iapt-self-help-good-practice-guide (PDF)

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Iapt banner to go here Good practice guidance on the use of self-help materials within IAPT services March 2010 Foreword This guide was produced following an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Conference held at the Queens Hotel in Leeds in February 2009. The conference had been organised in response to feedback from services and those attending training courses expressing a need for expert guidance on the use of self-help materials given the wide range of different materials and media all purporting to offer helpful advice and information to people about a range of problems and disorders. A conference was organised with expert researchers and practitioners who had experience of developing self-help materials in order to discuss whether guidance should be forthcoming and in which form it should take. Rather than endorsing particular self-help materials that are available, the conference focused on attempting to derive a set of criteria by which both practitioners and people might be able to assess the utility and effectiveness of particular materials. It was agreed that these principles might provide the basis for a ‘Good Practice Guide’ about how to choose and use self-help materials. This guide has been written by the contributors to the conference (listed in Annex 1). Presentations from the conference are also available on the IAPT website (www.iapt.nhs.uk). Professor Graham Turpin IAPT National Advisor, Education and Training and Self Help Good Practice Guide Practice Editor. Acknowledgement We would like to thank the former Care Services Improvement Partnership, in particular Roslyn Hope and Amy Vollans, for their support in organising the conference and to Steve Pilling and Clare Taylor from the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health for editorial advice. 1 Contents I Introduction 3 II What are low-intensity psychological interventions? 6 Psychological well-being practitioners The content of low-intensity treatments The duration of low-intensity treatments The delivery of low-intensity treatments Supporting low-intensity treatments III How to choose effective self-help materials 10 Addressing the potential for CBT self-help to do harm Self-help books: specific factors, common factors and personal experience What to look for when considering self-help materials What do people with common mental health problems find helpful? Promoting self-management and appraising resources IV Good practice in how self-help is delivered 21 Using different media and modes to deliver CBT self-help Specific role of the telephone in guided self-help and low intensity interventions V Self-help and community engagement 25 How to engage with communities in promoting self-help and resilience: the work of STEPS VI Conclusions and recommendations 29 VI References 30 Annex I: Contributors Annex II: A Quality Standards Framework for Assessing Self-Help Materials 2 I Introduction Bibliotherapy and self-help books and leaflets have been around for as long as psychotherapy has existed. For example, Psycho-analysis for Normal People by Geraldine Coster was published in 1926 and as well as educating the reader about Freud, attempted to distil Freud’s psychodynamic theory into a series of helpful hints and advice for non-professionals, especially parents. Self-help publications have continued to fill ever-burgeoning bookshop shelves, usually under the headings of ‘Health and Well-being’ or ‘Self-help’. Many charities and organisations, including the NHS, have sought to produce information booklets and leaflets. This is seen as good practice and services are generally encouraged to provide accessible information to people about their condition and its treatment (Department of Health, 2001; King’s Fund, 2003). Indeed, some mental health services have pioneered the development of self-help information and developed information sheets that have been used nationally (for example, http://www.ntw.nhs.uk/pic/leaflet.php?s=selfhelp ) and more recently NICE has provided patient information to support the publication of their clinical guidelines. (For example see: http://guidance.nice.org.uk/CG90/PublicInfo/pdf/English .) Self-help materials have come to be seen both as psychological interventions in their own right or also as an adjunct to therapist-delivered care; this guide is primarily concerned with the former. Such interventions have often been referred to as ‘psychoeducation’ or bibliotherapy. Psychoeducation is a more general approach involving the provision of therapeutic information, which could include written materials, support and advice from professionals, and also group discussion and teaching sessions. Practitioners have also promoted bibliotherapy, defined here as the unsupported use of written materials, and at the same time quality assured or specifically endorsed those self-help books and materials considered to be effective. This type of development is often referred to as a ‘book prescription scheme or service’ and was pioneered some years ago by Neil Frude with the involvement of public lending libraries in the Cardiff area (http://www.fiveareas.com/bookprescriptionschemes/). In addition to self-help books and leaflets, a range of cassette tapes, DVDs and computer programmes (CD-ROM or web-based) are now available. There are several UK compendiums of self-help materials including a guide to the delivery of self-help CBT for services produced by Bexley Care Trust (www.mindinbexley.org.uk) and the self-help resource directory from the University of Huddersfield (www2.hud.ac.uk/ hhs/mhrg/2008_self_help_directory.pdf). So what constitutes self-help? Lucock has defined Guided Self-Help (GSH) as a structured treatment method with which the patient can help themselves with some support from another person. There is a distinction between simply providing information to people and providing guided self-help. GSH is a more structured approach which requires the recipient to work with the contents of the self-help material to overcome their problems and achieve their goals. Most current recommended self-help approaches use a cognitive, behavioural or problem-solving approach. 3 Although guided self-help interventions can vary a great deal, particularly in terms of number and length of sessions, we suggest the following main elements of guided self- help are: • Engaging the person in guided self-help • Identifying key problems and goals to work on • Identifying appropriate self-help materials • Supporting the person in their efforts to change • Review progress and the need for further help • Use of assessment and outcome measures to help assessment and review of progress The guidance may be provided face to face or by telephone, email or websites. It is important to be flexible and innovative in the type of self-help materials and the support given. These principles are discussed further in materials produced for the Look SHARP self-help in primary care project (Lawson et al., 2009). Various different aspects of self-help have been extensively evaluated and systematically reviewed for anxiety (Bower et al, 2001; Gellatly et al, 2007; Hirai & Clum, 2006) and depression ((Anderson et al, 2005; Gellatly et al, 2007; Gregory et al, 2004) and has been endorsed as an intervention for mild to moderate anxiety and depression by a series of NICE recommendations (NICE, 2004; NICE, 2006b; NICE, 2009a; NICE,2009b). Accordingly, it has become a major component of ‘low-intensity’ interventions for common mental health problems, which contribute to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Programme (low-intensity interventions are discussed more fully in the section below). Self-help materials along with service user or patient support groups1 and community education have also been primary features of programmes targeting depression in Scotland and pioneered by Chris Williams and Jim White. However, there has been debate about the effectiveness of psychoeducation or bibliotherapy and whether some forms of self-help materials are more effective than others (Richardson et al, 2008). The research evidence suggests that guided self-help where a practitioner is involved in supporting or coaching the person is far more effective than the provision of information alone (Gellatly et al. 2007). Nevertheless, bibliotherapy 1 How we refer to people using IAPT services is a difficult and contentious issue. Unlike people with enduring mental health problems who may construe themselves as service users or survivors, many people being treated in IAPT services having been referred by their GP will either consider themselves as patients or people. Many therapists will regard them as clients. Hence, there is no universally agreed term. We have used the terms either “people” or “patients” in this guide to be consistent with other IAPT teaching materials that have been made available for PWPs. 4 and internet delivered CBT for social anxiety has been shown to be effective without direct therapist contact (Furmack, et al., 2009). So it would appear that how self-help is provided may determine its efficacy. Moreover, it is likely that for some disorders such as PTSD, self-help or psychoeducational approaches may be ineffective (Scholes et al, 2007) or even potentially harmful (Wessely et al, 2008). It should also be remembered that there may be individual differences in cognitive style or personality as to whether people want to be informed about their problems and how they might cope better. Within physical health care there is an extensive literature about individual differences in coping with invasive medical procedures (Ludwick-Rosenthal & Neufeld,1988). Recently, an analogue study of self-help in undergraduate students suggested that exposure to self-help materials for students with a tendency to ruminate could actually lead to negative consequences for their mood and wellbeing (Haeffel, 2010). Whether this generalises to more clinical settings has yet to be studied. Within the context of developing IAPT services, it would seem superficially that the use of self-help materials by both services and education providers should not be a demanding task given the choice of the myriad of such materials that are now commercially available.2 However, choice is the essence of the problem and many IAPT services have reported not knowing which materials are effective and should be employed within their local services. As discussed in the Foreword, this was the impetus for organising a conference on self-help and IAPT and also for developing this guide. The following chapters discuss a range of issues surrounding the effective deployment of self-help strategies and materials. They have been written collectively by the original contributors to the conference, as listed in Annex I. 2 This guide has deliberately avoided endorsing or recommending any particular self-help products. However, it is hoped that after reading this guide a professional will be sufficiently knowledgeable to employ the principles identified herein to evaluate the utility of those particular products referenced within the text. We would suggest that such choices are made in discussion with individual patients. Indeed, we plan to provide a simplified and shortened digest based on this guide for both people using and providing services. It should also be read in conjunction with the other IAPT instructional manuals for students, lecturers and supervisors. 5 II What are low-intensity psychological interventions? Low-intensity psychological interventions are multi-dimensional, encompassing different elements of content, duration and delivery. A low-intensity intervention, such as self- help, may use simple or ‘single strand’ approaches that are less complex to undertake than formal psychotherapy; contact with people is generally briefer than in other forms of therapy and can be delivered by paraprofessionals or peer supporters using non- traditional methods such as the telephone or the internet. Low-intensity psychological interventions do not exist as a separate entity, remote from other mental health services. Rather, they are embedded in systems of treatment delivery, which ensures that people receive the intervention that is most appropriate for their needs. The principal system is stepped care, although other ways of organising low-intensity treatment, such as ‘collaborative care’, do exist. The provision of low-intensity psychological interventions gives people choice and flexibility. Such interventions are designed to increase access to evidence-based psychological treatments on the understanding that many people will derive benefit without recourse to a more intensive psychological therapy programme. Low-intensity psychological interventions are delivered on the explicit premise that people are the best managers of their own mental health. Workers who deliver these treatments support people in using evidence-based information to regain their self- management abilities, where these have been adversely affected by mental distress. The intervention involves giving information to people about their mental health problems and ways to overcome them. It also involves helping people through a supportive therapeutic alliance to make the best use of both this information and their own strengths. Psychological well-being practitioners Low-intensity workers have been referred to by a number of job names including coach, case manager, graduate worker and self-help support worker. The preferred job title used by IAPT is the psychological well-being practitioner (PWP). Psychological well- being practitioners, as well as offering guided self-help, may also spend time organising additional support from external agencies and liaising between these agencies and the person (i.e. ‘sign posting’). This may also involve promoting good community engagement, especially for people who may be difficult to engage. PWPs may also be involved in working with GPs and other staff to help primary care deliver the best service. This ‘case management’ can require considerable liaison skills. PWPs also support people who wish to take medication, such as antidepressants, for their emotional problems. This involves supporting people to make a fully informed decision and, having done so, to ensure that they know how to take their medication in such a way that maximises its effects. PWPs are also able to educate people about unwanted effects and their likely course and duration, bearing in mind that at all times the prescriber, usually a GP, retains full responsibility for the medical management of the person’s care. 6 Careful supervision is required in order to monitor the progress of all people included within the PWP’s caseload. This is an essential component of the low-intensity clinical method (see later) and is done through collecting routine outcome measures at each clinical contact and using these measures as feedback during treatment and as part of clinical supervision. Such monitoring allows decisions to be taken about ‘stepping up’ to more intensive interventions, iif a person is not making the expected progress or is deteriorating. This self-correcting mechanism is essential to effective self-help. Although supervision has many functions, low-intensity work requires a particular form of supervision called ‘clinical case management’ supervision. Clinical case management supervision is patient-centred and should incorporate the review of individual clinical outcomes and focus on helping workers manage their whole caseload by discussing individual cases at pre-determined intervals. (See the IAPT Good Practice Guide on Supervision: http://www.iapt.nhs.uk/2008/12/17/iapt-supervision-guidance; A specific manual for PWP supervisors is due to be published through IAPT in spring 2010). The content of low-intensity treatments At the time of writing, the only substantial evidence for self-help based low-intensity interventions is for those informed by cognitive-behavioural principles. Non-CBT based low-intensity treatments have either been shown to be ineffective or as yet have no evidence base. Accordingly, low-intensity CBT interventions focus on the use of CBT self-help materials and techniques, which emphasize the interaction between physical, behavioural and cognitive symptoms, and the value of between-session homework. Single strand interventions include those that address the physical or autonomic aspects of a person’s difficulties, such as approaches to improve sleep, diet or mood. Behavioural interventions include behavioural activation for depression, graded exposure for phobic anxiety and exercise for depression. Cognitive techniques include some of the simpler cognitive restructuring methods to identify and redress negative automatic thoughts and thinking errors. Other interventions include problem solving techniques. The content of effective self-help materials should, therefore, explicitly refer to these principles and include exercises that help people overcome the cognitive- behavioural factors maintaining their difficulties. In low-intensity working, the self-help materials are the focus of treatment, rather than an adjunct The duration of low-intensity treatments Compared with traditional psychological therapies, low-intensity treatments are typically limited in terms of the amount of time the practitioner is in contact with a person. This can be because people are seen for a shorter amount of time in each contact (ie typically less than the traditional one hour session) or for fewer sessions overall. If treatment is being delivered via the telephone or email or by using computerised CBT (see below) this too will also reduce the amount of contact time. There is no arbitrary ‘session limit’ to low-intensity CBT. Evidence from the IAPT demonstration site in Doncaster showed that the mean number of sessions was around five per person, but some people had considerably fewer sessions and others many 7 more. Low-intensity treatment should be continued until there is no reason to do so, either because the person has benefited as much as can be expected. Where people have shown no signs of likely benefit from low-intensity treatment, PWPs should consider within supervision offering to ‘step them up’ to a high-intensity treatment. The delivery of low-intensity treatments PWPs delivering low-intensity treatments carry out their work using a variety of flexible and accessible formats. Although face-to-face working is part of this, the use of the telephone, email, groups and computerised CBT all improve access and choice. Many people are unable to access scheduled face to face appointments and there is evidence of delivering therapy remotely by the use of the internet or telephone (Bee et al, 2008; Car & Sheikh, 2003) Low-intensity interventions are also designed so that people without formal healthcare professional or CBT therapist qualifications can deliver treatment. Nonetheless, specific training in the low-intensity method is known to predict better outcomes (Bower et al, 2006). PWPs are specifically trained to deliver low-intensity interventions through the IAPT national curriculum and as such are well trained and highly qualified for the role. It is also known that practitioners who are trained in how to introduce and support self-help feel more confident and are more positive about self-help than others who have not been trained (Keeley et al, 2002). Supporting low-intensity treatments and PWPs The content of low-intensity treatment can be seen as the ‘specific factors’ in a psychological treatment programme. PWPs also have to develop considerable expertise in the ‘common factors’ associated with effective psychological interventions. These include strategies to establish, develop and maintain the therapeutic alliance, such as warmth, empathy, listening skills, reflection, summarising, questioning skills and the ability to problem solve collaboratively any difficulties in the person’s treatment plan or the relationship between the PWP and the person. See Part III for further discussion of specific and common factors. Supervision, particularly clinical case management supervision, supports PWPs’ decision making and treatment delivery. It should be conducted weekly and include a review of case load numbers and a discussion of the following: all new people; those that have high clinical measures scores; all people who reach various stages in treatment (4, 8 and 12 weeks); those whom the PWP feels are ready for discharge; those who are causing the PWP difficulty through issues of potential risk or other factors; and those who have not attended appointments or with whom the PWP has lost contact. Notification of these people during supervision sessions is best achieved through automated IT-based patient management programmes so that supervisors and PWPs can have access to the same algorithm-defined lists, which are generated weekly. PWPs also need to be given supervision and support to develop and maintain their clinical skills; such skills development could be provided through more traditional individual or group clinical supervision sessions. 8 Further support to PWP working is provided by the stepped care system. Low-intensity interventions are best delivered in a workplace that comprises qualified low-intensity workers, low-intensity trainees, qualified high-intensity workers and high-intensity trainees. Stepping up people from low- to high-intensity is likely to be far more seamless if teams of low- and high-intensity workers operate from the same base in the same service. Such environments reduce the need for cross-service referral systems or multiple assessments and allow team discussions and supervision to occur more readily. In summary, low-intensity treatments are designed to be easily accessible, well utilised and acceptable to people. Compared to more formal psychotherapies, they take less time, are less intensive and can be delivered and supported by paraprofessional workers, albeit trained to a high level of specific competence in their delivery. Low- intensity interventions must be embedded in systems of support including high-quality therapeutic alliances, flexible delivery systems, clinical case management supervision and integrated stepped care systems. 9 III How to choose effective self-help materials In the first part of this ‘Good Practice Guide’ we looked at the growing evidence base surrounding the use of CBT-based self-help for the treatment of common mental health problems. However there are limits to this evidence base, and further research is required looking at the efficacy of self help both across the range of disorders and also the manner in which it might be delivered (i.e. guided vs unsupported, written vs internet etc). Consideration needs to be given to situations, therefore, when the evidence base does not exist, where self-help has not been convincingly demonstrated as effective or when it may even do harm. It also follows, therefore, that not all self-help materials may be effective and that different materials might be more or less suitable for individual patients. Within Part III, we deal, therefore, with the fundamental task facing PWPs and other therapists as to how they choose and select individual self-help books for particular patients. There are four sections. The first section challenges the notion of universal endorsement and that self-help will always be benign, and examines the potential for self-help books to cause harm. It is argued that there is an important need for more discriminating and evidence- informed prescribing. In some circumstances, the practitioner has to decide that self- help may not be warranted at all. The second section sets out the key components or factors that contribute to the effectiveness of self-help materials. The third section provides specific advice for PWPs to help them make choices between the myriad of titles available and to approach such selections in a systematic fashion. Finally, important factors regarding the content and presentation of self-help materials are discussed by a user perspective based upon a patient survey of self-help materials. Addressing the potential for CBT self-help to do harm The call to establish an evidence base before recommending self-help materials is not new. In 1978 the American Psychological Association (APA) established a self-help task force to address potential dangers of self-help (Rosen, 1976). These dangers were largely based on clinicians recommending self-help materials that had undergone very little, or often no, scientific testing. Rosen and the APA Task Force initially proposed that self-help books should undergo the same rigorous randomised controlled trials as other interventions. However, because of excessive costs and time in undertaking such trials for each title, a compromise position was later proposed. This suggested that all self- help books without a specific evidence base should include declarations that although not tested, they were based on treatment interventions that are accepted within clinical settings and furthermore should advise seeking professional help if the book is not successful. These recommendations, however, never came to fruition. Nevertheless, there does now exist an accumulation of research into the effectiveness of guided CBT self-help across a variety of common mental health problems such as depression (Anderson et al, 2005; Gellatly et al, 2007; Gregory et al, 2004); anxiety and depression (Bower et al, 2001; Den Boer et al, 2004); anxiety (Cuijpers & Schuurmans, 2007); bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder (Perkins et al, 2006); insomnia (Van 10 Straten & Cuijpers, 2009); mild alcohol misuse (Mains & Scogin, 2003); and panic disorder (Hirai & Clum, 2006). Demonstrated effectiveness, however, does not necessarily translate into availability and use. Many books that have been subjected to scientific testing using Randomised Control Trials (RCTSs), for conditions such as depression (e.g. Floyd et al, 2004; Jamison & Scogin, 1995) or panic (e.g. Febbraro et al, 1999; Febbraro, 2005; Gould & Clum, 1995; Hecker et al, 1996) are difficult to come by especially within the UK. Well researched books such as ‘Coping with Panic’ (Clum, 1990), ‘Managing Anxiety and Depression’ (Holdsworth & Paxton, 1999) and ‘What Should I Do? A Handy Guide to Managing Depression and Anxiety’ (Kennedy & Lovell, 2005) are often difficult to source. In recent years a move to using a professional consensus approach when recommending self-help books has been adopted, as evident in Books on Prescription Schemes (BoP) (Frude, 2004; Farrand, 2005) and in guides to self-help resources. Norcross and colleagues, for example, developed the Authoritative Guide to Self-Help Resources in Mental Health (2000) collating recommendations for self-help books from over 2,500 members of the APA. However, there are several reasons why professional opinion is not appropriate to inform the selection of self-help books (Richardson et al, 2008). As with recommendations from the general public, the actual popularity of any self-help title seems to influence whether a book is recommended. However a book’s popularity has more to do with the profile of the author or the publicity budgets of the publisher than a reflection of the evidence base of the book. Furthermore, personal recommendations are only as good as the extent to which the professional has actually fully read and assessed the recommended title. In addition, books that have been well evaluated and are easily available, may not necessarily feature in BoP schemes. Examples are titles such as ‘Stop Obsessing!’ (Foa & Wilson, 2001), ‘Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook’ (Antony & Swinson, 2000) and ‘Mastery of Your Anxiety and Panic’ (Barlow & Craske, 1989), which do not necessarily feature prominently. This raises the nature of the criteria that professional consensus panels adopt in order to recommend titles and whether there are based upon the strength of the underlining evidence base? The limitations highlighted above have led to a re-examination of the top 50 self-help books in the USA, not all of which are based on CBT (Redding et al, 2008). This review was based upon characteristics of self-help books previously reported to correspond to effectiveness (Glasgow & Rosen, 1978; Pardeck, 1993; Rosen 1981, 1987). Redding et al (2008) reported concern with 18% of the books considered to potentially provide iatrogenic advice. For example they cite how one CBT self-help title proposes extensive use of distraction techniques that could possibly worsen symptoms (Hannan & Tolin, 2005). It is essential, therefore, that self-help titles do not propose interventions unless adequate research points to their effectiveness (Redding et al, 2008). Furthermore they also highlight the example of another title that provides the following advice about exposure therapy: ‘If your anxiety feels like it’s starting to get unmanageable (above 5 on the anxiety scale) then you should temporarily retreat from the situation’ (Bourne, 11 2001, p. 143). This may contradict the advice that a PWP may give, which would be to encourage the patient to stay in the situation until their anxiety reduced by half. Before using any specific book, the PWP should carefully read the book for themselves and therefore ensure that any advice given within is consistent with advice that they themselves would provide. In summary, the belief that ‘self-administered treatment is at least benign’ (Floyd et al, 2004, pp. 115) is, at the very least, controversial. Greater consideration is required by all mental health practitioners before they recommend a specific CBT self-help book to patients. Self-help materials: specific factors, common factors and personal experience Our understanding of “self-help” materials is becoming increasingly more sophisticated and has extended beyond just the mere provision of written information. In their review of self-help books, Richardson and colleagues (2008) suggest that a second generation of self-help books should be specifically designed to ‘pay attention not only to their core evidence base but also to their ease of use – including their readability, their structure and their approach to engage readers’ (p. 551). In addition there are three factors that are essential for an effective self-help guide. These are: Specific factors: CBT has developed technical and specific ‘empirically grounded’ evidence-based therapeutic procedures that ‘work’. Indeed, it would seem that non-CBT based self-help books do not work (Gellatly et al, 2007). However, less than a quarter of the most easily accessed and popular 150 self-help books for depression are CBT based (Richardson et al, 2008). There are many self-help books, some on BoP lists, which do not include evidence-based procedures or, worse, give advice which might be positively harmful even in apparently evidenced-based books detailing CBT procedures (Redding et al, 2008). Choosing the ‘right’ book requires PWPs to engage in careful study and familiarisation to check that the advice is CBT-based and true to the principles therein. Specific CBT advice will relate directly to the disorder but common aspects of CBT such as the general cognitive emotional model, monitoring and self-assessment, and action orientated tasks and homework are likely to be common CBT specific factors. Common factors: CBT therapists have long recognised the importance of the therapeutic alliance. For example: “…the importance of the relationship between patient and therapist [is] the single factor which seems most relevant to the outcome of behaviour therapy.” (Meyer & Gelder, 1963, p26) “You will get further with a patient with a good therapeutic relationship and a lousy technique, than you will with good techniques and a lousy relationship” (Meyer. quoted in Bruch and Bond, 1998, p141). Recent work (Richardson and Richards, 2006) has questioned whether self-help books themselves can recreate some of these ‘common factors’ or whether these are the exclusive preserve of the human interaction between a person and a health worker. A detailed study (Richardson et al, 2010) of three of the most popular books with a range 12 of low, medium and high reading ages demonstrated that these books use more basic common factors such as empathy, warmth and genuineness rather than other sophisticated common factors such as flexibility and responsiveness, both strategies to improve ‘stickability’ in therapy. Common factors that are used to establish a therapeutic relationship with the reader are more prevalent in self-help books than those factors used to develop and maintain that relationship. In other words, it is easy to pick up self- help books for the first time, easier still to put them down and most difficult of all to pick them up again. Personal narratives: Narratives are used by people to describe their emotional distress-- when people describe their experiences they often use metaphors to convey a sense of struggle with their difficulties. People report positively on books that include narratives that echo their own experience (MacDonald et al, 2007). While stories of recovery are important in books (for example, Lovell & Richards, 2008), so are stories of struggle. Stories should give people hope but should not be so unrealistically positive that they appear false. Specific factors, common factors and personal narratives should be evenly balanced in any self-help book used by PWPs. Self-help materials, and the guidance that supports them, should use similar language and metaphors to those voiced by people to enhance communication and to maximise the resources people already bring with them. People might be self-therapists, but both books and workers must endeavor to redress prior beliefs about passivity and develop a working alliance with people that focuses on the self as the agent of change. Readibility, cultural appropriateness and accessibility. Studies of the large number of self-help books available (Martinez et al, 2008; Richardson et al, 2008) have shown that many have a complex structure and are written at above average literacy levels, and less than a quarter of them are CBT-based. Assessing and matching the readability of the materials to the literacy level of either the individual or the community is an important consideration in implementing any self-help intervention. Similarly, matching the language and cultural/ethnic representation of materials to local communities, together with adaptations for sensory (i.e. visual and hearing impairments) are also essential. In London, many IAPT self-help materials have been translated into languages frequently spoken in the community (http://www.workingforwellness.org.uk/resources/translated- materials/). Nevertheless, translation may not mean that the materials are culturally appropriate (Watts & Robjant, 2008). Moreover, services and PWP practitioners may first need to engage with communities and community leaders to understand their particular needs and how to access and engage the community (Jamieson & White, 2008) For example, in Newham although the diversity of languages spoken within the community was a major barrier, the relatively high level of illiteracy within people’s own language was even more problematic (Ben Wright, pers comm.. February 2010). Hence translating leaflets was not an effective strategy but recording self-help materials onto audio devices such as audio cassettes, CD Roms and MP3 players in a range of languages provided a much more accessible route than translation alone. In summary, PWPs should choose wisely when selecting self-help books and consider the following questions: 13 • Are they technically accurate? • Do they engage with people? • Do they develop and maintain that engagement? • Do they use the language of common factors to do so? • Do they use personal metaphors for emotional distress? • Do they use narratives to connect readers to real life experiences? • Do they help the person make connections between what they are reading and their own life • Do they provide a structure that encourages trying out what is learned and helping the person to review the outcomes? • Are they readable and culturally/disability? Given the fact that books will always struggle to fully replicate the more sophisticated common therapeutic techniques necessary to develop and maintain therapeutic relationships, these techniques need to be used specifically by PWPs themselves as part of the supportive relationship in guided self-help. The best way to do this is through the therapeutic relationship. Indeed, Khan and colleagues (2007) found that the development of an effective therapeutic alliance determines whether people subsequently use self-help. This goes a long way to help us understand why guided self-help is effective while non-guided work has a much more doubtful evidence base. There is clear evidence in both anxiety and depression that self-help materials alone are clinically ineffective (Gellatly et al, 2007; Hirai & Clum, 2006). The addition of guidance renders self-help effective, however, guidance alone will also be insufficient if the self- help book chosen is poorly written, contains inaccurate information or, worse, suggests harmful or non-evidence based procedures. The selection and use of self-help materials that are readable, engaging, factually accurate and reach out to people through believable narratives is a skilled activity requiring the right materials to be available at the right time with the right amount of guidance. Practitioners need to be supported to develop the skills to discriminate between materials and use them, appropriately guided by four principles: • To be informed by the evidence base • To provide a meaningful rationale for self-help materials • To provide the appropriate amount of support • To be supported within a system that conducts regular audit of materials. It is important to bear in mind, however, that the effectiveness of the intervention will often depend on the skill of the practitioner in identifying the right materials for individual people, and unless a systematic approach is taken, any benefits are likely to be serendipitous and may not be long lasting. Moreover even the best book will probably fail to work without the use of skilled support from a PWP. Central to this support is helping people move from a position of therapeutic passivity to one of active engagement with their own recovery. 14

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