American treatment for depression patients

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MENTAL health patients in Doncaster are to be among the first in the NHS to receive a new treatment for depression.

Experts from all around the country are heading to the borough to meet James P McCullough Jr, professor of psychology and psychiatry at the Virginia Commonwealth University in the USA, who is trying to improve the way patients are treated.

Prof McCullough will be meeting doctors on Monday to talk to them about the cognitive behavioural analysis system of psychotherapy he has developed specifically to treat people with chronic depression.

Doncaster patients are some of the first to receive the new treatment through the NHS thanks to workshop organiser Carole Hirst, who is director of psychological therapies for Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust. She has already trained with Prof McCullough.

She said: “People benefit from the treatment because it does not focus on them in isolation. The focus of CBASP upon behaviour change, personal empowerment and the ability to regulate emotions occurs as the patient learns how to view their problems in the context of their environment and their relationship with it.

“Using CBASP as a stand-alone treatment, or as part of the Trust’s newly enhanced pathways for chronic depression, is making a difference, but we need to train more therapists so that it is more widely available.”