EASE Engaging Activity Supporting Mental Health Patients through counselling & psychotherapy

Engaging Activity Supporting Existence

Existential Experimentation is a short-term integrative psychological therapy. It is based on the recent government initiative focusing on recovery and thus integrates central ideas from existential theory, utilizes a phenomenological methodology, and applies considerations of human potential from humanistic psychology to support recovery and aim for well-being.

We explored the outcomes of a systematic application of this approach with working-age adults referred for a psychological intervention by their GPs to address concerns surrounding depression and/or anxiety in terms of:

(a) Alleviating depression and/or anxiety symptomatology
(b) Ameliorating the clients’ perceived level of psychological distress
(c) Reducing the need for ongoing psychological services.

The sample consisted of working-age adults referred to primary care by their general practitioner. The patients’ relevant symptomatology was assessed at every contact using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and Generalized Anxiety Disorder–7, and the level of psychological distress was monitored using CORE-OM.

The graphs shows how the levels of psychological distress (CORE-OM), symptomatology for depression (PHQ-9) and anxiety(GAD-7) changed from the beginning (t0) to the end (t1) of therapy. In this preliminary study we found that this therapy produces on average a large effect on our clients levels of wellbeing.

Outcome measures

The GP screening questionnaire is a one page form that was specially designed to address the very limited time that the GP has available during the routine counsultation. This form should be filled in by the client in less than 1 minute and asks the client to identify in a few words the his or her psychological difficulties. The form should be filled in with the supportive participation of the GP and represent the very first point of active cooperation between the future client and his or her cares.

The CORE Goal attainment form is a self-rating tool, which attempts to measure change with respect to outcome variables that are defined by the clients for themselves in collaboration with the therapists. At the outset of therapy, the clients are presented with the form and asked to articulate four difficulties that are represented as ‘goals’. Here we focus upon the goals that were identified and the degree to which the clients expressed that these goals were achieved. On the Goal Attainment Form at the completion of therapy, this degree of achievement is rated by the clients themselves on a scale of 0-4 from “not at all” to “extremely”.

The CORE-OM is a 34-item generic measure of psychological distress, which is pan-theoretical (i.e., not associated with a school of therapy), pan-diagnostic (i.e. not focused on a single presenting problem), and draws upon the views of what practitioners considered to be the most important generic aspects of psychological wellbeing health to measure.

Self-administered 7 item scale for screening, diagnosing, monitoring and measuring the severity of Generalised Anxiety Disorder.

Self-administered 9 item scale for screening, diagnosing, monitoring and measuring the severity of depression.

The Repertory Grid Technique is an interviewing technique which uses factor analysis to describe and capture the dimensions and the structures via which the client attribute meaning to their experience. It was devised by George Kelly in around 1955 and is based on his personal constructs theory of personality.