As counsellors we naturally and firmly believe that psychological interventions are a powerful and effective way to treat emotional distress. In reality we know that when emotions become too difficult to cope with, the majority of our clients will initially see their GP for crisis assistance, which will often lead to immediate pharmaceutical prescription.
A major study published this week by the National institute for Health Research - Oxford, considered the effectiveness of antidepressants, comparing results from 522 trials made up of 116,477 participants. Their findings were that the 21 commonly used antidepressants considered were more effective than a placebo for the short-term treatment of moderate to severe depression.
So, if the result is that ‘antidepressants work’, how can we promote counselling as an alternative?
Some hope may be found in the wider observations of this report, which highlight that:
‘inadequate resources mean that antidepressants are more widely used than psychological interventions’
‘antidepressants can be an effective tool to treat major depression, but this does not necessarily mean that antidepressants should always be the first line of treatment.’
As a profession we want to promote that talking therapy can be a powerful tool. Whilst we may be frustrated with financial restraints and current societal or medical thinking around pharmaceuticals, what we can do is now is highlight the work we can do work alongside.
In the societies FAQ we offer potential clients this understanding, that registrants’ aim to work alongside their Doctor or psychiatrist.
In the end we want to help and are willing to be part of a collaborative approach to clients' well being.