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Mental health problems are common in youth in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), including South Africa. Preventative interventions, based on cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), delivered in schools, have been found to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety in high income countries (HICs). However, less is known about whether youth in LMICs are able to engage with the core concepts of CBT.
To explore how young people in the Western Cape, South Africa, understand key CBT concepts, such as feelings, thoughts and behaviours.
We interviewed 22 young people (10–15 years of age; mean age 11.6 years; SD = 1.0) recruited from two public primary schools in the Western Cape, South Africa. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, translated from Afrikaans into English where necessary and analysed thematically using a deductive approach.
Young people described feelings as internal, private, and should only be shared with trusted others. They also described how feelings varied, depending on the situation. They found the concept of thoughts more challenging to describe. Youth were able to say what they do when they experience unpleasant feelings, and they linked their behaviours to their feelings and thoughts.
In this cultural context, our qualitative investigation found evidence that young people were able to engage with abstract concepts including feelings and to some degree, thoughts. To ensure that CBT-based interventions are developmentally appropriate and accessible, psychoeducation may help youth distinguish between thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and a focus on identifying and naming feelings may be beneficial.
Socializing a client to the cognitive behavioural model is advised in almost every cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) textbook, but there is limited evidence for whether socialization is measurable or important. The aim of the study was to pilot a written and interview-based measure of socialization to investigate whether socialization to the model can be measured in a sample of young people who have completed CBT. Sixteen participants (mean age 14.9 years, 75% female) completed a semi-structured socialization interview and a novel written measure of socialization. Treating clinicians were asked to provide subjective ratings of participant socialization. The structure and content of these measures was examined. A moderate but non-significant correlation was found between the novel written measure of socialization and clinician rating of socialization (r = .37). The concept of ‘socialization’ is not well understood and the socialization interview presented mixed, unclear results. This may be due to issues with the design, but may also be that socialization, as currently understood, is more complex than can be captured in this way. The important aspect of this study is introducing the concept of measuring socialization and factors that may be important in future research. Socialization to the model is an important construct within CBT but at present is a challenging concept to measure. Future research will need to focus on operationalizing the concept further and refining measures so that it can be accurately captured. Understanding which therapist and client behaviours contribute to the process of socialization could conceivably improve outcomes, but this cannot be done until this area is understood more fully.
Increasingly, evidence suggests that computerized Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (cCBT) is effective at reducing adolescent anxiety and depression for young people in the general population or those ‘at risk’. However, less is known about the acceptability, feasibility and effectiveness of cCBT for adolescents with clinically significant levels of impairment. This study aimed to investigate the feasibility of using a novel cCBT intervention, ‘Pesky gNATs’, with adolescents aged between 13–18 years with anxiety and/or depression who met the criteria for specialist mental health services. Eleven participants were recruited from a Tier 3 child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS). Recruitment, attendance and retention rates were recorded and qualitative feedback about the benefits and disadvantages of completing cCBT were obtained during the final session. In addition, a number of outcome measures were completed pre- and post- intervention to assess reliable and clinically significant change. The intervention was very brief comprising of just seven sessions. Participants showed high recruitment and retention rates. All participants who started the intervention completed it. All described the programme as useful and the majority identified several benefits. Four of 11 participants demonstrated reliable reductions in symptoms of depression and anxiety and six of 11 showed decreases in parent-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression following the seven-session intervention. This study demonstrates the acceptability and feasibility of using cCBT in a Tier 3 CAMHS setting. Further research is required to investigate the effect of Pesky gNATs on anxiety and depression in other Tier 3 settings.
Evaluating and enhancing supervisee competence is a key function of supervision and can be aided by the use of direct assessments of clinical competence, e.g. the Cognitive Therapy Scale – Revised (CTS-R). We aimed to review the literature regarding inter-rater reliability and training on the CTS and CTS-R to present exploratory data on training raters to use this measure. We employed a systematic review. An exploratory study evaluated the outcomes of a CTS-R supervisor training workshop (n = 34), including self-reported familiarity with and confidence in using the tool, and inter-rater consistency on three CTS-R subscales, pre- and post-training. CTS and CTS-R inter-rater reliability was variable, with evidence of rater training enhancing reliability, although the form, duration and frequency of such training is unclear. The exploratory study found that supervisors rated themselves as more familiar with and confident in using the CTS-R at the end of training compared to at the beginning. However, inter-rater reliability was poor at the beginning and end of the training. Rating competence requires supervisors to make qualitative judgements, which is inherently variable. Training raters has been shown to improve rater reliability, although this was not demonstrated in the exploratory study. Practice implications and future research priorities are identified.
Accurately evaluating how competently one is performing can be a precursor to seeking training and supervision, therefore contributing to safe, effective practice. Little is known about what predicts accurate self-evaluation. Prior research findings are inconsistent, with overestimation of self-rated competence in some studies and underestimation in others. We aimed to explore the relationship between therapists' reflective ability and the level of agreement between self-rated competence and competence rated by an experienced CBT assessor. Thirteen trainees undertaking a postgraduate CBT diploma submitted a series of recordings accompanied by self-ratings using the Cognitive Therapy Scale – Revised (CTS-R) and related written reflective analyses. Independent assessors marked the written analyses using a standardized marking scheme and rated the therapy sessions using the CTS-R. Trainees tended to overestimate or underestimate their competence in comparison to the independent assessors. The level of agreement between the assessors' ratings and self-evaluation of competence tended to improve during training, while reflective ability did not. Reflective ability was significantly related to level of agreement between self-rated and assessor-rated competence. Trainees do not consistently demonstrate the bias for overestimating their competence previously found in qualified therapists. During training, the tendency of an individual to over- or underestimate their competence may not remain stable, but tends to become more consistent with ratings undertaken by an experienced CBT assessor. Trainees who were rated as more reflective, tended to agree more closely with independent assessors on evaluation of competence. Therefore, enhancing reflective ability may help therapists to more accurately self-evaluate their competence.