Gosh, what a surprise!
It looks like good news. In an era where psychological problems are increasingly explained in terms of biological deficits, the government has announced that it will spend £170m by 2010 on talking therapies for depression and anxiety. The scheme should pay for itself as better mental health will mean fewer sick days and benefits – £170m isn\’t much compared with an annual £12bn cost to the economy. But will it really help?
The answer, sadly, is negative. Talking therapy means not psychotherapy, but cognitive behavioural therapies (CBTs). These aim at the removal of symptoms and the return to work of sufferers, who will have learned to identify and manage patterns of undesirable behaviour. However, clinicians know that patients are likely to be back on a waiting list within a year to 18 months. Their underlying problems will not have been resolved, resulting in new symptoms or the return of old ones.
More money is to be spent on mental health problems. Does this toiler in the fields of mental health welcome this? No, of course not. It\’s being spent on the wrong kind of mental health treatments. That is, the sort that he does not do, that he will not profit from.
Yes, really, someone at the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research thinks that the mental health budget should be spent on Freudian Analysis. Shocker, eh?