Cognitive Behavior Therapy Versus Light Therapy in the Treatment of SAD

NewStudy-Graphic-72x72_edited-3 According to a study published in the September issue of Behavior Therapy, researchers at the University of Vermont demonstrated that cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) was more effective than light therapy (LT) in the long-term treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Rohan and colleagues first randomized 69 participants into one of four groups: a light therapy treatment, a cognitive behavior therapy treatment, a combination of LT and CBT treatments, and a waist-list control. They then surveyed participants one year later. The results of that survey indicate that the CBT group (7.0%) and combination group (5.5%) had significantly less recurrence of winter depression during the following season, than the light therapy group (36.7%). These results persisted even after adjustments for ongoing treatment with light therapy, medication, and psychotherapy were made. A $2 million, 5-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) will advance the next phase of this study, which is already underway.


Rohan, K.J., Roecklein, K.A., Lacy, T.J., Vacek, P.M. (2009) Winter depression one year after cognitive-behavioral therapy, light therapy, or combination treatment. Behavior Therapy, 40, 225-238.

Nervous Extramural Trainees


We are holding a two-day workshop for our extramural trainees today and tomorrow. Many new mental health professionals are just starting the program and will be sending an audiotape or CD of a therapy session to their supervisor next week. As usual, at least several are having automatic thoughts about sending the recordings—they’re nervous about what their supervisor will think. I gave them an analogy. If they were starting tennis lessons, the tennis pro wouldn’t care if they were novice, intermediate, or advanced players. He or she would just hope to advance them from where they’re starting. I hope this allayed their anxiety! We don’t have expectations of where any of our trainees start. We just hope we’ll be able to improve their proficiency.

Judith S. Beck, Ph.D., Director

International Journal of Cognitive Therapy—Special Section on Mental Control

The most recent issue of the  International Journal of Cognitive Therapy’s (September 2009, Volume 2, Number 3) has received particular praise for its special section dedicated to “mental control”.  Brad Alford, professor of psychology at the University of Scranton and founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy wrote, “The timely topic of mental control is covered there in the most scholarly, cogent, and authoritative manner . . .”  The table of contents for the September issue (Volume 2, Number 3) is as follows:

    Mental Control of Anxious and Depressive Cognitions, David A. Clark
    Hidden Complications of Thought Suppression, Sadia Najmi and Daniel M. Wegner
    Maladaptive Thought Control Strategies in Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and Nonpatient Groups and Relationships with Trait Anxiety, Adrian Wells and Karin E. P. Carter
    Thought Control Strategies, Thought Suppression, and Rumination in Depression, Edward R. Watkins and Michelle L. Moulds
    Mental Control of Trauma Related Intrusions, Sherry A. Falsetti
    Mental Control of Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts: A Phenomenological Study of Nonclinical Individuals, David A. Clark and Christine Purdon
    Striving and Competing and its Relationship to Self-Harm in Young Adults, Katie Williams, Paul Gilbert and Kirsten McEwan
    Negative Interpretation of Bodily Sensations in Social Anxiety, Yoshihiro Kanai, Satoko Sasagawa, Junwen Chen, Shin-ichi Suzuki, Hironori Shimada and Yuji Sakano