Therapists’ anger at NHS “downplaying” of counselling and psychotherapy

Psychotherapists and counsellors are angry that the NHS is doubting the efficacy of counselling and psychotherapy for depression.

National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) 2004 guidelines on the treatment of depression prioritise CBT and interpersonal therapy for depression.

But the clinical advisory body also recommends counselling and psychodynamic psychotherapy for mild to moderate depression.

But NICE’s new draft revised guidelines state patients should be explained about the “uncertainty” of the effectiveness of counselling and short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy for depression.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) has accused NICE of unjustifiably “downplaying” counselling and psychotherapy and denying patient choice.

“While the tone of these statements does not inspire confidence in counselling and psychotherapy, the impact on choice of therapy is of major concern,” said Lynne Gabriel, chair of BACP.

Dr Gabriel said the BACP would make a “robust” response to NICE.

She said: “In our response, we will question the rationale and methodology that informs the NICE downgrading of counselling and psychotherapy as therapies of choice for mild to moderate depression.”

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