Researchers say counselling can be as effective for depression as CBT

Most people are aware of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as a common tool for dealing with anxiety and depression.

However, a recent study of 33, 243 patients across 103 IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) services in England found that counselling can be just as effective for patients suffering from depression. 

According to, counselling involves supporting the patient in talking about their problems and issues and allowing them to come to their own conclusions about the best way to deal with them.

CBT is described as a more direct approach, it involves the practitioner helping the patient to identify unhelpful thinking patterns and behaviour. The patient often does their own work in between sessions to address their problems in a practical way.

The study, which was published in the journal of BMC Psychiatry, found that patients were attending fewer counselling sessions than CBT sessions, however, it showed that two sessions of counselling had a significantly better outcome than two sessions of CBT.

Counselling is often only recommended for patients when other methods have been tried and failed.

Researchers asserted that “it is apparent from the findings presented here that counselling is not inferior to CBT and there would seem little, if any, rationale for committing public money to fund superiority trials of CBT in the field of depression.”

It seems that talking really can be one of the most effective tools when dealing with personal issues.