Psychological therapies in health care settings
Cluster leader: Glenys Parry
Possible members: Tom Ricketts, Chris Woods, Dawn Bennett, Ian Kerr, Kim Dent-Brown and others to be established
Psychological therapies (e.g. cognitive behaviour therapy, therapeutic counselling, psychoanalytic therapy, group analytic therapy, family therapy) are widely practised in health care systems internationally. Their role in mainstream mental health care is increasingly recognised, on the basis of research evidence and service user preferences. However, a gulf continues between the science and the practice of psychological therapies. Health services research methods have only recently begun to be applied in this field. This group is ideally located within ScHARR to bring research on the process and outcomes of psychological treatments into a broader HSR and policy research framework.
Whether in the UK or internationally, service delivery in not in line with evidence-based guidelines but equally there are many gaps in the research evidence. For example, there is an urgent need for research to inform better treatment in a number of groups whom currently mental health services fail to help effectively. Research should test ways to deliver more cost-effective therapy. The clinical effectiveness of therapies as delivered is a neglected topic, to complement statistical estimates of efficacy in randomised trials. Service user experiences of psychological therapies, their views of how good outcomes should be defined and issues of informed choice of therapy are all areas of work which require attention. It is important to test the efficacy of treatments that do not yet have an RCT evidence base but yet are funded and widely practised in health care systems, both here and overseas. The processes by which results are achieved in different therapies require more investigation, so that empirically sound models on which to base training for competent delivery are available.
We are working in partnership with researchers in other University departments (notably in the clinical psychology unit of the Department of Psychology), in other Universities (e.g. Manchester, Leeds and UCL) and in close collaboration with NHS colleagues. We are in the early stages of developing a programme of work that will make a distinctive national and international contribution.
This is a new group and themes are still under development. At present these include:
- Effective therapy in complex mental health problems and personality disorder
- The effectiveness of psychological therapies in routine practice
- Development of measures
- Change processes in psychological treatments
- Research underpinning the development of good practice
- New methods to extend the availability of evidence-based therapy