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Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services treat most patients in England who present to primary care with major depression. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is one of the psychotherapies offered. Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy (DIT) is a psychodynamic and mentalization-based treatment for depression. 16 sessions are delivered over approximately 5 months. Neither DIT's effectiveness relative to low-intensity treatment (LIT), nor the feasibility of randomizing patients to psychodynamic or cognitive-behavioural treatments (CBT) in an IAPT setting has been demonstrated.
147 patients were randomized in a 3:2:1 ratio to DIT (n = 73), LIT (control intervention; n = 54) or CBT (n = 20) in four IAPT treatment services in a combined superiority and feasibility design. Patients meeting criteria for major depressive disorder were assessed at baseline, mid-treatment (3 months) and post-treatment (6 months) using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD-17), Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) and other self-rated questionnaire measures. Patients receiving DIT were also followed up 6 months post-completion.
The DIT arm showed significantly lower HRSD-17 scores at the 6-month primary end-point compared with LIT (d = 0.70). Significantly more DIT patients (51%) showed clinically significant change on the HRSD-17 compared with LIT (9%). The DIT and CBT arms showed equivalence on most outcomes. Results were similar with the BDI-II. DIT showed benefit across a range of secondary outcomes.
DIT delivered in a primary care setting is superior to LIT and can be appropriately compared with CBT in future RCTs.
One method for appraising the competence with which psychological therapy is delivered is to use a structured assessment tool that rates audio or video recordings of therapist performance against a standard set of criteria.
The present study examines the inter-rater reliability of a well-established instrument (the Cognitive Therapy Scale – Revised) and a newly developed scale for assessing competence in CBT.
Six experienced raters working independently and blind to each other’s ratings rated 25 video recordings of therapy being undertaken by CBT therapists in training.
Inter-rater reliability was found to be low on both instruments.
It is argued that the results represent a realistic appraisal of the accuracy of rating scales, and that the figures often cited for inter-rater reliability are unlikely to be generalizable outside the specific context in which they were achieved. The findings raise concerns about the use of these scales for making summative judgements of clinical competence in both educational and research contexts.
Background: Scales for assessing competence in CBT make an important contribution to research and practice. Aims: To develop a novel scale. Method: A new structured assessment tool is described, which draws on a widely-used CBT competence framework to identify relevant areas of clinical practice. Results: Scale content was clarified through piloting and review by a range of stakeholders. Conclusion: Pending formal testing of the psychometric properties, the scale is ready for use to assess competences in cognitive and behavioural therapy.
Background: Researchers in clinical trials usually pay close attention to therapist selection, training, supervision and monitoring, but the extent of this input has not been systematically documented. Aims: To describe the extent of training and supervision activity within clinical trials, and to consider any implications for transporting therapies from research to routine clinical contexts. Method: Twenty-seven randomized studies examining the efficacy of CBT interventions for people with depression or anxiety disorders were selected on the basis of their quality and impact on the field. Published and unpublished sources were used to gather information about therapist selection, training and supervision within these trials. Results: The review identified the extent of investment by researchers in assuring therapist expertise, adherence and competence. It also indicated inconsistencies in the clarity with which this input was reported. Conclusions: The ubiquity of intervention-specific training in research contexts risks being overlooked when commissioning evidence-based therapies in routine practice. This has clear implications for the likely effectiveness of interventions. Greater consistency in the reporting of training in clinical trials may help to draw attention to the role of training and supervision in maximizing clinical outcomes.
A number of developments make the formal specification of competences in CBT both timely and relevant, in particular the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, the increasing focus on process and therapist variables in determining outcome, and the increasing diversity of CBT. This paper outlines the development of an evidence-based methodology for determining both a model and a framework for CBT competences, and considers issues related to the implementation of the framework.