Does one treatment benefit all? Patients' experiences of standardized group CBT for anxiety and depression

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Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is recommended as the frontline treatment for depression and anxiety disorders and has been implemented in a wide range of mental health care contexts. In Danish mental health services, group CBT is the most common psychotherapeutic treatment format. Recently, a standardized, time-restricted treatment format has been implemented. No studies have investigated the patients' experiences of group CBT in such a format. Furthermore, few studies have investigated patients' experiences of group CBT for anxiety and depression. The current study set out to explore patients' experiences of group CBT for anxiety and depression and the role of a standardized, time-restricted treatment format, using a qualitative framework.We explored the experiences of 23 patients with a primary diagnosis of social anxiety, panic disorder/agoraphobia, or depression. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews. Data were analyzed using phenomenological narrative analysis. The results revealed a common narrative across the 23 interviews. The narrative was made up of six distinct themes, namely: How did I get here?; Being seen, heard and recognized; Shared responsibility of problems and solutions; Education and tools; Limitations of this group format; and Launchpad. The results indicated that the patients found group CBT helpful due to a range of factors, both common factors and treatment-specific factors. Patients expressed skepticism towards group CBT prior to beginning, because of a lack of information and previous failed treatment attempts. The patients highlighted the importance of the context of the mental health system by explaining how systemic factors impacted negatively on their psychotherapy experience. Many described feeling abandoned due to the sudden ending of a treatment course that was generally considered insufficient.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Psychology
Pages (from-to)16815–16829
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2023

    Research areas

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, Group psychotherapy, Mental health services, Anxiety, Depression, Standardized treatment, COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY, PSYCHOTHERAPY

ID: 302377143