Counselling in General Practice

Counselling in General Practice

Counselling in General Practice

Counselling in General Practice


Many GPs now employ counsellors to help them with the psychological and emotional problems of their patients. The contributors to this book have wide experience of counsellor attachments and have been involved in developing and promoting GP counselling on a nation-wide scale. They explore the counsellor's role in general practice and investigate the issues involved, giving practical guidance which will be invaluable to those wishing to set up a counselling service.


Psychological and psychiatric disorders are the third most common diagnosis in consultations in primary care, closely following respiratory disorders (15 per cent) and cardiovascular disorders (11 per cent). As long ago as 1966, Shepherd and colleagues demonstrated that 14 per cent of consultations in general practice have an identified psychological component, and that most of this morbidity is depression and anxiety.

A simple look at the logistics of general practice makes it clear that the general practitioner cannot handle this alone. The challenge, therefore, is to see how best the primary care team can be deployed to meet this huge task and what resources can be used to supplement and support the team.

Recently, the most frequent resource used by GPs to tackle non-psychotic psychiatric morbidity is the use of counsellors, who are often employed directly by the GP to take referrals within the practice. This development has grown remarkably rapidly over the last few years, and the time is ripe to examine closely the role of counsellors in general practice. This book has been conceived and written in an attempt to provide a detailed account of the issues surrounding counselling in general practice today, and arose from a National Conference on Counselling in General Practice held in May 1989. It is a guide for general practitioners, counsellors and other members of the primary care team.

The book includes chapters on the research showing the extent of psychiatric and psychological disorders in primary care, a more detailed description of what counselling is, the ethics of counselling, details of whether counselling has been shown to bring about client improvement and how to evaluate a

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