Researchers are singing the praises of a new therapy which they say is effective in treating depression in adults.
According to research published July 22 2016 in The Lancet, the new treatment called, behavioural activation therapy, can treat depressive illness and is just as effective as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
It’s claimed that behavioural activation therapy can be provided by mental health workers with minimal training and is significantly cheaper than CBT.
Currently, CBT is provided by highly trained specialists such as psychologists, professional counsellors and psychiatrists; this makes the treatment more costly.
David Richards, a professor of mental health services at the University of Exeter told the Lancet:
“Our findings challenge the dominance of CBT as the leading evidence-based psychological therapy for depression”.
Treatment costs for patients in the behavioural activation group were 20 per cent lower than for those in the cognitive behavioural therapy group, the researchers said.
Apart from the cost, what’s the difference?
According to the researchers:
“Behavioural activation is an ‘outside in’ treatment that focuses on helping people with depression to change the way they act. The treatment helps people make the link between their behaviour and their mood. Therapists help people to seek out and experience more positive situations in their lives. The treatment also helps people deal with difficult situations and helps them find alternatives to unhelpful habitual behaviours”.
“In contrast, CBT is an ‘inside out’ treatment where therapists focus on the way a person thinks. Therapists help people to identify and challenge their thoughts and beliefs about themselves, the world, and their future. CBT helps people to identify and modify negative thoughts and the beliefs that give rise to them”.
I welcome any type of treatment that can address depression or any other mental illness. However, I’m finding it hard to see — apart from the cost — exactly what the difference is between the two therapies.
It’s my understanding that thoughts and behaviour in humans are inextricably linked: What you think decides how you feel and how you feel will decide how you will act in any given situation.
Therefore, it seems to me both therapies are just a variation on the same theme. But, if it works and it saves money then it’s got to be worth trying.
Behavioural Activation has been around for a few years now, as seen by the publication, Behavioral Activation for Depression: A Clinician’s Guide, published in 2010. But, it’s only recently that the techniques have been researched thoroughly.