The results of a recent study into the effectiveness of talking therapies and CBT as a treatment programme for schizophrenia show its usefulness is so minimal that it’s continued recommendation cannot be justified. Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire led by Prof Keith Laws found that CBT only had a “small therapeutic effect” on schizophrenic symptoms.
For years the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has argued that CBT is effective, and recommended it for all people with the disorder. CBT has been the standard dish on the menu in the NHS for talking therapy intervention so it will be interesting to see if there is any notice taken of this recent study.
I do believe that CBT has a role to play when it comes to the successful engagement of clients in the process of therapy, as it can facilitate goal setting, especially in short term counselling. I often use behaviour change techniques such as anti-procrastination exercises and cognitive change techniques such as verbal disputing (and Beck’s ABC Model) in my integrative psychotherapeutic practice. But I also believe that healthcare commissioners need to take note of negative research findings particularly when so called evidence based approaches have gained priority over other approaches in the public sector.