Starting in 2006, the British government undertook an initiative to make high quality psychotherapy more widely available for people suffering from depression, anxiety, and related problems. While many different types of psychotherapy were already available, the government chose to make therapies proven to be effective available to as many patients as possible. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one example of a psychotherapy that the British government is attempting to make more widely available.
UK Health Secretary Alan Johnson was quoted in a recent BBC article saying that “For many people prescribing medication is a successful treatment but we know that psychological therapies work equally well.”
In making decisions about whether to undertake a treatment of medication, psychotherapy, or both, it is important to educate yourself about which treatments have been proven effective through research studies. Fortunately, the FDA restricts use of psychopharmacological medications to problems for which a particular drug has been demonstrated to be effective. Fortunately or unfortunately, psychotherapies are not regulated by any government agency, and thus it is especially helpful to get as much information as you can about which type of psychotherapy is helpful for your particular issue. One recommendation I have is to ask a prospective psychotherapist what kind of therapy they would use with you, given your symptoms. They may insist on an in-person consultation before answering this question, which is appropriate. Another recommendation is to ask a prospective psychotherapist whether there is research to suggest that this particular kind of therapy is effective for your particular problem.
Given all the research that has been done to determine which types of psychotherapy are helpful for particular problems, psychotherapists are now able to more easily determine which type of psychotherapy is likely to be beneficial in given situations. Help yourself by asking your therapist what research there is to support their particular approach for a given problem.
(Originally published at http://www.anxiety-ocd.info/blog/2008/06/cbt-in-the-u-k/)