Interesting Explainer in The Conversation today
A recent study from the United Kingdom found a simple form of therapy called behavioural activation (BA) is as effective in treating depression as more complex psychological treatments and even medication.
The aim of BA is to reverse the cycle of depression by increasing engagement in valued activities, which increases our chances of deriving pleasure and a sense of achievement from life. BA has been used for decades as a stand-alone treatment for depression, or as the “behavioural” component of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).
The cognitive component of CBT teaches skills for challenging negative thoughts that worsen depressed mood. University of Exeter mental health researcher Professor David Richards‘ finding that BA was as effective at treating depression as CBT means it may be unnecessary to directly challenge negative thinking. Modifying behaviour may be enough to improve our outlook on life.
The recent study is an open access paper from The Lancet Cost and Outcome of Behavioural Activation versus Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Depression (COBRA): a randomised, controlled, non-inferiority trial. The authors’ interpretation is quite striking:
We found that BA [Behavioural Activation], a simpler psychological treatment than CBT, can be delivered by junior mental health workers with less intensive and costly training, with no lesser effect than CBT. Effective psychological therapy for depression can be delivered without the need for costly and highly trained professionals.
This might ruffle some feathers amongst the CBT community.
It is not inconceivable (to me at least) that at some point a study may be published suggesting something similar in the domain of pain…. “we found that X, a simpler treatment than (extensive, manipulative, specialised) physiotherapy/occupational therapy/exercise therapy (etc etc) can be delivered by junior allied health workers with less intensive and costly training, with no lesser effect than PT/OT/ET. Effective treatment for pain can be delivered without the need for costly and highly trained professionals.” Would certainly ruffle some more feathers. Maybe I’m just dreaming.
Gold Coast 30 September – 2 October Explain Pain and Graded Motor Imagery (Close to full, remaining tickets selling fast)
Perth 15 – 17 October Explain Pain and Graded Motor Imagery
EP3 events have sold out three years running in Australia, and we are super excited to be bringing this unique format to the United States in late 2016 with Lorimer Moseley, Mark Jensen, David Butler, and few NOI surprises.
EP3 EAST Philadelphia, December 2, 3, 4 2016
EP3 WEST Seattle, December 9, 10, 11 2016
To register your interest, contact NOI USA:
p (610) 664-4465