cognitive behaviour therapy recommended for depression, panic and
cognitive behaviour therapy has been recommended as a effective
way to help people with mild or moderate depression, panic attacks
The government's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
has recommended a programme, Beating the Blues, for depression and
the FearFighter programme for panic attacks and phobia
Computerised Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CCBT) can be delivered
on a personal computer, over the internet or via the telephone using
interactive voice response systems.
Beating the Blues, for example, consists of a 15-minute introductory
video and eight one-hour interactive computer sessions.
The sessions are usually at weekly intervals and are completed at
projects are undertaken between sessions and weekly progress reports
are delivered to the GP or other healthcare professional at the
end of each session.
The progress reports include anxiety and depression ratings and
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines
on computerised cognitive behaviour therapy (pdf)
CCBT is dehumanising
Halford, clinical psychologist, The Gordon Hospital, London
March 2, 2006
I find this alarming. CCBT dehumanises therapeutic intervention,
with much research indicating that it's the therapeutic relationship
that mediates much distress and can influence outcome.
may be helpful within a very specific context i.e. where the patient
is monitored and perhaps is about to start a course of CBT with
a therapist and this is preliminary, or as a waiting list measure
before meeting another therapist.
imagine, in an economics driven health care system, that the value
of human interaction will be diminished leaving many patients at
CCBT helps people to cope
Paul Burns, private-practice psychotherapist, Wembley Park, London
March 14, 2006
It is easy for me to imagine ways in which computer-based CBT could
be dehumanising. For example, when it is offered without a careful
assessment of whether it is appropriate or there is no qualified
person with whom to discuss concerns about how it is progressing.
In a cash-strapped NHS with its focus on targets these are well-founded
Yet, as much as I don’t like the idea of being replaced by
a machine if CCBT can help someone to cope better with depression,
panic or any other condition I wish them well and congratulate those
who have developed the software. I trust the software includes ways
of evaluating over time.
I think the therapeutic relationship is important for certain people
as a means of changing their attitudes about self and others, there
are other beliefs that are not so intractable. My training and orientation
are not CBT but I cannot ignore the evidence of its effectiveness.
can be an advantage
Tina Connolly, self employed, Coventry
July 10, 2009
I am at the assessment stage for this treatment. I have tried drug
therapies and have had a bad reaction to them. Waiting for CBT will
is interesting that there is a view that all people will benefit
from face-to-face therapies. Those that attend such sessions may
well benefit but I prefer something less personal.
Computerised assessment is dehumanising but that in itself is an
advantage. It cuts out talking personally to a stranger, which can
feel embarrassing. Sitting at a computer collecting your thoughts
and punching them onto a screen could be less stressful, which would
cut out a confounding variable from the CBT process.
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