A clinical psychologist in GP-Land: an evaluation of brief psychological interventions in primary care

N Z Med J. 2014 Mar 28;127(1391):62-73.


Aim: To evaluate the clinical outcomes and other impacts of brief therapy provided in a primary care setting by a clinical psychologist who was mainly employed in secondary mental health.

Method: The outcomes of 23 primary care patients referred to a clinical psychologist were evaluated using the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), the World Health Organisation Quality of Life (WHOQoL) scale, and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). A mixture of quantitative and qualitative data from patients and staff were analysed to identify other impacts of the intervention.

Results: Large improvements in BDI, GHQ, and WHOQOL scores were found, with strong changes consistent with the targets of the intervention. Patients reported primary-based clinical psychology input was more convenient and many engaged who had resisted referral to secondary mental health services. Other benefits to the service, including improved primary-secondary service integration, improved primary management of mental health difficulties, and improved liaison with mental health specialists, were reported by primary health staff.

Conclusion: Brief psychological interventions by a visiting clinical psychologist in a general practice setting had substantial benefits for the patients and for the practice. This project indicates the value of integrated psychological input consistent with recent moves to better primary-secondary integration in mental health care.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • General Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Psychology, Clinical*
  • Psychotherapy, Brief*
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult