Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 40, Issue 5, May 2011

Depression in general practice Consultation duration and problem solving therapy

David Pierce Jane Gunn
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General practitioners have expressed concern that consultations offering psychological therapy approaches will take up too much time. However, problem solving therapy (PST) for depression may be able to be used within the time constraints of general practice. This study investigates whether GPs’ concerns that PST would result in unacceptably long consultations are justified.
This research suggests that GPs can provide an evidence supported psychological treatment for depression within the time constraints of routine practice. The structured nature of PST may allow GPs to provide additional mental healthcare for depression, without significantly increasing consultation duration. It suggests GPs’ concerns about the time PST may take up in practice may be unjustified and that further research into the use of PST in routine general practice should be undertaken.
Twenty-four GPs participated. Problem solving therapy skill increased markedly, but mean consultation duration changed minimally: 17.3 minutes and 17.9 minutes

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