Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy

Research Article

Controlled Clinical Trial of a Self-Help for Anxiety Intervention for Patients Waiting for Psychological Therapy

Mike Lucocka1 c1, Kath Padgetta2, Rachael Noblea3, Alison Westleya4, Chris Athaa5, Carrie Horsefielda6 and Chris Leacha7

a1 South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust and University of Huddersfield, UK

a2 University of Huddersfield, UK

a3 University of Leeds, UK

a4 Bradford and Airedale Teaching PCT, UK

a5 The Retreat, York, UK

a6 South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust, UK

a7 South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust and University of Sheffield, UK


This study was a controlled clinical trial in which patients were offered a brief low cost, low intensity self-help intervention while waiting for psychological therapy. A CBT based self-help pack was given to patients with significant anxiety problems and no attempt was made to exclude patients on the basis of severity or co-morbidity. The treatment group received the intervention immediately following assessment and the control group after a delay of 8 weeks so comparisons between the two groups were made over 8 weeks. Although there was some support for the effectiveness of the self help intervention, with a significant time x group interaction for CORE-OM scores, this was not significant with the intention to treat analysis, nor for HADS anxiety and depression scores and the effect size was low. A follow up evaluation suggested some patients attributed significant goal attainment to the intervention. The findings suggest the routine use of self-help interventions in psychological therapies services should be considered although further more adequately powered research is required to identify the type of patients and problems that most benefit, possible adverse effects and the effect on subsequent uptake of and engagement in therapy.


c1 Reprint requests to Mike Lucock, South West Yorks Mental Health Trust, APTS Fieldhead, Ouchthorpe Lane, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF1 3SP, UK. E-mail: