I’m a CBT patient and I find it very helpful, but as my therapist and I discuss, it’s not an either or situation between medication and therapy. The therapy helps me pump the brakes and steer when my anxiety and depression start me in a downward slide. Medication helps keep the machinery of the brain lubricated and running smoothly. When it comes to mental health one needs a good driver and a good vehicle. A newly licensed teenager wouldn’t know where to start with a high performance indy car, and there’s only so much Mario Andretti could do with a Gremlin.
In their new book Thrive: The Power of Evidence-Based Psychological Therapies, Richard Layard, an economist at the London School of Economics, and David Clark, a psychologist, argue that public health policy should focus more pointedly on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Bryan Appleyard unpacks the idea and nods along:
The success of CBT — and its offshoot, mindfulness — is at the heart of this book’s case for increased spending on mental health. The most succinct summary of the method is “thoughts are not facts”. People suffering, typically, from anxiety or depression are trapped in thought processes that they have come to believe are truths about themselves and the world. The therapist identifies these thoughts, then provides techniques for reducing or eliminating their impact. It doesn’t take long — typically 12 sessions — and it has much higher success rates than any other treatment — about 50%. Mindfulness, meanwhile, is…
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