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I am a general practitioner interested in training in cognitive behaviour therapy. Are there any GPs who have done this who are working in sessions outside general practice in which they use CBT, and in which setting?

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 20 November 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:s206
  1. Philip Crocket, specialist registrar in psychotherapy and general adult psychiatry
  1. Grampian Primary Care


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Your question touches on a number of issues, each of which deserves mention.

Firstly, there is much interest in the use of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and related techniques in general practice. The evidence base about this is growing, although its conclusion is mixed. Some studies have proved the effectiveness of CBT provided by trained specialist therapists but in a primary care setting for conditions such as chronic back pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, and depressive illness, although results are by no means consistent across studies.

CBT and related techniques, such as problem solving treatments, have also been effective in some situations when delivered by general practitioners themselves. These include depressive illness and social phobia. This has important implications for future provision of mental health interventions within a community setting. However, a number of studies have shown difficulties in introducing CBT techniques to general practitioners and for them to integrate them with their usual practice.

Suffice to say that there are general practitioners who have trained and have gone on to use their skills outside the usual general practice clinic settings. For specific information about this, and other aspects of training in CBT and related therapies, I would recommend that you use the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies website as a source (

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