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Br J Gen Pract. 2003 Oct;53(495):764-70.

PHASE: a randomised, controlled trial of supervised self-help cognitive behavioural therapy in primary care.

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Leeds North West Primary Care Trust, Leeds.



Common mental health problems account for up to 40% of all general practitioner (GP) consultations. Patients have limited access to evidence-based psychological therapies. Cognitive behavioural therapy self-help strategies offer one potential solution.


To determine differences in clinical outcome, patient satisfaction and costs, between a cognitive behavioural-based self-help package facilitated by practice nurses compared to ordinary care by GPs for mild to moderate anxiety and depression.


Randomised controlled trial.


Seventeen primary healthcare teams.


Patients presenting to their GP with mild to moderate anxiety and/or depression were recruited to the study and randomised to receive either a self-help intervention facilitated by practice nurses or ordinary care. The self-help intervention consisted of up to three appointments: two 1 week apart and a third 3 months later. There were no restrictions on ordinary care.


Intention-to-treat analysis showed that patients treated with practice nurse-supported cognitive behavioural therapy self-help attained similar clinical outcomes for similar costs and were more satisfied than patients treated by GPs with ordinary care. On-treatment analysis showed patients receiving the facilitated cognitive behavioural therapy self-help were more likely to be below clinical threshold at 1 month compared to the ordinary care group (odds ratio [OR] = 3.65, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.87 to 4.37). This difference was less well marked at 3 months (OR = 1.36, 95% CI = 0.52 to 3.56).


Facilitated cognitive behavioural self-help may provide a short-term cost-effective clinical benefit for patients with mild to moderate anxiety and depression. This has the potential to help primary care provide a choice of effective psychological as well as pharmacological treatments for mental health problems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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