Talk therapy for the depressed 'could be wasting millions', say psychotherapists

Depression sufferers may not be receiving the most suitable treatment because of a Government obsession with one type of therapy, warn leading psychotherapists.

The idea that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is more effective than other methods is a 'myth', they claim.

Last year Health Secretary Alan Johnson announced that by 2010, the Government would spend £173million a year on CBT. Rather than using drugs to treat depression and other mental health disorders, CBT involves talking through issues. Instead of investigating the causes of mental health problems, it explores how a patient thinks about the world, with the aim of changing their thinking and actions to relieve distress and symptoms.

For example, a patient having a bad day feels low and goes out to the shops, where they meet someone they know who apparently ignores them. CBT offers alternative ways of looking at the situation so the patient does not jump to the conclusion they are being ignored, which leads to a vicious circle of lower self-esteem. Instead the patient is encouraged to think about the other person's feelings, and what helpful actions could be used to make the situation better.

But leading psychotherapy experts at an international conference at the University of East Anglia will today demand a wider range of therapies on the NHS.

While acknowledging CBT's value, they believe it is receiving the lion's share of funding to the exclusion of other treatments, which they claim are equally effective and, for some patients, better.

Professor Mick Cooper of the University of Strathclyde said: 'The Government's decision to spend £173million on CBT can only be applauded, but not all clients will benefit from that approach.

Source - Daily Mail

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