Treating Anxiety and Stress: Group Psycho-Educational Approach Using Brief CBT

Treating Anxiety and Stress: Group Psycho-Educational Approach Using Brief CBT

Treating Anxiety and Stress: Group Psycho-Educational Approach Using Brief CBT

Treating Anxiety and Stress: Group Psycho-Educational Approach Using Brief CBT

Synopsis

This book provides an introduction to Stress Control Method, a psycho-educational, didactic approach to therapy for anxiety and stress which has been developed and used extensively by the author and his colleagues.

Excerpt

The aim of this book is to describe a didactic, cognitive-behavioural group therapy approach to the anxiety disorders. 'Stress Control' is a robust sixsession 'evening class' designed for either small or large group format— anything between six and 60 on each course. It is designed to be flexible to better meet the needs of routine clinical work. The therapy has, as its basic premise, the goal of 'turning individuals into their own therapists'. It differs fundamentally from much therapy in that the role of the therapist becomes that of the teacher while the patient becomes the student. Reconceptualising roles in this way helps the individual to take responsibility for change and to attribute change to the individual's own coping skills rather than to the skill of the therapist. It is mainly used as a 'complete' therapy but can be used adjunctively with individual therapy. It is designed for the treatment of heterogeneous anxiety disorders and assumes the presence of comorbid problems, some of which are tackled in the course. It attempts to teach individuals to understand their problems within both a psychological and social context.

The approach is clinically effective and efficient and has been empirically tested. It attempts, within a 'scientist-practitioner' framework, to achieve the best compromise between best practice and best value in providing help to a large number of people. It relies heavily on the written material that accompanies the course. Course topics can be varied according to the composition of the group.

I devised the idea of large-group didactic therapy in the mid-1980s, for two reasons. Firstly, as a young clinical psychologist in the National Health Service, my colleagues and I were (and still are) inundated with referrals from family doctors asking for help with people with severe, chronic, highly comorbid and well-entrenched anxiety disorders. Long waiting lists were the inevitable result. Even so, these individuals constituted only the tip of the iceberg. It was clear that by continuing with almost exclusive reliance on individual therapy approaches, we could do little to offer any help to the vast majority of individuals who were deprived of the chance to receive appropriate mental health treatment. Secondly, I assumed that even if I

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