Recent evaluations have questioned the early claims that psychologists make a valuable clinical contribution in general practice. In particular, it has been suggested that the promising outcomes have been the result of a 'worst year' phenomenon and that psychologists only slightly accelerate clinical improvement. This paper describes a small but relatively comprehensive evaluation of the work of a clinical psychologist. Analyses of economic and clinical data on 22 patients referred by the general practitioner indicated that the psychologist made a distinctive clinical contribution by improving personal coping strategies and reducing distress among patients with more chronic problems who did not show any such changes during a waiting list period. It is concluded that the recent negative evaluations of the clinical psychologist in general practice may have been misleading and premature.