World Psychiatry Debates Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


World Psychiatry, the journal of the World Psychiatric Association, has published a review examining the scientific research into how much Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help people deal with severe psychiatric problems. Alongside the review, the journal has published commentaries on the topic from eleven different people.

The main article and all of the commentaries are freely accessible, and include the topics, “Non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatments act on the same brain,” “Off label CBT: a promising therapy or an adjunctive pluralistic therapeutic ingredient?,” and “CBT for psychotic disorders: beyond meta-analyses and guidelines – it is time to implement!”

World Psychiatry (October 2014. Volume 13, Issue 3.)


  1. From my perspective the reason CBT works for the ‘big disorders’ is because psychotherapy works, and CBT is an understandable psychotherapy.

    I think the idea behind psychotherapy is that people see life through their own interpretation and that this can adapt; and that this is what CBT stands for. CBT demonstrates the process, and result in simple terms:
    MIND READING : ‘What another person thinks is very important’ …..
    CATASTROPHYSING: ‘If this happens its the end of the world’ ….
    EMOTIONAL REASONING: ‘Things seem frightening’ …
    …Because I’m STRESSED.

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    • CBT
      If I take my focus off the ‘external problem’ when I’m stressed then I have to deal with the stress until it runs out of steam. When the stress runs out of steam the ‘external problem’ doesn’t seem too serious. This is how CBT works for me.

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    • Bad therapists who think that they are the experts on a person’s life are just as destructive as psychiatrists who think they’re they experts on people’s lives.

      A good therapy technique can be turned to bad use by someone who doesn’t understand or care about what they’re doing as they poke around in peoples’ lives.

      I once heard a psychologist on the adolescent unit of the hospital where I work state that, no matter what she does with the “patients” she just “throws up a big wall between herself and the person she’s working with!” She even mimicked the wall going up using her arm between herself and the person she was talking to.

      Now, I may be terribly wrong, but I thought that the reason any therapy works is because of the human connection formed between the therapist and the person receiving therapy. If I believe that the therapist cares about my well being I’m more apt to trust the person and work harder on learning how to deal with my issues. I don’t believe I’m going to be helped by anyone who “just throws up a big wall” between me and themselves! I believe that this particular psychologists is very toxic to the adolescents that she deals with on a daily basis and it really won’t mater what kind of therapy she tries to use.

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      • Worse than that, they can play games with your head.

        I’ve only done therapy out of choice and for a specific problem (adjusting to coming off strong medication); I didn’t need to confide in more than the descriping of my anxiety.

        I used therapists as sounding boards while I found my own solutions (with their help). The Mental Health Charity MIND supported me in this.

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  2. Fiachra

    Exactly, you found your own solutions. Good therapists know how to ask the right questions at the appropriate times but it’s always you and I ultimately must find the answers to those questions within ourselves.

    Actually, I believe that we are our own therapists in a sense of all this, we just need someone who is objective to walk with us and be the “sounding board” as you called them.

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  3. Hi Stephan
    One of the threapists told me that his ‘recipe’ wouldn’t necessarily work for me and then he said “it sounds like you’ve got a type of battery attached to you, and you’re okay once its disconnected, you mightn’t be able to get rid of the battery but maybe you can keep it disconnected” – I was suffering from super sensitivity syndrome due to anti psychotic withdrawal and when a little problem came along it seemed like a huge problem. Robert Whitaker explains this in his video with hand movements. The brain builds up more receptors and becomes more sensitive.

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