Services - CTAD

Centre for Treatment of Anxiety and Depression (CTAD) specialises in providing a range of individual cognitive-behaviour therapy interventions as well as group mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for relapse prevention.

Individual cognitive behaviour therapy

Cognitive behaviour therapy here includes all time-limited, scientifically-proven psychological therapies that focus on teaching skills to correct the effects that thinking patterns have on emotions and behaviour.

There are specific cognitive therapy programs that work best with different kinds of problems, such as:

  • cognitive 
  • exposure-response prevention
  • behavioural activation
  • cognitive processing
  • metacognitive
  • acceptance and commitment
  • schema
  • cognitive analytic.

A therapist would explain these to a consumer and discuss why one or the other was recommended for their specific problem.

Treatment sessions usually last about 50 minutes, although in some programs where prolonged exposure is involved, sessions may last as long as 2 hours. Frequency of sessions varies depending on need and availability: often this is weekly but may be as often as 3-5 times/week for intensive treatment. Assessment sessions are typically 90 minutes and 1-3 sessions may be needed depending on how much relevant information there is to collect. We try to speed this up by asking  consumers to complete pre-treatment questionnaires.

Treatment is active, collaborative and interactive. Most forms of cognitive therapy focus more on the present than the past. However, if it becomes clear that present-focused therapy is not helping to meet a consumer’s goals, a clinician may suggest they try a form of therapy that incorporates an equal focus on past and present.

The most effective treatments for anxiety and depressive disorders require more than talking about what’s happened in the last week. Therapy will be very strategic, teaching skills and having consumers take part in exercises to discover new perspectives and experiences. We will not rely on giving advice. We will work with consumers to come up with useful exercises. Consumers will be asked to complete tasks between sessions to develop their skills and sense of independence.

A consumer will be asked to complete questionnaires regularly so that (a) we know where to focus treatment and (b) we have a record of progress so that if it is hard at times to tell whether a consumer is improving or not, we have something more reliable than our memory to help decide.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)

Mindfulness meditation teaches people how to focus more on the present moment with full attention and in a non-judgemental accepting way. It can help people with recurrent depression observe their thoughts and feelings and disengage gently but deliberately from them.

Instead of worrying, people can learn to bring awareness back to the here and now by using meditation. At the same time, participants are encouraged to cultivate a kind and accepting stance towards the difficulties experienced so that they are seen more clearly and in a relaxed way.

Once participants have learned mindful meditation, cognitive therapy strategies are woven in as part of a planned skilful approach to deal with the emergence of any negative mind states and depressive symptoms.

This treatment is taught in a series of 8 x 2 hour classes at weekly intervals and participants practice mediation for about 45 minutes daily, using CDs or tapes that can be purchased or lent. 

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