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Can Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Act as a Human Rights Intervention for Consumers Experiencing Severe Mental Disorder? 

Can Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Act as a Human Rights Intervention for Consumers Experiencing Severe Mental Disorder?
Chapter:
Can Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Act as a Human Rights Intervention for Consumers Experiencing Severe Mental Disorder?
Author(s):

Peter Walker

, Zachary Steel

, and Julia Shearsby

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199213962.003.0045
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date: 16 July 2018

Returning to the needs of those with severe and persistent mental illness, Peter Walker and colleagues review the use of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) as a human rights-promoting intervention for psychosis. Recent emphasis on continuity between normal and psychotic experiences and study of cognitive processes in the context of psychotic symptoms, has revised understandings of ‘madness’ and has had the effect of socially including sufferers through making their experiences understandable. The authors review the self-help movement that supports those who hear voices. CBT in this context has been seen as promoting consumer empowerment and advancing their rights. This assists to change their experience of mental health systems from a coercive to cooperative model, counteracts internalized stigma, and promotes freedom of expression, self-determination, and narratives of recovery. Such collaborative therapeutic alliances, where the therapist acts as witness often over a sustained period, where formulations of the problem are shared, and where users are active participants in designing their own recovery, are new to many users, breaking through a dominantly coercive pattern of care. The practitioner acts as a human rights advocate pursuing issues of social justice. Similarities to testimony therapy documenting the person’s story in other contexts are remarked.

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