Friday, 14 December 2012

Can I have some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy please?

I heard a true story last week, about someone going to a GP surgery and specifically asking for CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). The person was feeling down because of something that had happened in their life, and decided they didn't want to take medication, but they would like to give CBT a go. But no CBT counsellors were available, only online CBT sessions (I'm not quite sure what these would involve). Anyway, online therapy was not what this particular patient wanted. She went away disappointed and still depressed.

We know there are plans and good intentions to increase the number of talking therapies made available to people via their says so in the new law, the Mental Health (Wales) Measure. The problem seems to be that currently the supply just doesn't meet the demand.  So people are left feeling a little bit cheated and frustrated (alongside the original mental distress they went to their GP with). When you're feeling depressed, you want help now, not six months or a year later. 

The fact is that CBT does work for some people, according to a recent study in The Lancet.   You can find out more on this BBC webpage. 

I can't help wondering, what are the issues with providing CBT counsellors? Is it about... money to pay for them? Or finding suitably qualified people? Or... just that this is one of a thousand tasks the NHS in Wales have to sort out, and so far it's only at 579 on the list.... (so that comes down to money again....) 

If you've tried to access CBT through your GP surgery - we'd be interested to know how you got on.

Meanwhile, you can find out more and watch a video about CBT here, and read a CBT flyer on The Royal College of Psychiatrists webpage.

For the full report from The Lancet, click here.


  1. I'm a recently qualified counsellor and I agree it's a really frustrating and distressing situation that counselling (CBT and other types) isn't more accessible via the GP due to very long waiting lists or in some cases, no counsellor even in post.

    I'm fairly sure it's not because of a lack of available counsellors. My experience is that there aren't many counselling jobs advertised in the county. There are plenty of us graduating from Coleg Powys each year!

    Counselling including CBT, is available through voluntary organisations, such as Ponthafren in Newtown(where I volunteer)and Welshpool.

    I have heard good reports of some online CBT resources and there is a very good book people can use called "Mind Over Mood".

    1. Hi Sorelle.
      With you all the way. There will never be enough resources for talking therapies as long as pharmaceutical companies hold the power. It is time to stop relying on medication as the first resort for mental distress. OK it has it's use at times but it is not the 'cure all' we have all been led to believe over past decades.


    This is a thought provoking article on how NICE are reviewing talking therapies.

  3. Hello! I will be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about cognitive behavioral therapy. I am glad to stop by your site and know more about cognitive behavioral therapy. Keep it up! This is a good read.
    There are different protocols for delivering cognitive behavioral therapy, with important similarities among them. Use of the term CBT may refer to different interventions, including "self-instructions (e.g. distraction, imagery, motivational self-talk), relaxation and/or biofeedback, development of adaptive coping strategies (e.g. minimizing negative or self-defeating thoughts), changing maladaptive beliefs about pain, and goal setting".[5] Treatment is sometimes manualized, with brief, direct, and time-limited treatments for individual psychological disorders that are specific technique-driven. CBT is used in both individual and group settings, and the techniques are often adapted for self-help applications. Some clinicians and researchers are cognitively oriented (e.g. cognitive restructuring), while others are more behaviorally oriented (e.g. in vivo exposure therapy). Interventions such as imaginal exposure therapy combine both approaches.
    Always believe in the power of positive thinking.

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  4. Hello! I really do appreciate the frustration felt by those that need a talking therapy and have to wait. I am a private practitioner providing CBT in Mid-Wales. I recently had a client who went to her GP and was unable to access any CBT without a long wait and then with strict limits to sessions. After some time she decided to go privately and felt let down that her GP had not suggested this as a possibility. I do realise that paying for therapy is not an option for many. I would also like to point out that many private therapists say that they do CBT and sound very convincing. However, there is a big difference between a day or even weeks training to completing a full CBT diploma (which takes over 1 year and leads you into practicing as a CBT Therapist not as a counsellor who does CBT). I would recommend that people require that their therapist has such a diploma to ensure that they are getting proper CBT. The BABCP website has lists of accredited CBTers, though there are many with CBT Diplomas without this accreditation that won't be on the their list.
    So, in answer to the initial post - yes, I think it is about money but there is also a problem of people saying they do CBT without the proper training, confusing what is actually being delivered.