The Psychological Treatment of Depression: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

The Psychological Treatment of Depression: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

The Psychological Treatment of Depression: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

The Psychological Treatment of Depression: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Synopsis

'A clear, rigorous account of cognitive behavioural methods for treating depression.' - British Journal of Psychiatry

The use of behavioural and cognitive techniques for treating depression has yielded exciting results. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is as effective in the short term as anti-depressant drugs and has longer-lasting effects than medication. This book brings together assessment and treatment techniques of proven efficacy, describing them in usable detail and setting them in the context of current psychological theories of depression. It is an invaluable guide to practitioners wishing to make use of CBT.

Excerpt

It was not until the late 1960s and early 1970s that behavioural and cognitive approaches began to be applied in the treatment of clinical depression. Like the earlier applications of behavioural techniques for anxiety-based disorders, researchers have since used a variety of strategies to investigate efficacy and elucidate the factors affecting successful treatment outcome. Single case studies in the early writings have given way to treatment analogue studies and subsequently to larger scale outcome studies with clinical groups. There now exist several careful reviews of these studies. Although each of these points to areas in the outcome literature where there are problems in interpretation, the reviewers converge on the same conclusion: ‘Generally, behavioural and cognitive strategies can have a significant effect on depression’ (Rehm and Kornblith, 1979); ‘From these studies, there appears adequate evidence that depressives can respond to psychological intervention’ (Whitehead, 1979); ‘Several of the specific behavioural and cognitive-behavioural interventions appear to have survived initial tests of efficacy’ (Hollon, 1981).

These reviewers also agree that combinations of cognitive and behavioural techniques seem to be more effective in ameliorating depression than either alone and their conclusions suggest that clinicians may be optimistic in using such techniques or combinations of techniques in their therapeutic practice; but how to proceed? The problem is that, although some techniques have rationales and procedures which have been clearly documented by their proponents (e.g. the excellent Cognitive Therapy Manual by Beck et al., 1979), this is by no means true for all the techniques which the reviewers of outcome studies cite as being effective therapeutic strategies. Some techniques which hold out clear promise as effective practices are to be found only in partial descriptions, scattered throughout the behavioural literature. When such studies are reviewed, the reviewer rarely has sufficient space to give more than one or two sentences to describe the technique under consideration. We end up knowing something of what might be most therapeutic for our clients, but little or nothing about how to go about it. It is to help fill this gap that this book has been written.

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