment outcomes observed were encouraging.
This proof-of-concept study provides evidence for an Overcoming Worry Group as an acceptable and feasible group treatment for older adults with generalised anxiety disorder.
Background: Mediation studies test the mechanisms by which interventions produce clinical outcomes. Consistent positive mediation results have previously been evidenced (Hayes et al., 2006) for the putative processes that compromise the psychological flexibility model of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Aims: The present review aimed to update and extend the ACT mediation evidence base by reviewing mediation studies published since the review of Hayes et al. (2006). Method: ACT mediation studies published between 2006 and 2015 were systematically collated, synthesized and quality assessed. Results: Twelve studies met inclusion criteria and findings were synthesized by (a) the putative processes under investigation, and (b) the outcomes on which processes were tested for mediation. Mediation results were found to be generally consistent with the psychological flexibility model of ACT. However, studies were limited in methodological quality and were overly focused on a small number of putative processes. Conclusions: Further research is required that addresses the identified methodological limitations and also examines currently under-researched putative processes.
Background: There is a lack of treatment plurality at step 2 of Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. This project therefore sought to develop and pilot a cognitive analytic informed guided self-help treatment for mild-to-moderate anxiety for delivery by Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs). Method: Medical Research Council treatment development guidelines were used. Phase I included development of the six-session treatment manual using practice guidelines, small-scale modelling (n = 3) and indicated manual iterations. Phase II consisted of a mixed methods case series design (n = 11) to index feasibility, uptake and clinical outcomes. Results: Cognitive analytic guided self-help (CAT-SH) met established quality parameters for guided self-help. A high treatment completion rate was observed, with 10/11 patients who attended the first treatment session subsequently completing full treatment. Six out of ten patients completing full treatment met reliable recovery criteria at follow-up. Effect sizes and recovery rates equate with extant PWP outcome benchmarks. Practitioner feedback indicated that delivery of CAT-SH was feasible. Conclusion: CAT-SH shows promise as a low-intensity treatment for anxiety, and so further, larger and more controlled evaluations are indicated.
Background: The evidence base for behavioural activation (BA) is mainly grounded in the individual delivery method, with much less known about the impact of group delivery. Aims: To conduct a pilot study of behavioural activation in groups (BAG) for depression delivered in a routine service setting, in order to explore acceptability, effectiveness and predictors of outcome. Methods: The manualized group treatment format was delivered in a Primary Care mental health setting, at step three of an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service. BAG was facilitated by cognitive behavioural psychotherapists, and outcome measures (depression, anxiety and functional impairment) were taken at each session. Seventy-three participants were referred and treated within nine groups. Results: BAG was an acceptable treatment generating a low drop-out rate (7%). Significant pre–post differences were found across all measures. There was a moderate to large depression effect size (d+ = 0.74), and 20% met the criteria for a reliable recovery in depression. Greater severity of initial depression and attendance of at least four BAG sessions predicted better outcomes. Conclusions: BAG appears to be an effective depression treatment option that shows some clinical promise. Further larger and more controlled studies are nevertheless required.
Background: There are national policy drivers for mental health services to demonstrate that they are effectively meeting the psychological needs of people with long-term health conditions/medically unexplained symptoms (LTC/MUS). Aims: To evaluate the implementation of a stepped-care service delivery model within an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service for patients with depression or anxiety in the context of their LTC/MUS. Method: A stepped-care model was designed and implemented. Clinical and organizational impacts were evaluated via analyses of LTC/MUS patient profiles, throughputs and outcomes. Results: The IAPT service treated N = 844 LTC and N = 172 MUS patients, with the majority (81.81%) receiving a low intensity intervention. Dropout across the service steps was low. There were few differences between LTC and MUS outcome rates regardless of step of service, but outcomes were suppressed when compared to generic IAPT patients. Conclusions: The potential contribution of IAPT stepped-care service delivery models in meeting the psychological needs of LTC/MUS patients is debated.
Background: “Stress Control” (SC) has been adopted as a core intervention in step 2 of Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services, but contemporary evidence of effectiveness has lagged behind service uptake. Aims: To investigate the acceptability and effectiveness of SC and to explore moderators of outcome. Method: Analysis of acceptability (via attendance rates) and effectiveness (via IAPT minimum dataset). Results: SC was well tolerated with 73.3% of all patients and 75.4% of “clinical cases” attending three or more sessions. Of the 546 “clinical cases” attending SC and not in receipt of other interventions, 37% moved to recovery. Attendance improved outcome; for those patients attending all SC sessions the recovery rate rose to 59.2%. Conclusion: SC appears a well-tolerated and effective intervention that enables large numbers to gain access to treatment in an organizationally efficient manner. Attendance is important in facilitating SC outcomes and research evaluating attendance interventions are needed.