The evidence

The major British review of counselling research1 published by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy concludes clearly that, ”There are a number of things about the practice of counselling and psychotherapy that we can say with some confidence”. Here are some significant quotes from this review:

“Counselling and psychotherapy helps: in general, people who have therapy end up less distressed than those who do not.”

“For many forms of psychological distress, therapy is as effective as medication, and possibly more so in the long term.”

“Clients’ levels of involvement in therapy and their capacity to make use of the therapeutic relationship are among the strongest predictors of outcomes.”

“Therapists’ ways of relating to their clients are more important to the outcomes of therapy than their personal, demographic or professional characteristics.”

A significant review2 of counselling research, published by the American Psychological Association (involving the Divisions of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy jointly), suggests crucially, that in therapy:

“…the goal is for an empathic therapist to arrange for an optimal relationship collaboratively with an active client on the basis of the client’s personality, culture, and preferences.” 

These are hugely significant conclusions and give us the best evidence-based information available, to help us decide for ourselves if counselling is worth trying.

If you would like to

1Cooper, M. (2008). Essential Research Findings in Counselling and Psychotherapy: the facts are friendly (p.156). BACP. Sage.

2Norcross, J.C. (ed.). (2011). Psychotherapy Relationships That Work: Evidence-Based Responsiveness (2nd ed.) (p.10). Oxford University Press.