Does Chinese medicine consultation share features and effects of cognitive-behavioural therapy? Using traditional acupuncture as an example

Zheng, Z, Paterson, C and Yap, K 2013, 'Does Chinese medicine consultation share features and effects of cognitive-behavioural therapy? Using traditional acupuncture as an example', Australian Journal of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 6-15.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

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Title Does Chinese medicine consultation share features and effects of cognitive-behavioural therapy? Using traditional acupuncture as an example
Author(s) Zheng, Z
Paterson, C
Yap, K
Year 2013
Journal name Australian Journal of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
Volume number 8
Issue number 2
Start page 6
End page 15
Total pages 10
Publisher Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association
Abstract Background: Acupuncture, as part of Chinese medicine (CM), is based on a holistic therapeutic theory. Individualised differential diagnosis is the essence and an integral part of its practice. It leads to an individualised treatment plan. Little research on the nature and effects of the CM consultation has been conducted. Previous studies showed behavioural and cognitive changes after traditional acupuncture treatment. In this article, through a hypothetical case, we illustrated a CM consultation process, examined the changes produced and compared the features between CM consultation and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). Main text: The two therapies share nine out of eleven features, including five specific factors that took different forms in CM and CBT and four non-specific factors known to partially mediate the relationship between psychological therapies and positive therapeutic outcomes. Although Chinese medicine treatments induce changes in behaviours as well as cognition, CM consultation does not share two essential features of CBT, namely a framework of the interaction between behaviour and cognition and teaching patients how to identify and dispute dysfunctional thoughts. Discussion: CM consultation has CBT-like features and effects. Existing qualitative studies suggest that changes in behaviours and cognition after traditional acupuncture treatment are probably due to the CM consultation process or its combined effect with needling, rather than acupuncture needling alone. This hypothesis provides a new perspective on the contributing factors to acupuncture effect. CBT-like features and effects of traditional acupuncture is underestimated by practitioners and researchers, and need to be taken into consideration in acupuncture trial design and clinical practice.
Subject Traditional Chinese Medicine and Treatments
Psychiatry (incl. Psychotherapy)
Keyword(s) Chinese medicine
cognitive-bahavioural therapy
medical consultation
Copyright notice © 2013 Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association
ISSN 1833-9735
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