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Recent research: half a dozen studies on cognitive therapy

Here are half a dozen recent studies involving cognitive therapy (CBT).  The first by Craigie et al explores the use of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) to treat generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).  Although, as one would expect, MBCT helped GAD sufferers, it was noteworthy that results "fall well short of outcomes achieved by past research".  This adds to my concern that mindfulness training may at times be being over-hyped - see a blog I wrote in September for for more on this.  The next study by Cuijpers et al also suggests limitations to the march of CBT with interpersonal psychotherapy looking a somewhat better candidate for prevention of depression onset.  I guess one could argue that CBT can - and probably more often should - include  behavioural interventions to promote improved relationships.  Click here for tools that can help this approach.   The third piece of research by Grey et al is exciting.  It challenges the Alice in Wonderland dodo bird suggestion that "everyone has won, and all must have prizes"

Handouts & questionnaires for “outcomes toolkit” (IAPT)

The "Improving Access to Psychological Therapies" (IAPT) initiative is very ambitious and exciting.  It states its principal aim is to support English Primary Care Trusts in implementing "National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence" (NICE) guidelines for people suffering from depression and anxiety disorders.  IAPT go on to say that "At present, only a quarter of the 6 million people in the UK with these conditions are in treatment, with debilitating effects on society."

One aspect of this carefully planned initiative is strong encouragement to assess and monitor the progress of those who are getting help.  Visiting the IAPT "Outcomes Toolkit and FAQ" web page provides access to several freely downloadable documents.  The emphasis is on good assessment measures that are free to use.  See below:

IAPT Outcomes Toolkit 2008/9 PDF - this 81 page 1.1Mb Adobe PDF is the September 08 version with amended IAPT Paper Based Data Set Questionnaires.

Somatoform disorders

“ Today we can walk around together, talk, eat, and be silent together. Later I believe we'll have the opportunity to act and suffer together. All that is necessary to 'make someone's acquaintance' as they say. ” - Rene Daumal

Sufferers from somatoform disorders report physical symptoms that, despite full investigation, are not adequately explained by a medical illness, substance abuse, or another psychological disorder. The somatoform disorders category includes health anxiety disorder (hypochondriasis), somatization disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, and other related conditions.

Increasing access to psychological therapies (IAPT) outcomes toolkit

“ To stand and stare, to watch the rising sun, fills me with such calm happiness, I am sure I have dwindled away too much time on inessentials. ” - Diana Gault (when dying of cancer)

The "Improving Access to Psychological Therapies" (IAPT) initiative is very ambitious and exciting.  It states its principal aim is to support English Primary Care Trusts in implementing "National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence" (NICE) guidelines for people suffering from depression and anxiety disorders.  It comments "The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme began in 2008 and has transformed treatment of adult anxiety disorders and depression in England. Over 900,000 people now access IAPT services each year, and the 'five year forward view for mental health' committed to expanding services further, alongside improving quality."  

GAD and health anxiety

“ It might be well for all of us to remember that, while differing widely in the various little bits we know, in our infinite ignorance we are all equal. ” - Karl Popper

Here are a series of assessment questionnaires and handouts for Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Health Anxiety Disorder.  Note that the 2010 Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies "IAPT Data Handbook" recommends using the GAD-7 to monitor progress in Generalized Anxiety Disorder and the short 18-item version of the Health Anxiety Questionnaire to monitor Health Anxiety progress. 

GAD, 2 question screen - answering "yes" to either of the two screening questions on this sheet suggests it's worth checking for a diagnosis of full Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - for example by using the GADQ (see below).

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