have We reached Peak cbt? its the relationship, stupid.

CBT or CBT Free Zone? How both can work.
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CBT can be a wonderful addition to therapy or a regular pain in the arse. Where did it all go so wrong?

(Careful! The Thought Police are watching. Ha ha :)))

I remember Bill Clinton’s famous words “It’s the Economy, stupid.” The fundamental assumption of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which modern psychology marketing is so wedded to, is that your thinking is wrong. How’s that working for you? It’s just a fundamental criticism that rigidly applied, turns people off, has high treatment dropout which then gets excluded from their research statistics because ‘people didn’t complete treatment’. NO, stupid, it was the treatment that didn’t complete people. The reason CBT is researched so much is in its pure form, which it has to be, the agenda is set, the techniques are rigid, and it is therefore easy to research. But real therapy is messy. It involves humans! Ever dealt with them before?

Because CBT is so ‘cognitive’, and barely behavioural anymore, it has been quite a failure and lost relevance to people with lower intellectual ability. Therapists are afraid to be their CBT self for good reason. It doesn’t play well with others. But contrary to all this bad news, if you are a professional tearing our your hair, questioning your existence, you do actually have what it takes to work with people with lower or any intellectual ability for that matter.

Be yourself. Just forget everything you learnt at University, and remember everything you learnt at Kindy. How to share, play well with others and takes turns not holding the floor. Get your hands dirty and clean up after yourself. Don’t leave other people holding the mess. Its okay to be messy in therapy but you need to clean up your act before the sessions over, not the other way around.

Treatment dropout is a train wreck by any other name. We shouldn’t be doing that to people that invested time in coming to see us. They expect a competent, moderately professional yet human outcome, not going away dazed, questioning themselves, naturally wondering if it is not entirely something to do with them after all. These are the people I catch up with in Ipswich land who have been to Brisbane land. They’re not impressed, just poorer now from being overly tolerant, deferential even. Not, well who do I see next? Is there no-one who can help me? Am I that bad? No, you’re not and they don’t believe that. We stuffed up. Sorry about that 🙁 That wasn’t the real me, that was some dude even I don’t even recognize. Can we try over again? I’ll be real this time. Truth be told, I didn’t like him/her either. This feels much better. I admire their patience and forbearance. Quite admirable really.

Unfortunately, Peak CBT remains a threat to the Australian way of life. When a peak psychology body gets taken over by Clinical Psychologists in Australia, factionalism or fascism reigns… Or Beyond Blue decide to run mental health promotion to the exclusion of Allied Health Accredited Mental Health Social Workers. Campaigns that only Clinical Psychologists should treat mental health issues in Australia, regular psychologists being deemed ‘not good enough’ let alone Allied Health Practitioners, stabbed in the back by their own. Or psychologists support stupid shows like Married at First Sight with psychological bunkum, you know you have a problem. Peak stupid. It’s very Unaustralian, elitist and wrong. This is the narrative we live in, that gets preached each week, yet another article or news piece dominated by ‘evidence based’ or the ‘evidence shows’ or ‘clinical psychologist says’ and people have had enough. I am working to change that. Australia is waking up. There is no long term place in the Australia I have known and loved for this behaviour. No wonder it doesn’t sit well. People are voting with their feet. Fascism’s not friendly. Definitely not Australian. I prefer socialists, they have more fun :).

Which is a shame really because I like the positive contribution of CBT particularly behaviourally without the power games playing out in CBT land. I hope we can deliver that experience for you in therapy if you need rather than professional delusion that has lost its way. Let’s take back our CBT and make it Australian.

Owen Kessels

NDIS Thought Leader

 

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