There’s a new UK-based e-journal for psychotherapists, but it’s first issue shows how difficult it is to escape old habits of thought. Perhaps some CBT would help.
The first issue of Contemporary Psychotherapy announces itself like this:
Contemporary Psychotherapy is a new space in which to explore therapeutic topics: a forum for debate where we can all clarify existing knowledge and create new ideas for our own learning and in the interests of our clients.
This editor-in-chief of this ‘new space’ is Werner Kierski, apparently the same Werner Kierski who, in his work for the private hospital group Capio:
…employs latest CBT developments…
So is he an accredited CBT therapist? Ah…apparently not. He’s not even a member of the BABCP (according to its online database), never mind accredited.
Well, not to worry, this post is about the ‘new space’ where he is editor-in-chief. Perhaps CBT gets a mention in the first issue. After all, it’s a pretty important form of psychotherapy these days.
The Future of Psychotherapy
Sure enough, the first article (by Werner Kierski himself) is titled The Future of Psychotherapy, and CBT gets a mention:
We are referring to the forthcoming government regulation of the profession and the funding of a massive Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) programme throughout the country.
The article is based on interviews with four “key psychotherapists”. No doubt at least one of them will be a CBT therapist. Ah…apparently not. None of the four is accredited by the BABCP, and none of the four appears to be even a member.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, the attitude to CBT is ambivalent:
All those interviewed recognised CBT as a valuable therapeutic method, but warned that it is over-rated and tends to be used as a ‘one size fits all’ tool. There were also concerns that the NHS, trying to deliver CBT cheaply, will fail to treat mental health problems appropriately and effectively…
All four interviewees work in training establishments, three of them in universities and the fourth an independent training establishment that provides joint programmes with a university. So there’s a predictable bias in favour of academic training.
When you interview four academics who are not directly involved in CBT or the NHS, you might think you’d be unlikely to get any great insight into CBT’s implementation in the NHS. You’d be right. This is shallow stuff. There certainly are problems implementing CBT in the NHS, but these four are not sufficiently clued-up to work out exactly what they are. So instead we get vague generalizations here.
On the subject of regulation it’s even worse, with all four interviewees just seeming to guess at what it might mean. Their main concern seems to be that their own methods of psychotherapy, which have not stood up well in research compared to CBT, will be sidelined:
All agreed that the forthcoming regulation is potentially positive, and should lead to clearer structures and high professional standards. However concerns were also raised, one of which was that attempts would be made to squeeze all therapies under one umbrella. The government may also be seduced, it was feared, into focusing only on so-called “evidence-based” modalities at the expense of those for which the “evidence” has yet to be formalised.
There’s no explanation of exactly why regulation might be positive, and no explanation of how methods of psychotherapy that have not (since 1895) had a formal evidence base might soon acquire one.
Again, the article is a shallow stab at complex subjects. Still, that’s only the first article. The next one seems much more promising.
CBT in North America
This is more like it. North America is where CBT was invented — what a great idea to review its current status there! Let’s hope the author is appropriately qualified this time.
Ah…apparently not. To become familiar with CBT he bought a self-help book, and another book written for clinicians.
On the other hand, I have not taken the next logical step of enrolling in a training session.
My impression of this ‘new space’ is that after a year in preparation it remains intellectually empty, and apparently committed to examining CBT from the point of view of people who are not actually accredited to practise it. Published in association with a training organization that excludes CBT from its courses, it looks like it could remain firmly stuck this way.
(Hat tip to Vaughan at Mind Hacks for mentioning the launch.)