CAT in a guided self help format for problematic anxiety
All areas in England now have access to brief psychological therapies for common mental health difficulties (i.e. anxiety and depression). This is provided as part of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.
Step 2 of the IAPT programme offers guided-self-help. This takes an educational approach to psychological issues, offered with guidance and support. Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs) deliver guided-self-help over six to eight 35-minute sessions.
So far, guided self-help materials in IAPT are all based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). There have been criticisms that this means patients don’t get enough choice about what sort of treatments they can receive. Researchers in Sheffield therefore developed a client self help manual for anxiety using cognitive analytic theory. This took the form of a six-session treatment offered by PWPs.
A small number of IAPT patients and PWPs tested out this CAT-informed guided self help in a small research study. It was found to be effective and easy to deliver, so the results were encouraging. Most people in the study completed the manual over the full six sessions. Ratings of anxiety improved as much as for those using a CBT guided self help approach.
Researchers are now testing out the CAT-informed guided self help manual for anxiety compared to cognitive behavioural guided self-help in IAPT. This is in a much larger research project, called a “partially randomised patient preference trial”. Enough people have now signed up to both the CBT and CAT arms of the study, and it will be completed later in 2021/22.
Details of the trial’s design and aims were also published in August 2020 in a journal article at this link: A pragmatic patient preference trial of cognitive behavioural versus cognitive analytic guided self-help for anxiety disorders
Thanks are extended to Steve Kellett for helpful contributions to this page.