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3rd Joint Meeting of the European and the United Kingdom Chapters of the Society for Psychotherapy Research

Posted on 24/10/2012

Dr Maria Kordowicz attended the 3rd Joint Meeting of the European and the United Kingdom Chapters of the Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR), in Porto, Portugal, October 10th -13th, to present the following departmental abstract:


The changing expression of depressive symptoms by patients starting, engaging in and completing talking therapy
in Poland

Maria Kordowicz — King’s College London, Peter Schofield, Mark Ashworth, Chris Evans, Slawomir Czachowski, Susan Robinson

We administered the idiographic mental health outcome measure, PSYCHLOPS, to 238 patients referred by their general practitioner (GP) in Poland for brief Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. 194 of these patients completed a during-therapy version of PSYCHLOPS and 142 completed the end of therapy questionnaire. PSYCHLOPS contains three sections eliciting free text information (which is then scored), covering two domains: Problems and Function. We conducted a content analysis of all responses of patients prior to starting their talking therapy, and also during and after their therapy. We found that prior to therapy, the majority of patients described their Problems in physical terms (e.g., headaches, tiredness, back pain, indigestion) but that during and after therapy, the most frequent category of Problem was psychological (e.g., stress, depression, feeling unable to cope, inner distress). We postulated that this transition from physical to psychological symptom reporting was based on two factors. Firstly the process of therapy may have acted to give patients a language to re-conceptualise and to express their distress. Secondly that patients may have thought that it was only acceptable to express physical symptoms when discussing their problems with their GP and that psychological symptoms were less appropriate to bring to the GP. This transition was documented using an idiographic instrument and paralleled the improvement in instrument scores which occurred throughout the talking therapy process.

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