Clinicians’ Views of Computer-Guided CBT in Adult Mental Health and Factors Related to Referrals
Varley, Melissa C.
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Objectives: Computer-guided CBT could help to increase much needed access to lowintensity psychological interventions. Evidence for effectiveness has led to the inclusion of certain packages in NICE guidelines but application in clinical settings is unclear. Low uptake and high dropout suggest problems with acceptability and barriers to uptake. Studies neglect to report on acceptability to clinicians despite indications that clinicianrelated variables and attitudes could influence their use of CCBT. This study investigates clinicians‟ views of CCBT and factors related to referring to it, following experience of low referrals to a CCBT pilot, with the aim of learning more about barriers to access and how this might be improved. Method: A mixed quantitative and qualitative design was used. An online survey was developed to gather views on CCBT, its implementation and demographic information. This was sent to a sample of clinicians in the clinical psychology department, mental health nurses and general practitioners, some of whom were involved in the CCBT pilot project and some not. Descriptive statistics, non-parametric correlations, chi-squared analyses and framework thematic analysis was carried out on 72 completed surveys. Results: Most clinicians identified both benefits and concerns of CCBT. Most approved of CCBT but likelihood to refer varied and many preferred to offer other interventions. Clinician-related variables associated with likelihood to refer were whether clinicians saw mild to moderate cases, approval of CCBT and perceived patient uptake. Views regarding the effectiveness of CCBT influenced choices to offer it, with negative beliefs about effectiveness including a perceived need for human contact. There was moderate interest in receiving CCBT training. Most thought it should be accessed widely, with some concern raised about access in public settings. Although GPs were not involved in the CCBT pilot, many expressed interest in receiving training and referring. Conclusions: Clinicians‟ views of CCBT are mixed and some believe it is ineffective and unacceptable to patients, which influences their decisions to offer it. This includes perceptions about key aspects of therapy, such as human contact. Therefore some clinicians need more convincing of the CCBT evidence-base before they are likely to refer to it. Nevertheless there is moderate interest in using CCBT and more so in those seeing mild to moderate cases. CCBT may have a position in stepped care services but views of referrers should be considered and training offered. More research is needed on implementing CCBT, barriers to access and its role alongside other interventions.