Eight out of 10 people recover after CBT, claims study

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is helping almost eight out of 10 patients recover from depression or anxiety, according to a study.

New research states 76 per cent of depression sufferers who had CBT were either in recovery or remission, as were 74 per cent of anxiety sufferers

In all 2,795 patients finished CBT treatment at a Doncaster psychological therapies programme during the 12 months from August 2006

The Doncaster site is one of two piloting the government’s access to psychological therapies programme. Ministers have said the programme will “cure” 450,000 people of depression and anxiety.

Most of the Doncaster patients received CBT over the telephone, reported the study in this month’s British Journal of Clinical Psychology.

And most patients were given CBT by graduates or “workers recruited from the local community” who received “be-spoke” training in recovery.

Most people, some of whom were also on anti-depressants, received “low-intensity” CBT. Some had “high-intensity” treatment.

The average duration of a person’s CBT treatment was just 2 hours 45 minutes.

The government is expanding its psychological therapies programme to 115 sites around the country.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommends CBT as a first-line treatment for depression.

But some counsellors and psychotherapists argue that other forms of psychological therapy can be as effective as CBT.

The British Journal of Clinical Psychology study, entitled “Improving access to psychological therapies: Phase IV prospective cohort study”, did not control for any placebo effect.

Professor David Richards of the University of Exeter, who helped carried out the research, said: “Although follow-up data on these patients will be important to investigate the lasting effects of the treatment, our results tell us [this] is an effective way to give depression and anxiety suffers the psychological help they need.”

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