In 2017, we started a project to make therapy more effective. We call it pre-counselling.

Anxiety presents a number of barriers to treatment. Sufferers often find it more difficult to accomplish everyday tasks. Anxiety makes you look on the negative side of things, which makes you feel like therapy won’t work. Going through therapy creates more anxiety, which then makes you more resistant to completing it.

We want to reduce these barriers and we think our model of peer-led engagement can help.

In-person vs home study

In June 2018, we conducted our first trial, comparing a peer-led in-person introduction to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to the home study workbooks currently provided by Leeds IAPT.

Results indicate that the peer-led model can be efficacious. We saw a statistically meaningful improvement in people’s attitudes towards therapy.

However, both the home-study workbooks and the in-person therapy struggle from the same problem as the therapy itself: that people struggle to engage with them in the first place. Therefore, our next step is to look at how we can increase participation.

You can download the research paper here.