A Monthly Summary of Beck Institute Updates [May 2013]

In its efforts to encourage the growth and dissemination of CBT throughout the world, Beck Institute has expanded its online presence across social media and other platforms. To keep you (our readers) informed of our most recent updates, we’ve decided to implement a monthly summary including: blogs, CBT articles, CBT trainings, and other updates for our readers. We’re very excited about some of the new developments at Beck Institute, including our new Core Curriculum. Please use the following links to go back and read what you may have missed from May 2013:

Click here for a complete schedule of Beck Institute workshops

See what you missed in April 2013

Telephone-Administered CBT is Effective for Depressed MS Patients with High Social Support

A study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine demonstrates that individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) who have high levels of social support receive significant benefits from telephone-administrated cognitive behavioral therapy (T-CBT). The current study compared T-CBT to telephone-administered emotion-focused therapy (T-EFT) among depressed MS patients with both high and low levels of social support.

Participants (n=127) were randomized to receive either T-CBT (n=62) or T-EFT (n=65).  Both treatments were delivered over 16 weekly, 50-minute sessions. The T-CBT group participated in a manualized treatment approach, including 5 chapters focused on identifying and modifying depressogenic thoughts, increasing the number of pleasant activities, enhancing problem solving and managing interpersonal difficulties. The T-EFT group emphasized the development of a genuine, supportive and validating therapeutic relationship, in order to maximize exploration of emotional experiences; therapists in the T-EFT group were not permitted to use interventions for modifying cognitions, behaviors, or skills. Both groups were assessed at baseline and at 16 weeks post-treatment.

Results showed that MS patients with high levels of social support had greater reductions in depressive symptoms following T-CBT, compared to T-EFT. Among patients with low social support, similar reductions were noted for both treatments. For patients with high social support, CBT may, therefore, be a more beneficial treatment approach than EFT.

Beckner, V., Howard, I., Vella, L., & Mohr, D. C. (2010). Telephone-administered psychotherapy for depression in MS patients: moderating role of social support. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 33, 1, 47-59.

Preventive Antenatal Group CBT for Chinese Women with Depression

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), major depression, including postnatal depression (PND), will be the second highest worldwide cause of disability and death by 2020. A recent study published in the International Journal of Nursing Practice, suggests that cognitive behavior therapy may be a promising treatment for women, worldwide, who suffer with PND.

Participants in the current study (n = 97) included pregnant Chinese women with mild to moderate depressive symptoms, recruited at the antenatal clinic in Hong Kong via convenience sampling. The trial program was conducted using quasi-experimental design.
Participants who received the intervention (n = 47) attended six, 2-hour, weekly group therapy sessions. Sessions focused on the core components of the cognitive behavior model, identifying patterns of irrational thoughts, strategies for managing unpleasant and stressful situations, identifying dysfunctional beliefs, relaxation exercises and engaging in pleasurable activities, and using CBT to handle future, stressful events.

Post-intervention evaluation showed highly positive feedback from participants. In fact, all of the participants agreed that content was easy to comprehend and reported that they found the intervention to be useful. This brief-antenatal CBT intervention was found to be both feasible for Hong Kong women and acceptable. This study provides helpful information for the future development and replication of the preventive, antenatal group CBT intervention.

Leung SSK, Lee AM, Chiang VCL, Lam SK, Yung C, Wong DFK. International Journal of Nursing Practice 2013; 19 (Suppl. 1): 28–37 Culturally sensitive, preventive antenatal group cognitive–behavioural therapy for Chinese women with depression, 19:1, 28–37.

The Importance of Diagnosis in CBT

In this video from a recent CBT workshop at the Beck Institute, Dr. Aaron Beck discusses the importance of diagnosis in effective cognitive behavior therapy. Dr. Beck explains that the patient’s diagnosis can be used, in part, as a guide for sessions, even when the focus of sessions shifts across treatment.

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Internet-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Severe Health Anxiety

According to a new study published in The British Journal of Psychiatry, internet-based cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) may be an effective treatment for individuals with health anxiety. Participants (n=81) in the current study were randomly assigned to either an internet-based CBT group (n=40) or to a control group (an online discussion forum) (n=41). Participants in the CBT group received a 12-week treatment intervention that incorporated mindfulness training (teaching participants to observe their bodily sensations without trying to control them), a 12-module self-help text, and a discussion forum (in which participants could anonymously communicate with other members of the same group.) Participants in the CBT group also had access to a therapist through a secure online system, however there were neither face-to-face nor telephone contacts during the study. Participants in the control condition were encouraged to utilize the discussion forum to discuss their health anxiety and ways of coping with it. At post treatment, results showed that the internet-based CBT group displayed superior improvements over the control group. In fact, two-thirds of participants in the CBT group no longer met criteria for health anxiety. Further, large treatment effects were also maintained at the 6-month follow up. These findings suggest that internet-based CBT for health anxiety may be a promising alternative treatment for individuals without access to face-to-face therapy.

Erik Hedman, Gerhard Andersson, Erik Andersson, Brjann Ljotsson, Christian Ruck, Gordon J. G. Asmundson and Nils Lindefors (2011). “Internet-based cognitive-behavioral therapy for severe health anxiety: randomized controlled trial”. The British Journal of Psychiatry.