Increasing access to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in Low and Middle Income Countries: A strategic framework

Andrew Beck, Abhijit Nadkarni, Rachel Calam, Farooq Naeem, Nusrat Husain

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Cognitive Behaviour Therapy has been demonstrated to be an effective intervention in outpatient and inpatient settings for a wide range of presenting mental health problems including depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder and Somatorform Disorder. There is likely to be an unmet need for this therapeutic approach in most Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC). However, the training of therapists to deliver this intervention has historically been a lengthy and expensive process, with already highly trained staff such as psychiatrists and psychologists undertaking additional training of up to one year duration in order to develop expertise in this area. This paper proposes that a model where training, supervision, leadership and service evaluation is provided by a small number of highly trained staff to front-line non-specialist staff who will then deliver manualised therapy. These front-line staff may also be conceptualised as part of a stepped care model where self-help and manualised therapy approaches are used in the first instance. Where patient functioning does not improve there is then the possibility of being stepped-up for treatment by a more specialised and highly trained therapist. This approach may help in meeting the huge mental health treatment gap in LMIC. This paper also suggests that lessons learnt from the dissemination of behaviourally informed parenting interventions internationally can be applied to the dissemination of this therapeutic approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-5
Number of pages6
JournalAsian Journal of Psychiatry
Early online date17 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2016


  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy/economics
  • Developing Countries
  • Health Services Accessibility/economics
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services/economics


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