Effectiveness of Psychological Therapy for Anxiety and Depression

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Chris Mackey and Associates

Chris Mackey and Associates released the following information as a press release to numerous media outlets throughout Australia on September 1st, 2010.


New study supports clinical and cost effectiveness of psychological treatment under the Better Access Scheme

The Better Access (Medicare rebate) scheme funds psychologists and other mental health practitioners to offer treatment in private practice settings. The scheme has already been accessed by two million Australians, rendering it the most widely used form of mental health service provision in Australia, however it has not been without controversy. A number of prominent individuals within the mental health field have strongly asserted that the scheme is too expensive, of questionable effectiveness and targets the wrong people. However, such claims have been made ahead of any released evidence of the effectiveness or otherwise of the scheme and are in stark contrast to new findings released by Chris Mackey and Associates, an award-winning specialist psychology practice in Geelong.

Chris Mackey, Principal Psychologist of Chris Mackey and Associates, says, “Our study has provided the first substantial body of objective treatment outcome evaluation data on the Better Access scheme. It shows that well targeted psychological interventions, at least when offered by specialist psychologists, are likely to be both clinically and cost effective for a wide range of the most prevalent mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders and depression”.

Key findings (based on 525 adult client treatments) include:

  • The average client reduced their anxiety and depressive symptoms from a mild to moderate level at the start of treatment to a non-clinical level (normal range) by the end of treatment, thus showing good recovery from significant mental heatlh problems
  • The average length of treatment was 7.5 sessions, costing the taxpayer approximately $750 on average for each course of treatment sessions
  • Clients treated for Major Depressive Disorder without medication made an equivalent recovery to such clients treated with medication
  • The average client at the end of treatment fared better than 88% of those at the start of treatment with regard to depressive symptoms (better than 83% of those for anxiety)
  • Much improvement occurred within the first five to six sessions after which the average client reported mild distress just within the clinical range, showing a rapid response to treatment interventions
  • The average client improved from a low level of subjective wellbeing to an average level of subjective wellbeing suggesting that they were flourishing by the end of treatment

View detailed slides reporting more fully on our findings.

Chris Mackey and Associates have presented numerous research papers at national and international scientific conferences, including our recent research presentation on the Better Access scheme at the 11th International conference of the Australia and New Zealand Mental Health Association in Surfers’ Paradise on August 19th, 2010.

If you wish to have a telehealth appointment with one of our psychologists, please watch this video or click here.



Synchronicity and Data Collection (podcast)

Three Coping Alternatives for Long Term Distress (video)

When Facing a Crisis – The Four Stages of Change (video)