Personal Views

The truth is out there

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 13 December 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1629
  1. Anita Forrest, general practitioner
  1. Manchester

    I discovered the potential of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) while suffering from a depressive illness that proved to be resistant to a wide range of physical treatments. My illness was regarded as largely biological in origin but after 18 months of treatment, including 12 weeks as an inpatient and several combinations of medication, it was suggested that I might find CBT beneficial.

    I had little idea of what cognitive therapy involved, but I understood it to be a pragmatic problem solving treatment rather than one which involved delving into the dark recesses of my past. I had already had a single session of the dark recesses variety and neither I nor the therapist felt that this type of therapy was likely to be of any benefit to me. Unlike many forms of psychotherapy CBT is collaborative. The patient and therapist work together to clarify problems and suggest possible solutions. It is then left largely to the patient to try out these solutions as homework and discuss the outcome at the next therapy session.

    The behavioural element of CBT aims to modify dysfunctional behaviour …

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