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Behav Res Ther. 2004 Sep;42(9):1089-104.

Developing new treatments: on the interplay between theories, experimental science and clinical innovation.

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Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Box 77, London SE5 8AF, UK.


It is often argued that behaviour therapy and cognitive-behaviour therapy have a sound theoretical and experimental basis. In the early days of behaviour therapy, the learning theory accounts that were the basis of treatment made clear suggestions about the procedures that were likely to be effective in treatment. In contrast, more recent cognitive-behavioural models tend to specify targets for therapy, but not the procedures that might be optimal for changing the targets. As a consequence, a considerable amount of work has to be done in order to create an effective cognitive-behavioural treatment from a promising cognitive-behavioural model. The process by which cognitive-behavioural treatments are developed is rarely discussed in the literature. For this reason, the way in which one group has used a mixture of phenomenological, experimental and treatment development studies to create effective cognitive therapy programmes for anxiety disorders is described.

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