Psychology and culture: Dr Cucchi presents research in Kuala Lumpur

Psychology professionals are calling to export a modified version of cognitive behavioural therapy – a Western-based therapeutic framework – to the Greater Middle East.

Dr Angie Cucchi presents at the conference in Kuala Lumpur

Dr Angie Cucchi, Regent’s Lecturer in Psychotherapy and Counselling, was invited to present at the third International Conference on the Future of Education last October in Kuala Lumpur.

In her presentation, she explored the benefits, challenges and controversies when it comes to combining modern and traditional approaches to mental health – especially in societies where religion is so embedded in everyday life.

She drew on the results from the first-ever clinical trial on the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in Iraq, in which she and her colleagues investigated how effective the treatment is for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder in Iraq.

The study also highlighted how important commitment is in this sort of therapy.

‘This is an exciting discovery because it allows us to investigate what professionals can do to increase commitment in different segments of the population,' said Dr Cucchi. 'I’m currently working on a modified model of CBT that incorporates more traditional beliefs, to ensure that everyone’s belief system is represented. Ultimately, the goal is for the positive effects of therapy to reach the widest audience.’

Dr Cucchi’s suggestions for adaptations of CBT are currently under review. ‘Once the paper is accepted and the suggestions are deemed acceptable, we can start testing it. Exciting times ahead!’