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The effective management of patients with anxiety, depression or somatisation, who commonly present across all medical disciplines, requires an understanding of both pharmacological and psychological approaches such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). However, there is little research addressing effective ways of delivering CBT training that is relevant for doctors. We provided CBT skills training that included supervised casework to medical students at Oxford University and assessed participants' experiences.
The training was feasible, sustainable and highly valued. Students reported marked improvements in knowledge and skills related to CBT and felt more convinced of its effectiveness for patients and its relevance for doctors. They also gained generic medical skills and an increased understanding of mental health problems.
Supervised casework appears to be an effective format for learning. It allowed students enhanced responsibility for patient care and an opportunity to practise using cognitive-behavioural strategies, some of which would be transferable to medical consultations.
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