Using the L-word may damage your health

Psychotherapy has been in the news recently, with the announcement that a further 400 million pounds will be made available through the so-called IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) programme.

But although the government has stated the money is “new”, a senior IAPT adviser has been sacked, apparently for saying that is “a lie” (1). Certainly, savings are to be made elsewhere in the NHS mental health budget.

Somewhat lost in the discussion has been a shift away from the idea that IAPT is just about CBT (cognitive-behavioural therapy). In theory, IAPT has for years accepted that Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), and couples therapy, are just as valid for problems such as depression and anxiety.

At a seminar on IAPT eighteen months ago, a regional manager told me that it was proving difficult to recruit therapists for these approaches. That seems to be changing, and the British Psychoanalytic Council’s recent comments appear to be positive about psychodynamic therapies gaining significant funding alongside CBT (2).

In my view that is a good thing. Since the early 1990’s, I have been sceptical of the established NHS wisdom that psychodynamic treatments had been demonstrated to be generally inferior.

 

 

(1) http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/feb/02/gp-bonus-spotting-mental-illness

(2) http://www.psychoanalytic-council.org/main/index.php?page=15762&

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About Dr Neil MacFarlane MRCPsych

Independent Psychiatrist providing culturally informed mental health opinion, advice, and a few new facts. Based near London, UK. Main qualifications: BA MBBS MA MRCPsych.

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