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Margison, F. (2015). Thrive: The Power of Evidence-Based Psychological Therapies by Richard Layard and David M. Clark. Published by Allen Lane, Penguin Group, London, 2014; 373 pp; £20.00 hardback. Brit. J. Psychother., 31(2):272-275.

(2015). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 31(2):272-275

Thrive: The Power of Evidence-Based Psychological Therapies by Richard Layard and David M. Clark. Published by Allen Lane, Penguin Group, London, 2014; 373 pp; £20.00 hardback

Review by:
Frank Margison

Lord Layard and Professor Clark will be well known to most readers of the Journal for their leadership of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme in England since 2005. They have pushed for this improved access and a rigorous basis for selecting therapies within the programme for a decade and this book is an opportunity for them to step back and review the state of the nation.

Reading the book I can see why ministers were persuaded to support the IAPT programme as the authors present a logical and compelling argument. The logic starts with a section on defining the problem - the morbidity, cost to the nation, suffering and disability caused by mental health disorders, and includes a persuasive section on the impact of depression on medical disorders, and then turns to the developmental trajectory of children.

The closely argued account pushes the right buttons for policy makers to take psychological therapies seriously. This leads naturally into an account of the development of effective therapies, ‘what works for whom’, and leads on to the experiences in the first phase of the improved access programme.

The final chapters cover parity of esteem from the perspective of physical treatments and psychological treatments, arguing that provision of treatments should be on the basis of the best evidence rather than who can lobby the loudest, suggesting that pharmaceutical companies have big purses but often fly in the face of the high-quality evidence about psychological therapies.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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