Access to Psychology Services Ireland (APSI) provides stepped-care, low intensity interventions in a primary care setting for adlults with mild-to-moderate mental health presentations. Building upon a 3-year pilot of a predominantly one-to-one CBT-based service, APSI was launched in October 2012. Funded by the Office of the Assistant National Director of Mental Health, the aim of APSI is to provide low-intensity and high throughput psychological interventions for adults with mild-to-moderate mental health presentations. APSI is staffed by Mental Health Practitioners who to date have been graduate psychologists. In addition to an in-house training programme of clinical workshops that focus on how to work with common mental health presentations, the practitioners are trained in ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training); and/or STORM (Skills-Based Training on Risk identification and Management); and/or Crosscare-suicide prevention for the travelling community. While managed by a Principal Psychologist Manager, APSI staff receive weekly supervision from a Senior and Staff Grade Clinical Psychologist.
What is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a psychological approach which is based on scientific principles and which research has shown to be effective for a wide range of problems. Clients and therapists work together to identify and understand problems in terms of the relationship between their thoughts, feelings and behaviour. The approach usually focuses on the ‘here and now’ and relies on a shared view of the problem which leads to the creation of personalised therapy goals and strategies to change problematic thinking. CBT looks at:
- How you think about yourself, the world and other people
- How what you do affects your thoughts and feelings
CBT treatments are highly effective in Anxiety Disorders. Exaggerated danger beliefs and safety behaviours are targeted in a collaborative way and by learning about the vicious cycle of anxiety and challenging beliefs and behaviours at the centre of the anxiety problem, sufferers gradually master their fears and regain their functioning. CBT is also effective in the treatment of Depression. Sufferers learn to identify problematic thoughts that contribute to low mood and cause negative emotions. Behaviours are also analysed to assess the impact of current daily activities has on a persons mood. Adaptive behaviours and activities are gently introduced to help with confidence and mastery and ultimately reduce depression.
CBT can help you to change how you think (Cognitive) and what you do (Behaviour). These changes can help you to feel better. Unlike some of the other talking treatments, it focuses on the “here and now” problems and difficulties. Whilst it is often useful to discuss the past and understand how our pasts have influenced our lives and how problems have arisen, CBT mostly focuses on looking for ways to improve your mental wellbeing now. This means identifying contributing factors to your current problems and working on finding solutions. CBT is based on the idea that it’s not an event which causes our emotions, but how we interpret that event. What we think or what meaning we give to an event or situation directly impacts on both our emotions and behaviour. CBT focuses on helping an individual to identify their personal thoughts in a given situation and to critically evaluate them. This is achieved by looking at the evidence surrounding negative thoughts and considering alternative responses that can better impact on your mood.