The effectiveness of counselling with older people: results of a systematic review
Hill, A and Brettle, A 2005, 'The effectiveness of counselling with older people: results of a systematic review' , Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 5 (4) , pp. 265-272.
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In 2003 the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) commissioned a systematic review of the research evidence relating to counselling older people. This paper reports on some of the findings of this review, particularly those which address the effectiveness of counselling with this population. Electronic searches of the research literature spanned six databases and were supplemented by hand-searches of reference lists and key journals, along with an extensive search of the “grey” literature. The location of papers testing interventions which fall within a definition of counselling set out by the BACP, with samples aged 50 years of age or above resulted in the inclusion of 47 relevant studies. Studies investigated a variety of mental health problems in older people, particularly depression, anxiety, dementia and the psychological impact of physical conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Of the 47 studies, eight tested counselling as a generic treatment, 15 tested cognitive behavioural therapy, 13 tested reminiscence therapy, and 11 tested various other specific approaches. The review concluded that counselling is efficacious with older people, particularly in the treatment of anxiety and depression and outcomes are consistent with those found in younger populations. Evidence as to the efficacy of counselling interventions in the treatment of dementia is weak.
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