Dita: Are there other types of therapies beyond CBT for MSers?
Professor Rona Moss-Moris, Health Psychologist: So it’s important to note that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’s only one form of therapy, there are other types of therapy, and CBT might not always be the best one for somebody. So some of the work that we’ve done, and it’s very preliminary, so it’s by no means conclusive, but it does suggest that CBT perhaps works best in the context of relapsing remitting disease and perhaps sometimes in more progressive phases of disease other things might be more helpful. And so some of the work that we’ve done and others has been around mindfulness. Now, mindfulness also appears to work for people with relapsing remitting disease so it’s not unique, but the more problem focussed aspect of CBT sometimes doesn’t necessarily lend itself to other stages of the illness and sometimes it just doesn’t match somebody, it’s not what they want to do, it doesn’t match the way it’s going to help them manage better. And then it’s really important to explore other alternatives. So acceptance and commitment therapy is another form of therapy, it’s what they call a third wave of CBT, and it includes aspects of mindfulness but it’s much bigger than that. So it looks at things like, are you leading your life according to your values, are your behaviours matched to your values and so forth, so it incorporates another whole dimension and acceptance is very much part of that too. Sometimes accepting your current situation or limitations and so forth, but also acknowledging what we can do in the context with that and then suggesting what we can do, does that match up with our values. And then there’s other things like more psychodynamic therapies which focus more about how people feel, interpersonal therapies which focus more on your relationship with other people. So important not to think that CBT is the only thing to do and the only place to go.
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Professor Rona Moss-Morris is Chair in Psychology as Applied to Medicine at King's College London. Her research has focussed on understanding adjustment to chronic illness from patient and family perspectives, and developing self management and CBT techniques for illnesses such as multiple sclerosis.