After forced-psychometric-test debacle, now Jobcentres prescribe online CBT

Last year, the SKWAWKBOX triggered a severely-embarrassing chain of events for the government by revealing that the DWP’s Jobcentre Plus (JCP) centres, under instruction from David Cameron’s ‘Nudge Unit’ (read: psychological-manipulation), were forcing unemployed people, under threat of immediate loss of benefits, to take un-validated and dangerous ‘psychometric tests’ without ‘informed consent’ and, quite possibly, illegally in more ways than one. We also revealed a nudge-unit ‘front’ masquerading as a bona fide psychological institution.

It turned out that these tests were so poorly and cynically constructed that they gave the same ‘results’ to those completing them regardless of the answers entered – or even if the test was completed without entering any answers at all. The test had been taken – without permission – from a US psychologist linked to torture techniques such as waterboarding. (The author then objected to the unethical use of the test by the UK government!)

Once exposed, both government departments tried desperately to deny what they were doing, but then contradicted themselves more than once, then inadvertently admitted it again. The government claimed that the tests were a trial in just a few areas that had since been discontinued, but this was then shown not to be the case. Claims that the test had been designed and implemented by ‘experts’ turned out to be false and the ‘training’ given to JCP operatives on how to decide who should complete the test turned out to be ‘an informal chat’.

National newspapers started to take up the story and the British Psychological Society even became involved, investigating the psychologist responsible, at least notionally, for the decision to conduct the enforced-test programme.

You would think the government would have learned its lesson, but no.

An article on the ‘Same Difference’ blog reveals that Jobcentre Plus staff are sending people diagnosed with depression a link to an online CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) course, claiming not that it might be helpful but that it will cure their depression. Or, in their words:

Beating the blues is just a click away

Read the original article for an image of the ad and link.

CBT is widely used to treat various mental disorders, including depression. But it is generally meant to be conducted in person by a trained professional. Its effectiveness is, however, widely disputed  and studies have shown that CBT consisting of ‘self-help’ reading of materials y the patient produce harmful results (see this Wikipedia section for very well-referenced information on criticisms of CBT).

The therapy has also been heavily criticised because it is built around maintaining the status quo – in other words, getting people to feel better about situations that it would be perfectly rational to dislike, feel depressed about or want to change.

And nobody, as far as I know, would claim CBT will ‘beat’ depression. Especially with ‘just a click’.

This latest move is perfectly in line with the government’s already-evidenced desire to get us all to acquiesce to things that we should fight and with its contempt and callousness toward ordinary, disadvantaged people.

But not at all in line with a genuine concern for the well-being of people who are unemployed, suffering from mental illness or both.

Mental health groups will, rightly, be outraged – but could someone in the mainstream media please run with this and give yet another DWP scandal the attention it so obviously deserves?

(There are too many posts on the original DWP ‘test’ to reference in this one article. If you want to read the rest, please use the search function and enter ‘psychometric’.)

27 responses to “After forced-psychometric-test debacle, now Jobcentres prescribe online CBT

    • Ive found a report called: The Implementation of Computerized Cognitive Behavioural Therapies in a Service User-Led, Third Sector Self Help Clinic

      The link is here :https://www.selfhelpservices.org.uk/cms/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/BCP_Cavanagh_et_al-2.pdf

      This relates to trials carried out by the DWP in relation to Anxiety and Depression and and is evaluating outcomes of using CCBT on a very small sample group.

      There is NO Control Group, so much of what they say is inferred from the data they have collected.

      Within the report it states:

      Limitations of the study

      This study reports on practice-based evidence, without control conditions.

      This is a threat to the internal validity of the study and, as with all uncontrolled studies, interpretation of outcomes is open to alternative explanations of change.

      They call this CBT program Beat the Blues Ha Ha Ha!!!!

      How about calling it. Mind Manipulation and Blackmail.

      please pass on this info and links through your own blogs.

      Like

  1. Ive found a report called: The Implementation of Computerized Cognitive Behavioural Therapies in a Service User-Led, Third Sector Self Help Clinic

    The link is here :https://www.selfhelpservices.org.uk/cms/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/BCP_Cavanagh_et_al-2.pdf

    This relates to trials carried out by the DWP in relation to Anxiety and Depression and and is evaluating outcomes of using CCBT on a very small sample group.

    There is NO Control Group, so much of what they say is inferred from the data they have collected.

    Within the report it states:

    Limitations of the study

    This study reports on practice-based evidence, without control conditions.

    This is a threat to the internal validity of the study and, as with all uncontrolled studies, interpretation of outcomes is open to alternative explanations of change.

    They call this CBT program Beat the Blues Ha Ha Ha!!!!

    How about calling it. Mind Manipulation and Blackmail.

    please pass on this info and links through your own blogs.

    Like

  2. Having problems with the click link to original article – is it me? Or is the link broken?
    Thanks

    Great article, chilling, and as disturbing as the expose of the nudge unit enforced testing. I hope the MSM can be “nudged” to take it up, and make this as big a stinking indictment of this bunch of fascists as before. I will be raising this with my MP. CBT should be prescribed, not dished out by the DWP worker ants to the vulnerable. Like any psychological intervention, it can go horribly wrong. It is usually “prescribed” for Fibromyalgia, a neurological disease. Research in the US has shown it to make long term prognosis worse, not better, compared with allowing the patient to manage their condition themselves.

    Like

  3. Pingback: The just world fallacy | Politics and Insights - kittysjones·

  4. Pingback: GP practices to work with job centres following £1bn investment | Lindas Blog·

  5. Sorry, meant to reblog this on Ipswich Unemployed action and failed (went to other site)! Excellent posr!

    Like

  6. Bloogged about this on http://quacking-plums.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/not-much-help.html

    I’ve tried online CBT, in fact it may well have been Beating the Blues (the name rings a bell, though it was a couple of years ago, i doubt the programme will be any different if not). It was run by a group called Positive Step who work with….Atos!

    It was no real help. Basically it’s just telling you to calm yourself, think about your situation, and see that you are ‘overreacting’. That’s the assumption. That’s great if you’re having a nervous breakdown because there;’s a spider in the bath (though of course mental health is never that simple), not much help if you’re problems are depression caused by living in a shit country run by a shit government under a shit capitalist shit system.

    One of the test cases in the programme (they used a few to teach you by example along the way) was a skint single mother. In the end the best they could report (regardless if true or how effective it was long term) was that she was feeling a bit more positive.

    Great, how does positive feeling help her buy food and clothing for her and her kid?

    Like

  7. Pingback: Jobcentres Prescribe Online Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. | Ipswich Unemployed Action.·

  8. NHS trusts are now offering on-line behavioural therapy because of the crisis in mental health services, due to lack of funding.

    Like

  9. I was reading about modern police interrogation methods. Critics have pointed out the techniques are very close to brain washing techniques and cult coercive persuasion techniques – thus the high level of false confessions from the mentally vulnerable. Basically the person is bullied/broken down until they say yes to anything.
    I agree completely that the methods used by DWP are sinister. Very physically ill people become psychologically exhausted, they have no mental resources left – their resilience is used up. The tiniest upset can be deeply upsetting for them. To be pissed about by the bureaucrats at the DWP over money they are entitled to, when they are bound to have money worries on top of their other problems, is worthy of the Nazis. To then add to that the suggestion of suicide to psychologically vulnerable people is obscene.
    Suggestion. Identify who the modern day Hitlers are in our institutions, expose them, dig out every crime and disgraceful act they have engaged them, and force them out of public positions they are not competent to occupy.

    Like

  10. Pingback: After forced-psychometric-test debacle, now Jobcentres prescribe online CBT | Lindas Blog·

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