Cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) is a shortterm, problem-focused psychosocial intervention. Evidence from randomised controlled trials and metaanalyses shows that it is an effective intervention for depression, panic disorder, generalised anxiety and obsessive–compulsive disorder (Department of Health, 2001). Increasing evidence indicates its usefulness in a growing range of other psychiatric disorders such as health anxiety/hypochondriasis, social phobia, schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. CBT is also of proven benefit to patients who attend psychiatric clinics (Paykel et al, 1999). The model is fully compatible with the use of medication, and studies examining depression have tended to confirm that CBT used together with antidepressant medication is more effective than either treatment alone (Blackburn et al, 1981) and that CBT treatment may lead to a reduction in future relapse (Evans et al, 1992). Generic CBT skills provide a readily accessible model for patient assessment and management and can usefully inform general clinical skills in everyday practice.
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