Patient preference as a predictor of outcomes in a pilot trial of person-centered counselling versus low-intensity cognitive behavioral therapy for persistent sub-threshold and mild depression

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The aim of this analysis was to explore whether pre-treatment intervention preferences were related to outcomes for patients with persistent sub-threshold and mild depression who received one of two treatment types. Thirty-six patients took part in a two-arm, parallel group, pilot randomized controlled trial that compared short term (3 month and 6 month) outcomes of person-centered counselling (PCC) compared with low intensity, CBT-based guided self-help (LICBT). Patient preferences for the two interventions were assessed at baseline assessment, and analyzed as two independent linear variables (pro-PCC, pro-LICBT). Eight out of 30 interactions between baseline treatment preferences and treatment type were found to be significant at the p < 0.05 level. All were in the predicted direction, with patients who showed a stronger preference for a treatment achieving better outcomes in that treatment compared with the alternative. However, pro-LICBT was a stronger predictor of outcomes than pro-PCC. The findings provide preliminary support that treatment preferences should be taken into account when providing interventions for patients with persistent sub-threshold and mild depression. It is recommended that further research analyzes preferences for different treatment types as independent variables, and examines preferences for format of treatment (e.g., guided self-help vs. face-to-face). 

© 2017 Informa UK Limited. The attached document (embargoed until 26/06/2018) is an author produced version of a paper published in counselling Psychology Quarterly, uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCounselling Psychology Quarterly
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2017


  • Aptitude-treatment interaction research, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Depression, Experiential/Existential/Humanistic Psychotherapy, Treatment preferences, Guided self-help

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