CBT & Social Anxiety Disorder

CBT studyWe examined whether Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for social anxiety disorder (SAD) would modify self-reported negative emotion and functional magnetic resonance imaging brain responses when reacting to and reappraising social evaluation, and tested whether changes would predict treatment outcome in 59 patients with SAD who completed CBT or waitlist groups. For reactivity, compared to waitlist, CBT resulted in (a) increased brain responses in right superior frontal gyrus (SFG), inferior parietal lobule (IPL), and middle occipital gyrus (MOG) when reacting to social praise, and (b) increases in right SFG and IPL and decreases in left posterior superior temporal gyrus (pSTG) when reacting to social criticism. For reappraisal, compared to waitlist, CBT resulted in greater (c) reductions in self-reported negative emotion, and (d) increases in brain responses in right SFG and MOG, and decreases in left pSTG. A linear regression found that after controlling for CBT-induced changes in reactivity and reappraisal negative emotion ratings and brain changes in reactivity to praise and criticism, reappraisal of criticism brain response changes predicted 24% of the unique variance in CBT-related reductions in social anxiety. Thus, one mechanism underlying CBT for SAD may be changes in reappraisal-related brain responses to social criticism.

Goldin, P. R., Ziv, M., Jazaieri, H., Weeks, J., Heimberg, R. G., & Gross, J. J. (2014). Impact of cognitive-behavioral therapy for social anxiety disorder on the neural bases of emotional reactivity to and regulation of social evaluation. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 62, 97-106.

Workshop Participant Spotlight – Natasha Mullen, LPCMH


Natasha Mullen, LPCMH works in a pilot program by the state of Delaware as a Behavioral Health Consultant. In this position, she provides counseling for middle school students. She also works as a coordinator and intensive outpatient counselor for Delaware guidance services, as a youth group leader, and as an instructor at Wilmington University. She is trained in TF-CBT, but has always wanted to learn the full foundation of CBT – “I learned so much over the last 3 days”. Learning about behavioral interventions was especially helpful and rewarding for her professional life. “CBT aligns with my personal beliefs of treatment and the relationship with clients”. She most enjoyed seeing Dr. Aaron Beck “If I could just be a pinch of him!”

Use of CBT for Insomnia in Cancer Patients

CBT studyIndividuals with cancer are disproportionately affected by sleep disturbance and insomnia relative to the general population. These problems can be a consequence of the psychological, behavioral, and physical effects of a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Insomnia often persists for years and, when combined with already high levels of cancer-related distress, may place cancer survivors at a higher risk of future physical and mental health problems and poorer quality of life. The recommended first-line treatment for insomnia is cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), a non-pharmacological treatment that incorporates cognitive and behavior-change techniques and targets dysfunctional attitudes, beliefs, and habits involving sleep. This article presents a comprehensive review of the literature examining the efficacy of CBT-I on sleep and psychological outcomes in cancer patients and survivors. The search revealed 12 studies (four uncontrolled, eight controlled) that evaluated the effects of CBT-I in cancer patients or survivors. Results suggest that CBT-I is associated with statistically and clinically significant improvements in subjective sleep outcomes in patients with cancer. CBT-I may also improve mood, fatigue, and overall quality of life, and can be successfully delivered through a variety of treatment modalities, making it possible to reach a broader range of patients who may not have access to more traditional programs. Future research in this area should focus on the translation of evidence into clinical practice in order to increase awareness and access to effective insomnia treatment in cancer care.

Garland, S. N., Johnson, J. A., Campbell, T., Savard, J., Gehrman, P., Perlis, M., & Carlson, L. (June 18, 2014). Sleeping well with cancer: A systematic review of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia in cancer patientsNeuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 10, 1113-1123.

Impact of CBT on Self-Efficacy in Panic Disorders

CBT studyCognitive models of panic disorder (PD) with or without agoraphobia have stressed the role of catastrophic beliefs of bodily symptoms as a central mediating variable of the efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Perceived ability to cope with or control panic attacks, panic self-efficacy, has also been proposed to play a key role in therapeutic change; however, this cognitive factor has received much less attention in research. The aim of the present review is to evaluate panic self-efficacy as a mediator of therapeutic outcome in CBT for PD using descriptive and meta-analytic procedures. We performed systematic literature searches, and included and evaluated 33 studies according to four criteria for establishing mediation. Twenty-eight studies, including nine randomized waitlist-controlled studies, showed strong support for CBT improving panic self-efficacy (criterion 1); ten showed an association between change in panic self-efficacy and change in outcome during therapy (criterion 2); three tested, and one established formal statistical mediation of panic self-efficacy (criterion 3); while four tested and three found change in panic self-efficacy occurring before the reduction of panic severity (criterion 4). Although none of the studies fulfilled all of the four criteria, results provide some support for panic self-efficacy as a mediator of outcome in CBT for PD, generally on par with catastrophic beliefs in the reviewed studies.

Fentz, H. N., Arendt, M., O’Toole, M. S., Hoffart, A., & Hougaard, E. (2014). The mediational role of panic self-efficacy in cognitive behavioral therapy for panic disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 60, 23-33.

CBT for Aggressive Behavior in Young Male Offenders

CBT studyThis 9-week study was designed to determine whether a commercial cognitive-behavioral training program could effectively reduce overt aggression behavior in Chinese young male violent offenders. Sixty-six participants were randomly assigned to receive routine intervention alone (control group) or routine intervention plus Williams LifeSkills Training (WLST group) in a 1:1 ratio. The primary outcome was change scores on the Modified Overt Aggression Scale (MOAS) from baseline to one week following end of training. Secondary outcomes were change scores on the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-11 (BIS-11) and Cook–Medley Hostility Scale (CMHS). There were significant between-group differences in change of MOAS total score (P < .001) and all sub-scores (Ps < .01) except aggression against property. Between-group differences were also observed in change of BIS-11 and CMHS total score (Ps < 0.05). All results favored the WLST group. These findings suggest WLST has the potential to be an effective intervention to reduce overt aggressive behavior in young male violent offenders.

Chen, C., Li, C., Wang, H., Ou, J., Zhou, J., & Wang, X. (2014). Cognitive behavioral therapy to reduce overt aggression behavior in Chinese young male violent offenders. Aggressive Behavior, 40, 4, 329-336.

Use of CBT for Severe Mood Disorders in “Real World” Settings

CBT studyThe current study examined the effectiveness of brief cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for severe mood disorders in an acute naturalistic setting. The sample included 951 individuals with either major depressive disorder (n = 857) or bipolar disorder with depressed mood (n = 94). Participants completed a battery of self-report measures assessing depression, overall well-being, and a range of secondary outcomes both before and after treatment. We found significant reductions in depressive symptoms, worry, self-harm, emotional lability, and substance abuse, as well as significant improvements in well-being and interpersonal relationships, post-treatment. Comparable to outpatient studies, 30% of the sample evidenced recovery from depression. Comparison of findings to benchmark studies indicated that, although the current sample started treatment with severe depressive symptoms and were in treatment for average of only 10 days, the overall magnitude of symptom improvement was similar to that of randomized controlled trials. Limitations of the study include a lack of control group, a limitation of most naturalistic studies. These findings indicate that interventions developed in controlled research settings on the efficacy of CBT can be transported to naturalistic, “real world” settings, and that brief CBT delivered in a partial hospital program is effective for many patients with severe depressive symptoms.

Björgvinsson, T., Kertz, S. J., Bigda-Peyton, J., Rosmarin, D. H., Aderka, I. M., & Neuhaus, E. C. (2014). Effectiveness of cognitive behavior therapy for severe mood disorders in an acute psychiatric naturalistic setting: A benchmarking study. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 43, 3, 209-220.