A first-of-its-kind trial of an innovative group approach to anxiety and depression has been shown to be as effective as the one-on-one sessions thousands of people receive daily on the NHS.
The trial compared a ‘take control course’ of up to 20 people devised by researchers at the University of Manchester to standard talking therapy. Both were conducted in 6 sessions per week.
This study is published in the Journal of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.
Based on Perceptual Control Theory, this course follows a precise program that teaches participants about the importance of control in their lives.
They learn how to use their strengths to face long-standing fears and anxieties, and to see the bigger picture and long-term goals.
Participants are not required to discuss their mental health, but are welcome to do so if they wish.
Conducted by a team led by the University of Manchester, the randomized controlled trial enrolled 156 people from the NHS’s Improved Access to Psychotherapy (IAPT) service.
They were offered either a take control course or one of six established one-on-one sessions offered by the IAPT.
Participants were primarily referred by primary care physicians and recruited from a low-intensity IAPT service, Salford Six Degrees Social Enterprise.
After six months of follow-up, there was no evidence of a difference in mental health outcomes between the two interventions. There was not.
Measures used by researchers included the Patient Health Questionnaire Depression Scale, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire, and other psychological tools.
This course has been offered by Six Degrees and adapted for use in high schools at Manchester Healthy School over the past eight years, but this is the first time it has been evaluated by a randomized trial. It is also distributed online.