Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine: Honorary degree for Aaron T. Beck, M.D.

At the 2008 commencement of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, an honorary degree was conferred upon Aaron T. Beck, M.D., for his contributions to psychiatry and mental health.

Japan: Social Anxiety Disorder shows positive response to group CBT

A study in BMC Psychiatry reported that the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) was well established in Europe and North America but little was known about its effectiveness in non-Western cultures.

A pilot study of group CBT for SAD was conducted in Japan (groups of 3 or 4; average number of sessions per group was 15). The CBT methods included psychoeducation regarding anxiety, experiments to reduce safety behaviors, cognitive restructuring for dysfunctional assumptions, and others. Where needed, co-administration of antidepressants and benzodiazepines was allowed.

The researchers found a significant reduction in symptoms pre- to post-treatment, and concluded that group CBT “can bring about a similar degree of symptom reduction among Japanese patients with SAD as among Western patients.”

Study authors: J. Chen, Y. Nakano, T. Ietzugu, S. Ogawa, et al.

Erectile Dysfunction benefits from Internet-based CBT

A study in the International Journal of Impotence Research reported that men with erectile dysfunction (ED) benefited from Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). An important aspect of this approach was that it removed much of the anxiety and embarrassment associated with face-to-face discussions of sexual problems. The CBT protocol included the men and their partners, and focused on psychological and relationship factors related to ED.

Designed as a 10-week program, couples participated in communication exercises, sensate focus activities, and email contact with therapists when needed. Improvements in ED were significantly greater among men who completed the program compared to those who received no treatment, and these findings were consistent with face-to-face psychological treatments. Additionally, the positive treatment effects remained stable during the 3-month follow-up period.

Study authors: M. P. McCabe, E. Price, L. Piterman, D. Lording