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CBT Is Now Less Effective In Treating Depression

Posted on: 9th Jul 2015

Oliver Burkeman wrote in the Guardian this weekend about the findings of a study by Tom Johnsen and Oddgeir Friborg that was published in the Journal ‘Psychological Bulletin’ which concludes that CBT is roughly half as effective in treating depression as it used to be.

Both the research and Burkeman raise some interesting questions relating to the use of CBT – as do the comments following the article (well worth reading).  Whether our expectations as to whether CBT will ‘work’ have changed or in that CBT is now delivered by professionals with vastly differing levels of experience and training, it is becoming more apparent that CBT does not ‘cure’ everyone – nor is it the most appropriate therapy or ‘treatment’ for everyone with depression.

This is something that we at Eureka have been seeing for some time.  As our own Steve Morris observes, “CBT has always been criticised for not focussing on the behaviour part enough”.

This is something that our Eureka courses address as part of our psycho-education where we help people tackle negative paradigms; enabling them to acknowledge and accept their barriers as well as formulating a specific plan to move forward.

Within our psycho-education we also look at “flight, fight, freeze”, Attachment Theory and Transactional Analysis and it is the combination of all these, plus the way we work within our groups that makes such significant differences to the lives of those that come on the courses.

We believe that CBT still has a place as a useful theory but it is not the answer to everything – it is certainly not a ‘one size fits all’ (and fits the budget) solution that will make everyone ‘happy’.   Then we have to look at how one defines ‘happy’ in the middle of 2015 – and that will make a whole new blog post.

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