The harms of psychotherapy: are BME and LGBT communities more at risk?
Keith Laws & Samei Huda; The Mental Elf; 26 April 2016
[Today’s blog on the potential harms of psychotherapy is a
joint effort. The first half (introduction, methods, results and
reflections) was written by Keith Laws and the second half (next steps
and J’Accuse) by Samei Huda.]
The emphasis on establishing the efficacy of psychological therapies
has historically consigned harms to a largely unchartered
hinterland. Information about both the risks as well as benefits,
however, is vital if patients are to make informed choices about whether
to engage in psychological treatment; in line with the NHS ambition of ‘No decision about me without me’.
We have quite recently seen a publicly funded trial of a
psychological intervention halted because of worryingly higher rates of
adverse events (overdose, self-harm and suicide attempts) in the
intervention arm of the trial (McMurran et al 2011). Two quite
different recent reviews (Vaughan et al, 2014; Jonsson et al, 2014) have
confirmed the low rates at which adverse events are monitored in randomised controlled trials of psychotherapy.
Most recently, a review of the final reports from National Institute
of Health Research (the main public funder of psychological therapy
trials in the UK), by Duggan and colleagues (2014)
found that not one trial of psychological therapy trial funded between
1995 and 2013 mentioned the occurrence of an adverse event (compared to
over two-thirds of RCTs involving drug treatments). ..."
Read complete blog post on the Mental Elf