Horses for courses: choosing an evidence-based psychological therapy for your patient

David McCormack, Trudie Chalder

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Choosing an intervention for a patient experiencing distressing symptoms and/or suffering with a mental disorder is part of routine practice for clinicians. While there are now many effective pharmacological and psychological therapies for mental health problems, syndromes and persistent physical symptoms (e.g. chronic pain), choosing the ‘right’ therapy can sometimes be a challenge. This can certainly be the case when it comes to psychological therapies. There are many different approaches to choose from and many have not been subjected to rigorous study.

In this article, we aim to help inform and guide the busy clinician in choosing a psychological therapy for their patient. We give a brief overview of the major psychotherapy modalities and consider which guidelines to refer to and which psychological therapies have been found to be most effective for the presenting problem(s) seen in clinic. Lastly, we discuss the limitations of the current guidelines in relation to comorbid presentations and consider how this can be best addressed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)402-411
JournalBJPsych Advances
Issue number6
Early online date29 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • Evidence; psychotherapy; formulation; psychological


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