“The therapist can cite Bertrand Russell's observation that the degree of certainty with which one holds a belief is inversely related to the truth of that belief. Fanatics are true believers, scientists are sceptics”. (Beck et al, 1979)
I propose to describe the evolution of behavioural treatments, and the more recent leap forward made by cognitive therapy. Exciting new treatments are now available that did not exist when I was a trainee. The accepted term for these treatments is “behavioural-cognitive psychotherapy’ (BCPT). They are behavioural in the sense that emphasis is on observable behaviour, e.g. avoidance of supermarkets in agoraphobia. They are cognitive because many approaches involve working with patients' thoughts, e.g. the negative thinking of depressed patients. The treatment is psychotherapy as it is therapy that works at the mind level, rather than at say the synaptic level as pharmacotherapy does. BCPT combines well with pharmacotherapy, and other therapeutic methods such as social therapy, and so is suitable for a multidisciplinary approach to a psychiatric problem, as well as offering specific techniques for identified disorders.