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Recalling Recent Experiences in Session

I do many things at the beginning of therapy sessions, one of which is to ask patients about their experiences since I last saw them. Depressed patients routinely report only negative incidents. I then ask them what positive things happened, or what was going on during the better parts of their week. One reason I do this is to collect data that may be contrary to their globally negative thinking.…

“My Adventures in Psychopharmacology”

There's a great article in New York Magazine about a young woman whose psychiatrist started her on a roller coaster of medications at the age of 16. She found out about Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) several years later when she read an article her parents had mailed to her. She said that CBT was: "...a treatment Dr. Titrate [not his real name] had always dismissed. After I read it, I…

Patients with Hypochondriasis Respond to Cognitive Behavior Therapy

In a recent study, patients with Hypochondriasis were randomly assigned to either Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Paroxetine (i.e. Paxil) or a placebo. All patients completed a self-report measure prior to treatment, and after 16 weeks of treatment or placebo. Of the 82 patients who completed the course of treatment: 54% of patients who received CBT improved. 38% of patients who received Paroxetine improved. 12% of patients who received placebo improved. The team who…

Does Cognitive Therapy = Cognitive Behavior Therapy?

There seems to be a lot of confusion about the difference between Cognitive Therapy (CT) and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). Why? Well, sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably... and sometimes they're not.   So does CT = CBT? Not always. Here's how the two are related. Cognitive Therapy (CT) is: A specific form of therapy developed by Aaron T. Beck, M.D. in the 1960s. The first psychotherapy to be subjected to rigorous clinical testing (Dr. Beck…

How Thinking Can Change the Brain

Sharon Begley's article about changing your brain appeared in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago -you can read it here, and you can also listen to Sharon Begley discuss the mind's ability to reshape the brain on NPR. Begley talks about the fact that thoughts can alter and shape the brain's structure and circuitry - you can actually change your brain with your own mind. She gives many incredible examples of the effects of thinking on the brain, including the…

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Shows Promise for Children with Mental Illness – JAMA Article

  The numbers are astonishing: 20% of children in the U.S. have some form of mental illness. Only 1 in 5 receives treatment. In a 2004 study of 439 children and adolescents with depression, researchers found an interesting phenomenon. They observed 3 groups of children: one group got Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) alone. The second group got fluoxetine alone. And the third group got both CBT plus fluoxetine. After 12 weeks…