Patients sometimes express curiosity about their therapists by asking them personal questions. When treating patients who suffer from alcohol and other substance use disorders, it is not uncommon for therapists to be on the receiving end of questions such as, “Are you in recovery too?” or “Have you ever used [insert name of substance]?” or “Haven’t you ever binge-drank?”
When a client of mine, Adam, was 22, he received the following diagnosis during a routine physical: elevated liver enzymes. He thought, “Oh my God, I’m going to die.” It was later revealed that the lab results were in error, but as he reported to me ten years later: “This catapulted me into heath anxiety.”
Years ago I asked many of the individuals whom I treated. “What accounted for your improvement in treatment?” Not infrequently, instead of attributing their improvement to the therapeutic strategies, they would often reply “You believed in me.”
Susan reported being 60 pounds over her ideal body weight. She had tried many diets that resulted in weight loss but were followed by regain once she returned to her typical eating habits.
Once motivation is identified as a target mechanism of change, the big question is how to increase the individuals’ motivation and effort to engage in the activities that will restore them to mental health.
Not all clients benefit from behavioral activation.This was the case with one of my clients, Sam. When we were setting goals, I asked him, “How would your life look different if you were not depressed?” Sam told me that absolutely nothing would be different.
Our findings noted above speak to the rationale for developing a holistic model which aligns closely with humanistic psychology, which traditionally deals with very broad features of human nature not readily observable or measurable: aspirations, values, engagement, investment, etc.
The following is a description of a consultation Dr. Beck had about an individual who has schizophrenia. Mary is a 47-year old woman who is upset about hearing voices (and hackers who will not leave her alone). She is divorced, unemployed, and somewhat hopeless. She has a good relationship with her 13-year old son.
Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a leading international source for training, therapy, and resources in CBT.
Soldiers Suicide Prevention (Beck Institute) is a Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) Approved Charity: CFC # 11590
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