What is next if CBT does not work in the UK?

Posted , 6 users are following.

I am in England, and have 4 sessions of CBT left, I feel like it has gave me a better understanding of my depression and provided tools to help deal with it, however, I feel worse now than I did before starting.

I feel like I should be getting better as I am doing CBT and on medications, but I am not and I feel like I will/have let my therapist down. 

I remember when I was first diagnosed about 6-4 years ago I was given a leaflet about CBT and I read it, but I felt it was not for me as it more focuses on the now and not the past, so to me a lot of my depression comes from the past (this is what I have found out in the CBT)  and having CBT was like having a plaster on a wound. But this year, I was fed up of feeling down and would give it a chance. 

I have learnt techniques and been provided tools to help me with the depression and to help challenge the  negative thoughts which I can do. I am able to Identify certain thought groups in my head, and to notice I am ruminating but I can not seem to break through and be "happy"


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  • Posted

    Hi Wolverine,

    So sorry to hear that CBT hasn't helped for you.

    It can be quite frustrating going through weekly or fortnightly sessions only to find you have an insight and awareness of the process but still left with the same outlook. 

    As you have said, CBT bases itself on the here and now and raises emphasis on present cognitive logic than dealing with past issues. It does work for some people though if you are dealing with traumas from your past it offers little I'm afraid.

    You analogised it well in saying it was 'similar to a sticking plaster'. This type of therapy wasn't right for you, otherwise you would not be feeling this way. Trying to heal in the present from issues that stem from the past is difficult enough, more so when it's not the right therapy for you.

    I think it may be good for you to have a look at Schema therapy which works from past to the preset. It specialises in patients who have had CBT which hasn't worked for them. It takes longer however, well worth it and you can have this privately or with NHS (waiting times permitted of course). 

    Schema is one of the best therapies you can undertake in respect that it gets to the root cause of the issue. It goes beyond what CBT does and gives in depth awareness in identifying why we feel and behave the way we do.

    That awareness then gives us confidence to blend into chair work, where you role play and relive traumas from the past (not an easy thing to do, however this type of work will be after roughly 5-6 months of therapy).

    It is no quick fix by any means however, you will find that you will feel more attune with your feelings and what the triggers are that makes us feel the way we do. Eventually we start reacting to the awareness of our triggers in a more authentic way.

    Talk to your doctor and ask if any of the staff there specialise in Schema therapy. 

    Happy to talk with you if you need anything further on it.

    Take care and let us know how you are getting on


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    • Posted

      Thank you for getting back to me.

      I have 4 sessions of CBT left. I am seeing the doctor on Thursday as I felt terrible today,

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    • Posted

      You're welcome.

      I can understand how frustrated you must feel after all these sessions and still feeling horrible.

      I hope you get some help when seeing the doctor. Please, let me know how you get on with that.

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  • Posted

    Hi Wolverine, I love the online name! I know what you mean about CBT, I could've stand it either, am now with a psychological counsellor who looks at your state of mind and your emotional state too, which is working for me but it wasn't initially but something has turned. I do have depression, through ill health but I also see her for one main thing, due to assault. You may need a different counsellor. Tell your doctor if it's really not your thing. I have had counselling on and off since I was 18, I'm now 45. Good luck, it's a tough thing to admit it's so hard. I hope you get the support you need. I only ever thought CBT was for anxiety and even then only mild anxiety.

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  • Posted

    Hi therapy isn't about 'Oh I made a breakthrough and now I will be happy!'  Progress can be very slow and sometimes you take 1 step forward and 1 step back. Don't forget it took a long time to feel this way so expect it to take time to start recovering.  A much more achievable goal for now is reaching for survival and some form of contentment.  Once you have done this then you are laying the groundwork for future happiness. 

    I had CBT and it didn't help me very much, but this along with talking and group therapy over the years all made their impression felt in some way.  You are currently gathering tools to help you cope better so try and see it like this.  x

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    • Posted

      I thought cbt was the same as talking therapy.   How domyounget tomgroup,therapy mynpsychiatrist hasnt suggested it, says the wait lists for psychology are long.  Doesnt help me. I am aat wits end with depression and anxiety as thr anti deps didnt help me.
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  • Posted

    CBT concentrates on trying to make you understand and learn to deal with patterns of behaviour ie to control triggers which cause you to act certain ways which are unhelpful.  The NHS loves it as it is cheap,  limited,  and they think it can be measured.

    Talking therapy is looking at your past and finding out where your issues come from.  They are very different.  If you google therapies you will find a number of them.  You can access this online for a much smaller fee than face 2 face.  Otherwise going private is very expensive but it is much quicker than waiting for free help these days.  x

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  • Posted


    I had 20 weeks of CBT and it didn't help. My issues were too deep-rooted. After being passed about quite a bit through community mental health I did get referred by my psychiatrist to a psychologist for something called 'formulation', This apparently looks at where problems started etc. After just 2 conversations with him he said I had traits of borderline personality disorder and he referred me for dialectic behavioural therapy (DBT). it also doesn't look at the past but is very intense and teaches a couple of hundred coping mechanisms. I really think its the thing for me. Maybe if you look into BPD and see if you can relate to it. if you do, see your GP and take some notes and ask about seeing a psychiatrist/psychologist.

    there are so many treatments out there but its finding the one that suits you and then trying to access it.

    Good luck with it all

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