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QUESTION: Is counselling people with common mental disorders in primary care more effective than usual general practitioner care or alternative mental health treatments?
Systematic review with meta-analysis.
The reviewers searched Medline, Embase, AMED, ASSIA, HealthSTAR, DHSS DATA, DARE, NHSeed, HELMIS, EconLit, CINAHL, PsycLit, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register and the Cochrane Collaboration on Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis (CCDAN) Trials Register to 2003. The reviewers hand-searched a specialist journal, scanned reference lists, and approached experts for additional papers.
Randomised controlled trials and controlled clinical trials were eligible if they compared people with psychological or psychosocial problems receiving counselling in primary care with a control or comparison condition (usual GP care or treatments such as medication or cognitive behavioural therapy). Only trials in which counsellors were trained to British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy accreditation levels or equivalent were included. There were no language restrictions.
Two reviewers selected studies and extracted data independently. Disagreements were resolved by discussion. The reviewers used a …
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