‘A life I can cope with’. An alternative model of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for CFS/ME, by Catherine Clark, Sue Holttum in Health Expectations 2021 [DOI: 10.1111/h ex.13326]


Research abstract:


This study aimed to explore the experience of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) aimed at better management of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), rather than increasing activity.


This was a qualitative study using grounded theory analysis.


Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 adults who had engaged in CBT at a specialist CFS/ME service in which CBT is aimed at improved management of the condition.


A model was produced in which participants felt more able to cope with CFS/ME. Reduced fatigue did not seem to be a necessary precondition to managing. This has implications for CBT for CFS/ME.


Specialist CBT for CFS/ME may result in improved coping and reduced distress, independently of changes in fatigue.

I don’t think in any way it helped my ME, but it did help my mind. (Sarah)

I don’t want to say reduced the symptoms, but probably have slightly fewer relapses and maintain a slightly better level quality of life. (Susan)

I came away just with that re-focus on putting myself first and not being afraid to do that actually, it is okay to do that when you are not well. (Sarah)

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