Appropriate use of cognitive behaviour therapy techniques can empower patients to feel their problems can be understood and something can be done about them.
The busy and diverse nature of general practice means there are many opportunities for cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) skills to be applied to both mental and physical health problems. The 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing revealed that of the 16 million people in Australia aged 16 to 85 years, 11.7% had both a mental disorder and a physical condition.
A common analogy of CBT skills is that they are like having ‘tools in your (psychological) toolbox’ – tools that are practical, and focus more on the ‘here-and-now’ of symptom management. It is possible that consideration of CBT skills in general practice may result in doctors doing something similar to what they already do but in a more structured or explicit manner.
Picture credit: © Lisa F. Young/Dollar Photo Club. Models used for illustrative purposes only.