Sharp DM, Power KG & Swanson V (2000) Reducing therapist contact in cognitive behaviour therapy for panic disorder and agoraphobia in primary care: Global measures of outcome in a randomised controlled trial. British Journal of General Practice, 50 (461), pp. 963-968. http://bjgp.org/content/50/461/963.short
BACKGROUND: Panic disorder, with and without agoraphobia, is a prevalent condition presenting in general practice. Psychological treatments are effective but are limited by restricted availability. Interest has grown in methods by which the efficiency and thus availability of psychological treatments can be improved, with particular emphasis on reduced therapist contact formats. AIM: To evaluate the relative efficacy in a primary care setting of a cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) delivered at three levels of therapist contact: standard contact, minimum contact, and bibliotherapy.
METHOD: A total of 104 patients were randomly allocated to receive standard therapist contact, minimum therapist contact or bibliotherapy, with 91 patients completing treatment. All patients received an identical treatment manual and were seen by the same psychologist therapist. Outcome was reported in terms of brief global ratings of severity of illness, change in symptoms, and levels of social disruption. These brief measures were chosen to be suitable for use in general practice and were used at treatment entry and endpoint.
RESULTS: The standard therapist contact group had the strongest and most comprehensive treatment response, showing significant differences from the bibliotherapy group on all, and the minimum therapist contact group on some, endpoint measures. Some reduction in efficacy was therefore found for the reduced therapist contact groups.
CONCLUSION: The standard therapist contact group showed the greatest treatment efficacy in the present study. As it was of notably shorter duration than many other current formulations of CBT, it represents a useful and efficient treatment for panic disorder and agoraphobia in primary care.
British Journal of General Practice: Volume 50, Issue 461