Angelo Brieussel, MA, MSc, MBACP ~
Counselling, Psychotherapy, & Clinical Supervision

Effectiveness of Counselling and Psychotherapy

Research studies consistently find that clients are better off after therapy than before. Studies that ask clients to rate how they are feeling before and after therapy using psychological questionnaires consistently show that clients, on average, rate themselves as less psychologically distressed after therapy as compared to before it.

Mick Cooper, researcher and practitioner at the University of Strathclyde Glasgow, has found that:

  • "There is unequivocal evidence that, on average, psychological therapies have a positive effect on people’s mental health and wellbeing.

  • Overall, the average impact of counselling and psychotherapy is large, with […] almost eight out of ten individuals who participate in counselling or psychotherapy improve to a greater extent than the average person who does not participate in therapy.

  • Overall, around 60 per cent of clients who are diagnosable with a clinical disorder at the commencement of therapy will be diagnosis-free by the end of it.

  • Around ten to twenty sessions of therapy are required for 50 per cent of clients to show clinical improvement. The more therapy clients have, the more they tend to improve; but the amount of improvement they experience tends to decrease over time.

  • Talking therapies are generally as effective as pharmacological treatments for psychological distress, and seem to have lower relapse and drop-out rates.

  • Counselling and psychotherapy are relatively cost-effective forms of mental health treatment – particularly for more psychologically distressed individuals – with an economic advantage above their contribution to psychological health and wellbeing.”


(Source:  Essential Research Findings in Counselling and Psychotherapy: The Facts are Friendly, Mick Cooper, SAGE Publications 2008, pages 34-35).