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A modernised psychotherapy curriculum for a modernised profession

  • Chess Denman (a1)
Summary

This paper outlines recent revisions to the psychotherapy elements of the core psychiatric training curriculum of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. The reasons why psychotherapy training is important as part of psychiatry training are developed and objections to the inclusion of this element are countered. The paper sets out the reasoning that led to the revisions in the training required and discusses the obstacles to the implementation of good-quality training in this area and suggests ways in which they can be overcome.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Chess Denman (Chess.denman@cpft.nhs.uk)
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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1 Holmes, J, Mizen, S, Jacobs, C. Psychotherapy training for psychiatrists: UK and global perspectives. Int Rev Psychiatry 2007; 19: 93100.
2 Kassaw, K, Gabbard, GO. Creating a psychodynamic formulation from a clinical evaluation. Am J Psychiatry 2002; 159: 721–6.
3 Douglas, CJ. Teaching supportive psychotherapy to psychiatric residents. Am J Psychiatry 2008; 165: 445–52.
4 Penman, J. Psychotherapy training in an isolated setting. Psychother Psychosom 1990; 53: 135–8.
5 Abbass, A. Small-group videotape training for psychotherapy skills development. Acad Psychiatry 2004; 28: 151–5.
6 Berger, T. Computer-based technological applications in psychotherapy training. J Clin Psychol 2004; 60: 301–15.
7 Hadjipavlou, G, Ogrodniczuk, JS. National survey of Canadian psychiatry residents' perceptions of psychotherapy training. Can J Psychiatry 2007; 52: 710–7.
8 Ogg, EC, Pugh, R, Murray, TS. Scottish general practice registrars – their views on psychotherapy training. Br J Gen Practice 1997; 47: 723–5.
9 Lichtmacher, J, Eisendrath, SJ, Haller, E. Implementing interpersonal psychotherapy in a psychiatry residency training program. Acad Psychiatry 2006; 30: 385–91.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 1758-3209
  • EISSN: 1758-3217
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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A modernised psychotherapy curriculum for a modernised profession

  • Chess Denman (a1)
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eLetters

Psychotherapy training: Moving away from the �minimum approach�

Rebeca Martinez, SpR in General Adult Psychiatry
28 March 2010

We have read with interest Chess Denman’s paper (1) on the current situation with the modernised psychotherapy curriculum. We cannot agree more with the views exposed in this paper, and feel strongly about providing psychotherapeutic training opportunities which are not only satisfactory to both trainees and supervisors, but which also will enhanceand inspire future psychiatrists to embrace a balanced biopsychosocial approach to their practice. A universally implemented training for psychiatrists in psychological therapies creates an ideal opportunity to achieve this.

In our local area, the experience of the introduction of the new curriculum has been met with the expected anxieties on the side of trainees and trainers. The implementation of good quality training in the area of psychotherapy remains a challenge with some of the more pertinent issues being highlighted in this article (such as practical difficulties, resources or lack of them, availability of trainers, etc). We would also add the competing demands on the part of the trainees.

At a recent local psychotherapy trainers’ meeting (this is a support group for supervisors which meets every 6 months), one of our areas of discussion and concern has been regarding the continuity of experience that a trainee receives throughout their training, and how best to optimise the learning opportunities, as well as the identification of the particular trainee’s strengths and areas that need further work.

The new curriculum, for some, still feels as the “minimum set of activities” which need to be ticked off, this provides a sense of dissatisfaction both among the trainees, but particularly the trainers, who meet a trainee for the first time, and do not have much background about this person’s experience and learning objectives. The training experience at present continues to feel disjointed as the trainee moves from one psychotherapeutic experience to the next.

In many ways, at present we still seem to focus more on the identification of “struggling trainees” rather than trying to promote positive learning experiences for the many who are interested and keen in psychotherapy.

One of the possibilities that has been discussed in our trainers group, and which we are keen to pilot, is a trainers/trainee report, whichcan be used as a communication tool between trainers but also between the trainee and their supervisor. The aim of this tool would be to act as a record of the trainees learning objectives and the degree of attainment, to record areas that have been identified as strengths by previous trainer’s supervisors and areas that have been felt to be weakness spots where further focus of attention may be required.

We hope that the introduction of such a tool will enhance not only the supervisory relationship, but also the learning experience of the trainee. This may promote a move away from the “minimum approach” and may encourage those with more keen interests in psychotherapy to explore a broader range of learning and experiences.

(1)Denman C. A modernised psychotherapy curriculum for a modernised profession. The Psychiatrist (2010), 34, 110 - 113
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