Monday, September 11, 2006

Day 10: Maintaining Person-Centred/Humanistic Therapy in Primary Care Settings

Entry for 8 September 2006

Continuing the discussion from yesterday, it turns out that there is a strong argument to be made for the Counselling Unit (CU) to deliver services to rural Scotland: To maintain a presence for Person-Centred/humanistic therapy in the health care system. Elsewhere in the UK, Person-Centred therapy is under attack by CBT advocates and official aligned with them, such as Lord Leyard, who has proposed training 10,000 CBT therapists to deliver treatment in community centers as the front-line treatment for anxiety and depression. Thanks in large part to the CU, Person-Centred therapy has a strong presence in Scotland. However, it is really just a matter of time before a collection of academic CBT folks swoop down on Scotland, waving the flag of science and claiming that their approach is the only scientific psychological treatment, trying to drive the Person-Centred approach out of the primary care settings of central Scotland, like St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland.

The University, then, represented by the CU, is in a position to provide a beachhead against such a likely onslaught, by lending credibility to the work at the least, but also by going further to add useful science on top of the delivery of mental health services to an under-served area. In so doing, there is the potential for influencing mental health-care delivery throughout Scotland.

In other words, the CU has a socio-political role to play, in addition to training, treatment development/innovation, and research. (Thanks to Lorna Carrick and Mick Cooper for their contributions to this entry.)

It has been a long, exhausting week of learning what is here and how they work. It’s a relief that it’s Friday and we will have a couple of days off to continue exploring Glasgow.

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