Efficacy of Psychological Interventions for Common mental disorders: a randomized controlled trial

  • Poulsen, Stig Bernt (PI (principal investigator))
  • Østergård, Ole Karkov (Projektdeltager)
  • Hjorthøj, Carsten (CoI (co-investigator))
  • Reinholdt-Dunne, Marie Louise (Projektdeltager)
  • Nielsen, Jan (Projektdeltager)



Background and aims: Mental problems such as anxiety and depression are the main course of sick leave and early retirement in Denmark. Most of these non-psychiatric patients are treated by a psychologist in private practice after a referral from the general practitioner. Danish Regions pay around 60% of the treatment cost, which in 2018 summed up to DKK 233,100,000. Although international research indicates that psychotherapy can help this group of patients, it is unclear whether the treatment offered in Denmark improves the symptoms and functioning of the patients. Therefore, the study’s primary aim is to investigate the effect of psychotherapeutic treatment in private practice in Denmark compared to a waiting list control group.
Method: The study has a randomized controlled trail (RCT) design. A random number generator with a 1:1 allocation ratio will allocate approximately 200 patients referred by their general practitioner (GP) to one of two groups: a) Psychologist treatment with treatment starting within 14 days, or b) placement on waiting list for psychologist treatment with treatment starting 16 weeks after referral. Primary outcome measures will be the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7). The primary outcome will be measured as reliable remission (i.e., recovery) sixteen weeks after treatment start. Outcomes will also be measured at follow-up.
Planned publications and perspectives: The research project will result in at least two publications in international peer-reviewed journals. Firstly, a research protocol outlining the aims, design, and method, and secondly, a paper on the effect of psychotherapeutic treatment in private practice in Denmark compared to a waiting list control group. A third paper might investigate potential predictors and moderators of the treatment effect. When the research project is completed, it will establish evidence for the government-supported psychological treatment in private practice in Denmark. It can be of great importance for the use of psychotherapeutic treatment in Denmark and internationally, as randomized controlled trials of this type of treatment are currently lacking.
Effektiv start/slut dato01/04/202231/01/2026


  • University of Copenhagen
  • Danske Regioner
  • Danish Psychological Association


Udforsk forskningsemnerne, som dette projekt berører. Disse etiketter er oprettet på grundlag af de underliggende bevillinger/legater. Sammen danner de et unikt fingerprint.