Evaluation of a transdiagnostic group intervention in a primary care mental health service: a pilot study

Hussein Bharmal, Roger Moore, Jamie Kelly

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Adults with complex mental health difficulties (including those diagnosed with a personality disorder) are often seen in primary care settings with limited access to appropriate psychological therapies. A seven-session group treatment programme, the Coping Skills Workshop (CSW), was developed that combined both Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT). The study evaluated the efficacy of a modified version of the CSW. 52 patients (aged 18 years and above) who were under the care of a Primary Care Mental Health Service (PCMHS) in London were referred into the CSW. 26 were randomly allocated to the group treatment programme and 26 to a wait-list control condition (Treatment as Usual; TAU). All participants completed four mental health outcome measures that assessed levels of depression (PHQ-9), anxiety (GAD-7), daily functioning (WS&AS) and general wellbeing (SWEMWBS), at pre- (first session) and post-intervention (end of seventh session). Participants in the wait-list control group completed the measures at similar time intervals. Participants in the treatment condition showed a significant clinical reduction in symptom severity in both PHQ-9 (20%) and GAD-7 (45%) scores alongside an improvement in SWEMWBS scores (17%). In contrast, the TAU group showed a significant deterioration in mental health symptoms at the post-score stage. The findings suggests that the brief transdiagnostic CSW intervention is efficacious and appropriate for individuals with complex mental health difficulties. Further investigation may include populations from different backgrounds and comorbidities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-210
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • coping skills
  • group transdiagnostic
  • cognitive behavioural therapy
  • dialectical behavioural therapy
  • primary care mental health service


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