Background: Previous studies have reported similar recovery and improvement rates regardless of treatment duration among patients receiving National Health Service (NHS) primary care mental health psychological therapy.
Aims: To investigate whether this pattern would replicate and extend to other service sectors, including secondary care, university counselling, voluntary sector and workplace counselling.
Method: We compared treatment duration with degree of improvement measured by the Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation - Outcome Measure (CORE-OM) for 26 430 adult patients who scored above the clinical cut-off point at the start of treatment, attended 40 or fewer sessions and had planned endings.
Results: Mean CORE-OM scores improved substantially (pre-post effect size 1.89); 60% of patients achieved reliable and clinically significant improvement (RCSI). Rates of RCSI and reliable improvement and mean pre- and post-treatment changes were similar at all tested treatment durations. Patients seen in different service sectors showed modest variations around this pattern.
Conclusions: Results were consistent with the responsive regulation model, which suggests that in routine care participants tend to end therapy when gains reach a good-enough level.
© The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2015.