DOES COUNSELLING WORK?

984 People Who've Done It, Told Us The Truth:

DoesCounsellingWork_1

Our original research from 984 people who've completed counselling, has a clear answer.

The primary question most folks have around counselling - or any mental health treatment is - does it work?

Will it work for me? Will it be effective for my anxiety/depression/anger/(insert your ailment here...)

We surveyed 984 clients who'd completed therapy in the last 5 years, to help us decide once and for all:

Does Counselling Work?

We designed our research to include what professionals consider the key tenets of a counselling relationship, as well as actually getting real-world results.

This is a detailed debriefing on what clients need, want, and expect.

Here's what we looked at: (click to expand)

DoesCounsellingWork

We wanted to find out about:

  • Buying Decisions - what key factors do clients look for, when "buying" counselling?
  • Key Tenets - Are therapists really fulfilling the key cornerstones of the therapeutic relationship, such as trust, confidentiality, collaboration, empathy, safety, etc?
  • Results - Our #1 objective for the study - Does counselling actually work? From the client's perspective? Does it make a real difference to people's everyday lives?
  • Client Satisfaction - What elements of the counselling experience are clients most (and least) satisfied with?
  • Problems - What really irks clients about the therapy experience? What areas of counselling show the same problems over and over and over...and what areas can counsellors improve upon the most?
  • Recommendations - Are clients satisfied enough with counselling, to recommend it to others?
  • Real-world feedback - How do clients describe their experience of counselling, in their own words?

See the complete set up of the research here, including audience, demographics, etc.

All the data we gathered is from the client's point-of-view.

This research lays out key insights for counsellors and mental health practitioners:

  • Clear results of what counselling clients are *really* looking for
  • Insights on how to satisfy *both* client expectations, AND the traditional tenets of the counselling relationship, at the same time.
  • Understanding what clients perceive the primary barriers to be, to achieving results from counselling.

So...let's dive in:

Part 1 - Buying Factors

Part1_BuyingFactors

First up, how do clients arrive at counselling in the first place?

We wanted to help counsellors understand more about the factors most important to clients, in their decision to proceed with, or "buy", counselling.

This will help counsellors:

  • Understand what to focus on to successfully reach more clients
  • Identify the key stumbling blocks preventing clients from accessing your service
  • Structure services to alleviate key objections clients have, to beginning therapy

It Was (Often Not) Easy To Find The Right Counsellor

Of all elements of the buying decision process, our audience told us that "finding the right counsellor" was the biggest problem they experienced.

WE ASKED:

"It was easy to find the right counsellor" - do you agree?

Only 44% of 984 agreed "it was easy to find the right counsellor."

ItWasEasyToFindTheRightCounsellor

56% were either neutral, or felt it was *not* easy to find the right counsellor.

The definition of the "right" counsellor is subjective of course, but we wanted first hand data, in the client's own opinion, for this research.

Looking closer at this sub-segment who disagreed, there are relevant correlations here to number of sessions completed, age group, and presenting problem.

44% of those who found difficulty finding the right counsellor, had completed 16 or more sessions, an early indicator of dissatisfaction from this subsection, that would be confirmed later in the research.

We would have hoped that a greater number of sessions between client and counsellor should have helped foster greater rapport, and an environment supporting change, however this didn't appear to be the case.

NoSessionsDifficultyFindingRightCounsellor

In addition, 354/554 - or 64% - of those with difficulty finding the right match, were in the younger age group of 18-34:

AgeDistribution_TroubleFindingRightCounsellor

Finally, among those who found it difficult to find the right counsellor, the top 3 presenting problems were Depression (204/554), Anxiety (149/554) and Trauma/PTSD (111/554) - undoubtedly complex issues, requiring sensitive handling, and experience:

PresentingProblem_ThoseTroubleFindingRightCounsellor

It's possible that the greater incidence of these presenting problems in this sub-set is indicative of a need for deeper psychological work than counselling alone could provide, e.g. longer term psychotherapy work, or onward referral for more specialist intervention.

This initial difficulty finding the right help, became a theme, which was repeated and corroborated later in the research.

Finding Counselling Help Quickly

WE ASKED:

"I was able to access counselling as quickly as I needed" - do you agree?

Overall, 561/984, or 57% of clients, agreed they were able to access counselling quickly enough.

AbleAccessCounsellingQuickly

The data here was fairly uniform, with no huge spikes to report based on number of sessions, demographics, or most other factors.

The only outlier, was in how clients paid for counselling.

Clients self-attributed to one of 4 categories, in how they paid for the counselling they received:

  • Free - e.g. National Healthcare/Charity/3rd sector provider/Other
  • Insurance - An insurance policy paid for my counselling
  • Paid - I paid for counselling from my own funds
  • Subsidised - I paid for part of my counselling costs myself e.g. donation-based counselling

Here is how easily each group could access counselling:

AbleToAccessCounsellingQuickly_HowPaid

While insurance services, arguably dealing with the greatest volume of clients, remain just as accessible as free services, clients subsidising their own treatment reported the greatest frustration accessing counselling sessions as quickly as they needed.

Most Important Buying Factors For Counselling

WE ASKED:

"How Important Are These Factors, When Looking For Counselling Help?"

Counsellors: Would you like to know what you should be focussing on, in your practice, to attract more clients?

We asked clients to rate the factors most important to them, during the process of finding, and starting, counselling sessions.

Here's what they told us. The results here were very tightly packed together, so we've added the full detail below, to help make fine distinctions.

The most important elements, that influence clients to "buy" counselling are (click to expand):

CounsellingBuyingFactors

The #1 most important factor for clients, when proceeding with counselling, is Counsellor Competence.

Focussing only on the "Very Important" category:

  • Counsellor Competence is the #1 most important factor to clients
  • Followed closely by Costs
  • ...then the counsellor's previous experience with the client's presenting problem.

Location (where the counselling takes place) is the least important factor for prospective clients.

This is good news, given the current covid-19 climate, indicating that the majority of clients may be open to remote counselling solutions such as video/audio conferencing software.

How could you use these results to better structure your practice?

Standalone, these results are interesting. But later, we'll consider the emerging picture of the importance of counsellor competence, in the client's mind.

Counsellor Takeaways - Buying Factors

  • Counsellor Competence - Do you need to refresh your CPD, or update certain qualifications? Are you helping clients recognise, and reinforce, the positive gains they make, each time you see them? Are you using SUDS scales or similar, to evidence progress made?
  • Cost - Are you offering pricing plans? Are you offering a variety of counselling solutions at different price points to enable clients to connect with you, within their means? Are you helping subsidised clients access treatment quickly?
  • Finding The Right Counsellor - Are you helping longer term clients in the 18-34 age bracket take an active part in deciding if you are a good match for the client? Be upfront and honest with clients as to whether you are a good match to work together or not - do not imply your experience level with one particular presenting problem, is greater than reality.

Part 2 - Key Tenets Of Counselling

Part2_KeyTenetsOfCounselling

Before gathering qualitative, subjective opinion on client satisfaction levels, it's important to baseline counsellor's performance in terms of their fulfilment of key counselling tenets, which many consider to be essential elements in any therapeutic relationship.

In the research, we asked clients to separate their opinions, on what was achieved during counselling (results) .v. how it was achieved (key tenets).

WE ASKED:

"My counsellor fulfilled the key tenets of a therapeutic relationship" - do you agree?

We asked clients to rate the performance of their counsellor in the following specific areas (click to expand):

MyCounsellorFulfilledKeyTenetsCounsellingRelationship

While the majority of clients reported a positive experience in most key tenets of the therapeutic relationship, there was a noticeable drop-off in opinion, in 4 significant areas:

  • "During counselling, my counsellor helped me feel accepted" - 44% Agreed, 43% Disagreed
  • "My counsellor was empathetic" - 40% Agreed, 51% Disagreed - the highest level of dissatisfaction of any of the key counselling tenets.
  • "My counsellor was competent" - 41% Agreed, 50% Disagreed -
  • "My counsellor helped me feel hopeful" - 42% Agreed, 40% Disagreed

Let's look closer.

We learned earlier, that that #1 most important buying factor for clients, is Counsellor Competence.

Now we can see from the above data, this is the one key area where we're letting them down the most.

The story that's beginning to emerge is that counselling clients appreciate the experience and environment provided by counselling, but the counsellor's ability to get results, remains #1 priority.

Counsellors are generally fulfilling most of the key tenets of a therapeutic relationship well...


But fall short on nurturing the aspects of acceptance, hope, empathy, and perceived competence.

Counsellor Takeaways - Key Tenets

  • To better fulfill the key tenets of the therapeutic relationship, therapists need to work more on nurturing acceptance, hope and empathy during sessions.
  • Meanwhile, 50% of clients surveyed disagreed that their therapist was competent.
  • Therapists may need to work on achieving real-world outcomes from counselling, and demonstrating those results to clients, even more than the key tenets of the therapeutic relationship.

Part 3 - Results From Counselling

Part3_ResultsFromCounselling

Now we're getting to the meat of the issue.

WE ASKED:

The issue that brought me to counselling, is resolved" - do you agree?

Surprisingly, only 38% of total participants agreed that the issue they came to counselling to overcome, was actually resolved:

IssueBroughtMeToCounsellingIsResolved
  • 59% of those presenting with an uncategorised presenting problem ("Other" - often multiple presenting problems at once) felt their issue was not resolved.
  • 45% of those presenting with trauma or PTSD felt their problem was not resolved.
IssueBroughtMeToCounsellingIsResolved_ProblemType
  • And, 49% of those whose issue was not resolved, had attended counselling for 16 sessions or more - this was the greatest cross-section showing dissatisfaction with results.
NoSessions_NotResolved

It would appear, that long term counselling clients struggle the most, to get their issues fully resolved - especially younger clients.

However, it's important to make clear that 207 out of 430 participants who had completed 16 or more sessions of counselling, were still actively in treatment at the time of the research.


Therefore, metrics for success, cannot be judged conclusively, for this demographic.

Sidenote - Whilst introductory information to the survey made it clear that we were looking for those who had *completed* a course of counselling, this was obviously not clear enough, based on the responses above.

This is a shortfall in our data collection, that we would of course correct, if we were repeating the research.

Results Across Age Groups

  • 142/378 (38%) of those whose issue was not resolved, were aged 18-24, whereas only 5/378 (1%) of the same group, were aged 65 or over:
Ages_IssueNotResolved

Results From Those Who Had Tried Other Means To Overcome Their Issue

WE ASKED:

"Before counselling, did you attempt to overcome your issue via other methods?"

  • Sadly, 292/378 (77%) of those whose issue was not resolved via counselling, had already tried other means of overcoming the problem, before trying counselling:
OtherMethodsBeforeCounselling

So...we're now building a profile picture of the commonalities among clients with greatest difficulty achieving results: Age 18-34, 16+ sessions, attending for PTSD/trauma, and have previously tried other modalities to overcome their issue.

  • Age 18-34
  • 16+ sessions (although data here is not perfect)
  • PTSD/Trauma issues
  • Made previous attempts to resolve issue with other modalities

Despite these somewhat depressing statistics, most do report that their issues have at least somewhat improved via counselling sessions...

WE ASKED:

"Has the issue that brought you to counselling, improved?"

The majority saw a number of improvements across multiple areas of life, following counselling.

  • Encouragingly, 94% of addiction clients, and 86% of self-esteem clients, confirmed their issue had either "Improved" or "Significantly Improved".
  • 76% of Anxiety clients, and 74% of Depression clients, told us their condition had either "Improved" or "Significantly Improved", following counselling.
IssueBroughtMeHas_PresentingProblem

Quality Of Life Improvements, Since Counselling

WE ASKED:

"Since counselling, have there been improvements in other areas of life?"

Since counselling, 78% reported an increased understanding of self.

ImprovementsSinceTherapy_Counselling
  • 78% of clients told us their understanding of themselves, had improved, following treatment.
  • Area of least improvement was work life, with 48% reporting improvements in this area of life; and 43% reporting no change in quality of life at work.

Quality Of Life Improvements .v. No Of Sessions

  • 67% of clients attending for 11-15 sessions, stated that even other issues in their life, unrelated to the issue they attended counselling for, had either "Significantly Improved" or "Improved".
OtherIssues_NoSessions

Is it possible that this client group had initially presented with less complex problems, and taken the time to fully resolve them?

We cannot extrapolate this from the data, however this is a common opinion among counsellors we spoke to, with real-world experience.

Compared To Other Attempts To Remedy The Problem, How Did Counselling Stack Up?

This is a juicy one.

727/984, or 74%, of our audience had previously made other attempts, via different modalities, to tackle the problem, that they were now applying counselling to.

BeforeCounselling_OtherMethods

Reassuringly, 496/727 (68%) told us counselling helped MORE than their other attempts to remedy the problem they were experiencing:

ComparedToOtherMethods_CounsellingHelped

The top 3 issues where counselling did not help more than other modalities, were:

  • Depression (39%)
  • Anxiety (23%)
  • Trauma/PTSD (17%)

Counsellor Takeaways - Results

  • Only 38% of clients agree their issue was resolved by counselling
  • What are you doing to ensure results are demonstrated, consistently? Are you demonstrably monitoring and agreeing your client's progress towards agreed goals, at every session?
  • Can you improve upon this process, especially with younger clients, or those seeking help for PTSD/Trauma?
  • Despite lack of results for some client groups, counselling does deliver widespread quality of life improvements; esp for those attending for 11-15 sessions.
  • Counselling does help more than other modalities, 68% of the time.
Your Feelings Matter. We Can Help:

Part 4 - Client Satisfaction

Part4_ClientSatisfaction

The answer to "Does Counselling Work?", cannot be understood without measuring client satisfaction levels, with the overall counselling experience.

The satisfaction score questions we asked, are subjective, intentionally so - this is the 'opinion poll' part where we want to ascertain an understanding of clients' overall happiness with all aspects of the counselling experience.

WE ASKED:

"Would you undertake counselling again, if the need arose?"

88% Would Complete Counselling Again

A whopping 866/984 (88%) said they would undertake counselling again, if the need arose, with only 118/984 (12%) stating they may not repeat counselling in future.

WouldDoCounsellingAgain

WE ASKED:

"Were You Satisfied Of Your Counsellor's Ability To Help You?"

74% Were Satisfied Their Counsellor Could Help Them

SatsifiedCounsellorsAbilityToHelpYou

726/984, or 74%, told us they were satisfied their counsellor had the ability to help them.

But again we see a noticeable age differential here - 75/115 (65%) of those who were not satisfied their counsellor could help them, were aged 18-34:

Age_NotSatisfiedCounsellorAbility

Is This Goodbye?

WE ASKED:

"How satisfied were you, with how counselling ended?"

Only 54% Were Satisfied With How Counselling Ended;
18% Were Openly Unhappy

SatisfactionHowCounsellingEnded
AgeNotSatisfiedHowCounsellingEnded

Again we see a heavy weighting here to the younger age group - 294/447 (66%) who were either "Neutral" "Dissatisfied" or "Very Dissatisfied" with how counselling ended, were in the 18-34 age bracket.

Slicing the data a different way, of those who were neutral or unhappy with how counselling ended, a total of 62% were suffering from anxiety or depression when first presenting:

PresentingProblem_NotSatisfiedEnded

WE ASKED:

"How satisfied were you, with your overall experience of counselling?"

75% Were Happy With Their Overall Experience Of Counselling

SatisfiedOverallExperienceCounselling

Ranking The Top 9 Reasons Clients Stop Attending Counselling Sessions

Why do clients stop attending counselling?

We've all been there - a client who's making excellent progress, suddenly stops attending sessions.

It's natural to wonder upon the real reasons behind these lapses.

WE ASKED:

"What is the reason you're no longer attending counselling?"

Beyond those still in counselling, or who no longer needed help, the top 9 reasons were:

  • Unable to afford financially
  • Counselling was not helping
  • Dissatisfied with service
  • No time
  • Referred onward to another source of help
  • Covid-19
  • Counsellor or client moved location
  • Other
  • Counsellor retired/took leave/resigned
WhyNoLongerCounselling

Interestingly, only 2% cited Covid-19 as the main reason they were no longer attending counselling - although the data was taken early in the crisis, and likely many counsellors had not yet moved to a virtual platform.

3% were no longer benefitting from counselling as either the counsellor or client had changed addresses - as counsellors we need to ensure that continuity of care is in place, for any clients no longer our care, no matter the reason.

Counsellor Takeaways - Client Satisfaction

  • 88% would repeat counselling, if needed
  • 74% were satisfied counsellor could help them, but not the 18-34 age group - this goes back to proving and demonstrating competence and results
  • 18% were unhappy with how counselling ended; especially 18-34 age group and issues of Anxiety/Depression/PTSD(trauma) - Are you benchmarking when therapy goals are met, and ensuring continuity of care, where required?
  • 75% were happy with their overall experience of counselling
  • What are you doing to overcome the top 3 reasons clients leave counselling: Affordability; Counselling was not helping; and Dissatisfied with service?

Part 5 - Houston, We Have A (Counselling) Problem

Part5_CounsellingProblems

What is the one aspect of counselling which clients dislike the most, or struggle most with, to overcome?

WE ASKED:

"What was your biggest challenge, frustration, or problem, with counselling?"

They told us directly...

The biggest frustration, challenge or problem clients have, throughout the entire counselling process, is the one we saw right at the start of the "buying process":

Finding The Right Counsellor

BiggestChallengeProblem_Counselling
  • 30% of 984 told us finding the right client-counsellor match is *the* most troublesome issue, above all other factors.
  • Cost was the next biggest issue, with 22% of all respondents saying this was the biggest problem or frustration they faced with counselling.
  • And in 3rd place, 14% told us the their biggest problem was achieving positive results from counselling.

These 3 reasons remained the top 3 biggest problems individuals have with counselling, even where counselling was their first attempt to overcome the problem with any modality.

These 3 reasons also remained consistent across age groups and types of presenting problems.

So....time to get working on them.

Non-Paid Services Struggle More To Achieve Positive Results From Counselling

We were slightly concerned to see a qualitative, fundamental issue such as achieving positive results, as high as number 3 on the list.

There does seem to be a correlation in the data between paid .v. free services - of those who felt achieving positive results was the biggest issue, 36% received counselling free of charge, a whopping 40% received counselling via an insurance policy, while just half that - 18% of complaints about lack of positive results - came from those who paid for treatment personally.

The lowest number of complaints about lack of positive results came from those who received subsidised counselling.

PytMethod_NotAchieivingPositiveResultsCounselling

Are insurance and free services overstretched? To the point where it's impacting on client outcomes?

Perhaps the data here speaks of (i) the beginning of a shift from free to policy-based services (ii) and/or the resultant strain, upon the resources, of those servicing the counselling work behind these policies.

Counselling Still Helps More Than Other Modalities

Nevertheless, nearly 46% of those who told us the biggest problem was achieving positive results, told us counselling *still* helped more than other modalities' attempts to overcome their presenting problem.

HelpMoreSameLess_ThoseBiggestIssuePositiveResults

So, even in those who've struggled to get positive results from counselling, therapy still helped more than other methods....but just not enough to fully resolve it.

When Counselling Goes Wrong

So what explains this apparent pattern of "improvement, but incomplete resolution of issue" , that we're beginning to see emerge?

WE ASKED:

"If counselling did not work for you, why do you think that was?"

CounsellingDidntWork_Reasons

Clients tell us, the #1 reason why counselling didn't work for them, is:

"Events that took place outside therapy disrupted my progress."

The top reasons clients believe counselling didn't work for them:

  • External events that took place outside therapy disrupted progress
  • Counsellor expertise or competence
  • An issue with a key tenet of the counselling relationship (trust/safety/respect/impartiality/hope/acceptance)
  • Other reasons

This data remains consistent across and throughout presenting problem types, number of counselling sessions completed, gender, and many other dimensions.

Whilst this offers us some reassurance that clients *do* recognise counsellor competence and progress during sessions, the data tells us they have significant problems maintaining the results achieved, either between sessions, or in the longer term.

As Counsellors, We Are Failing To Connect With Younger Clients

One of the only discerning factors among those dissatified with counselling is a startling disparity across age:
- 83% of those reporting that counselling didn't work for them are aged 18-44;
- only 17% of the age group 45-65+ felt that counselling did not work for them.

AgeThoseCounsellingDidntWork

Longer Term Clients Report Greatest Concern Over Key Counselling Tenets

Worryingly, nearly 44% (52/119) of those in longer term counselling (16 sessions+) cited the main reason they believed counselling did not work for them, was an issue with one of the counselling tenets: trust/safety/respect/impartiality/hope/acceptance.

NoSessions_v_Reasons

Those in treatment for 16 weeks+ reported this concern more often than clients in any other timeframe of therapy.

Counsellor Takeaways - Problems With Counselling

  • With problems, comes opportunity to improve - both your practice and outcomes for clients.
  • What are you incorporating in your intake process, to fully satisfy clients, that you are a good match - the "right counsellor"?
  • If you serve insurance and/or non-paying clients, do you pay the same attention and process, to each and every client?
  • Can you bring more stable results between sessions, by (e.g.) helping clients future pace in detail, and work through perceived future difficulties, in depth?
  • What can you do to improve counselling outcomes for the age 18-44 bracket?
  • How can you improve trust and the key tenets of the counselling relationship, in longer term clients?

Part 6 - Segmenting By: Presenting Problem

Part6_SegmentingPresentingProblem

We noticed significant patterns in the data, when viewing through the lens of each presenting problem type.

Trauma/PTSD

Victims of Trauma/PTSD had the most difficulty succeeding in therapy

TraumaPTSD_Experience
  • Trauma/PTSD sufferers experienced the greatest difficulty finding the right counsellor - 43% of those surveyed disagreed it was easy to find the right counsellor; only 32% agreed it was easy.
  • Only 28% of those getting counselling for trauma/PTSD, felt that the issue they attended counselling for, was resolved - the lowest resolution rate, of all problem types.

"OTHER"/MULTIPLE PRESENTING PROBLEMS

This group described themselves as having a presenting problem lying outwith the categories of Depression, Anxiety, Trauma/PTSD, Relationship Issues, Self-Esteem, Bereavement, or Addiction.

Often, the notes added by clients referred to co-occurring issues, or attempting to remedy multiple issues at once, through counselling.

59% of those with multiple treatment issues, told us that the issue they attended counselling for, was not resolved.

Addiction

Conversely, 59% of those attending for Addiction issues, felt that the issue they attended counselling for, was resolved - the highest resolution rate of any problem-type.

Bereavement

55% of those seeking help for Bereavement felt it was easy to find the right counsellor; where only 10% felt it was not easy.

Relationship Issues

90% of those seeking help for Relationship issues felt the experience of the counsellor was important.

Counsellor Takeaways - Segmenting By Presenting Problems

  • Could you use the findings that trauma victims have greatest difficulty finding the right counsellor, to more closely set appropriate expectations with this client group, and place more emphasis on demonstrating progress made?
  • Will the findings on the importance of counsellor experience for Relationship clients, change your intake process for this client group?

Part 7 - Do Clients Recommend Counselling, To Others?

Part7_RecommendCounselling

Since therapy is such a personal experience, and practices are built upon word of mouth referrals, satisfaction research couldn't be complete, without understanding if clients would recommend counselling, to others.

Human beings tend to recommend specific people to friends and peers, so we made sure here to make a clear distinction between recommending counselling itself, as opposed to the client's counsellor personally.

WE ASKED:

"How likely are you to recommend counselling itself (and not your personal counsellor) to a friend or colleague?"

51% were "extremely likely" to recommend counselling to others; and 88% were "likely" (6) or greater, on our scale.

HowLikelyRecommendCounselling

Part 8 - How Clients Describe Counselling, In Their Own Words

Part8_HowClientsDescribeCounselling

The ultimate qualitative feedback on whether counselling works or not, is of course, in the client's own words.

WE ASKED:

"Please describe your overall experience of counselling, in one word."

Here's what they told us (click to expand):

CounsellingInClientsOwnWords

The graphic shows words in bigger sizes, proportionate to the quantity of repetitions, from clients in the data.

It's reassuring here to see terms like "enlightening," "empowering," and "helpful," featuring so prominently.

We must remember, it takes a lot for someone to reach out and ask for help, when they feel vulnerable, and counselling clients deserve our very best.

Part 9 - Discussion

Part9_Discussion

As counsellors, we know better than most, that drawing conclusions and giving meaning to data (and events) can be a dangerous business.

Nevertheless, narrowing the data down, we can see some commonalities that could help us improve counselling practices.

Certain questions during the survey looked and felt similar - deliberately so.

We wanted to see if we could achieve consistency in clients' responses, between elements of the therapeutic relationship, versus real-world results, across different question types.

Pulling the threads of the data together, we consistently saw a repeating pattern of clients expressing positive sentiments toward the *elements within* counselling, such as, most aspects of the therapeutic relationship, how counselling improved their lives laterally, and how well counselling performed relative to other attempted interventions. Their qualitative feedback on counselling was also hugely reassuring.

By reading the responses to different questions, we can see that clients are telling us they see tangible improvements in their issues as a result of counselling, but not full resolution.

However, we also saw repeated negative feedback, across different question types, when the topics of results, counsellor competence, and issues fully resolved arose.

The underlying message from the data seems to be that counselling clients enjoy all the qualities, environment, and softer elements the therapeutic relationship provides, but are unhappy with the real-world results achieved from counselling, especially within certain client demographics and presenting problems.

Part 10 - Conclusions & Final Takeaways

Part10_Conclusions

So, Does Counselling Work?

As counsellors, we should take huge comfort and reassurance from the fact that:

It would be difficult to conclude from this, anything other than "Counselling Works."

However, it's clear we still have work to do, to address shortfalls in:

  • Finding the right client/counsellor match
  • Getting to those all important results - "My issue is resolved" - and demonstrating core competences, beyond doubt
  • Demonstrably monitoring and agreeing progress made, over time
  • Helping clients maintain those results over time, in the real world, and between sessions
  • Strengthening the counselling relationship tenets of acceptance, empathy, and hope.
  • Making counselling services financially accessible for a greater proportion of those seeking help
  • Helping younger client groups tackle long term issues, especially trauma and PTSD
  • Ending the counselling relationship satisfactorily, esp with the 18-34 age group

So...we've drawn back the curtain, to reveal clients' real thoughts on therapy and counselling, and how it affects their lives.

Now, over to you - how will YOU use this invaluable feedback from clients to improve your practice?

FREE SUMMARY
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Complimentary infographic sharing the key findings:
DoesCounsellingWork_StudyStatistics_TruthCounsellingNewcastle

How The Research Was Done

Demographics (click to expand)

Demographics_1
Demographics_2

Data Collation

  • Survey data was collated during July - October 2020
  • 100% had undertaken counselling within the last 5 years, and were aged 18 or over
  • This was *not* a clinical research study under controlled conditions but a real-world survey research project
  • Human beings are subject to error; both in data input at the survey stage, and in data collation and interpretation of those results
  • Throughout the research, we sought to keep a realistic and practical viewpoint, and to draw only the most obvious, useable conclusions, with the minimum bias possible

Everything In Perspective

Other Studies

Healthy context and perspective is central to therapy, and should be central to your view of therapy itself too.

For comparison and context purposes, these (academic) studies highlight/reveal/lay out their findings from an academic standpoint/evidence based.

Disclaimer

  • We are not doctors and we are not medically qualified. It should go without saying - *always* consult your GP or otherwise qualified medical professional before making any decisions to undertake mental health care, or counselling, private or otherwise.
  • We are not statisticians or mathematicians. No claims are made regarding the accuracy or validity of the data to the nth degree. The nature of a study such as this is that answers will be necessarily subjective in nature, and some degree of interpretation is necessary to extrapolate meaningful, and more importantly, *useful* conclusions.
  • All data is held private and confidential and no personally identifying information has been published.
  • Research results should not be considered advice, and are provided for information only. Truth Counselling Newcastle are not responsible for, and will not be held liable for, any actions taken on the basis of information provided. You remain 100% responsible for your actions, and mental health, at all times.

Copyright

  • All data and content is Copyright 2021 truthcounsellingnewcastle.co.uk
  • Reproduction or plagiarism is strictly prohibited without express written permission.

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