Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy: Research and Practice in Health and Social Care

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy: Research and Practice in Health and Social Care

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy: Research and Practice in Health and Social Care

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy: Research and Practice in Health and Social Care


Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) has been extensively researched and shown to be solidly underpinned by evidence. Broadly applicable across a wide range of personal and social problems - from depression and phobias to child behavioural problems - it is only now beginning to be used to its full potential in health and social care practice.

This second edition of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy is comprehensively revised and updated. It takes into account the significant amount of new research in the discipline, and integrates theory, research and practice. The text includes plentiful case studies from across health and social care to illustrate particular approaches, different problems and different professional circumstances. Topics covered include:

  • a discussion of the development and distinctive features of CBT;
  • a comprehensive review of research on learning and cognition, examining the therapeutic implications of these studies;
  • a thorough guide to assessment and therapeutic procedures, including methods of evaluation;
  • illustrations of the main methods of helping with case examples from social work, nursing and psychotherapy;
  • consideration of the ethical implications of such methods as part of mainstream practice.

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy is written in a lively and accessible style, and is designed to give a thorough grounding in cognitive-behavioural methods and their application. It is essential reading for students and professionals in psychology, social work, psychiatric nursing and psychotherapy.


This book is intended as a comprehensive guide to cognitive-behavioural approaches particularly in the fields of health and social care. One can readily think of a range of helping professionals who may find it useful – social workers, psychiatric nurses, occupational therapists – but a new body of specialist, cognitive-behavioural therapists is emerging who see this as their main job, not as a subsidiary part of their professional duties, and it is intended for them too.

Although it started out as a second edition of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (Sheldon 1995), that book was aimed mainly at social workers who were then dragging their feet a little as to whether they could build CBT approaches into their practice (I confess some considerable loyalty to them but I’m now advocating a coalition). For now, when health and social care professionals are in ever closer cooperation, and the ‘tribal customs’ seem less worth defending than before, we have a chance to integrate services as never before, with considerable backing from research, and not just out of political convenience.

Dedicated graduate and postgraduate courses are now taking off at last, and this volume may be of some use to them and to psychologists whose courses have not always contained very much of this material. There may be a few GPs who would like to know more about what they are hoping to prescribe against the bureaucratic odds, and recently two of them plus a consultant anaesthetist attended my multi-disciplinary course in CBT, something to be celebrated I think.

The precepts which have informed me in writing this book are as follows: (1) that there is too much of a divide between academic research on the effectiveness of approaches, and routine clinical practice – with all its compromises and distractions. Therefore I have tried to write a ‘real-world’ text with real case examples; (2) much CBT practice (particularly when privately funded or on a contract) is carried out in consulting rooms and is, effectively, cognitive therapy with a ‘homework’ assignment or two. On the research evidence, and given the history of psychotherapy, this is a mistake. That a ‘cognitive revolution’ has occurred is without doubt, but less talked about is the ‘behavioural revolution’ which has influenced cognitive therapy. This book takes an integrated approach to human experience, both regarding what has gone wrong, and the prospects for recovery and rehabilitation. Thus, thinking, emotion and behaviour should never be artificially separated, or one or other element privileged over the others; (3) nor should helping professionals with an interest in these techniques, nor free-standing CBT professionals, ever allow themselves to be classified as ‘psychological technicians’. They need to know about how this amalgam was developed; how well its approaches stand up to experimental scrutiny and to systematic reviews; what they are clearly good for, and what they might be good for if sympathetically adapted in the future.

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