Forbes Magazine: Patient Fix Thyself… Cognitive Behavior Therapy… may be better than Prozac

 

“Dump the Couch! And ditch the Zoloft. A new therapy revolution is here,” says the cover of the April, 2007 issue of Forbes Magazine.

Forbes is referring to Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), which has “been shown to be surprisingly effective in quelling an ever expanding array of mental maladies: depression, anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress syndrome, bulimia, hypochondria–even insomnia. Now almost 150 clinical trials are under way to learn whether CBT also can help patients with Tourette’s syndrome, gambling addiction, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome and more; one trial studies the therapy in children who have been sexually abused.”

The Forbes article highlights patients who improved with CBT, and includes commentary from leaders in the field, including Dr. Aaron Beck.

Cognitive Behavior Therapist – How to Find One

Two days ago, we received a great comment that said, “This is *not* what I experienced when I saw a cognitive-behavioral therapist… I wish cognitive-behavioral therapy as described on this site was available. Too many CBT therapists are not well-trained and refuse to think!” (you can read Sam’s full comments about the kind of ‘CBT’ that he and his friend received on this post – his is the fourth comment down).

We thought it was important to highlight his experience because we think many consumers may not know about the vast differences in training and approach among people who call themselves Cognitive Therapists or Cognitive Behavior Therapists. Read more

HBO Film on Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Addiction

HBO is launching a new addiction project, and one of its films features Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) as the “most effective treatment for stimulant addiction.” The film follows a group of individuals undergoing CBT treatment for addiction at the Matrix Institute in California.   Read more

Cognitive Behavioral Aspects of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

recent study followed 620 patients with gastroenteritis (an infection or inflammation of the stomach area) to see if they went on to develop Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) (a more chronic bowel disorder). Researchers wanted to evaluate whether those who developed IBS had any psychological factors in common. And in fact, they did. Read more

Most influential therapists of the past 25 years

A 2006 survey of 2,598 therapists showed that the 2nd most influential therapist was Aaron T. Beck, M.D. (the 1st most influential was Carl Rogers…). What’s more, 68.7% of the therapists surveyed say that they practice Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)! This is quite a change from 40 years ago.

Setting the Agenda in session

A frequent question I’m asked by clinicians who are not cognitive therapists is why we set agendas toward the beginning of sessions with patients. They often think that doing so will result in their missing out on important information. I tell them that we’ve found the opposite to be generally true.


We ask patients, “What problems do you want my help in solving today?” and guide them into naming the problems (as opposed to giving us a full description at that moment). Then we ask them to prioritize the problems and let us know roughly about how much of the session they’d like to devote to each one. When clinicians don’t set agendas, they deprive the patient of the opportunity to think through what is most important to them to spend time on in session.

-Judith S. Beck, Ph.D.

Women War Vets with PTSD improve through CBT

In the U.S., post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is more prevalent among women than men, and is especially prevalent among women in the military. This February 28th JAMA study is the first to examine PTSD treatment for this population – female veterans and women in active duty. Read more

Cognitive Therapy for Schizophrenia

Here’s what Kevin Benbow emailed to us about his experience supervising a clinician with her first schizophrenia patient:

As a clinical supervisor for a small, rural mental health clinic in Arizona I get the opportunity to supervise and train behavioral health technicians.  Such individuals have a wide range of experience and education levels and are allowed to practice under Arizona State law if they receive supervision from a licensed Behavioral Health Professional.

One of these clinicians has been particularly receptive to the cognitive model and has been helping many of her clients identify their automatic thoughts and subsequently test them.  Recently she assessed a client who was subsequently diagnosed with schizophrenia.  She had only weeks before experienced her first psychotic episode.  Read more

Recalling Recent Experiences in Session

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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. (“No one likes me.” “It isn’t worth doing anything.” “Everything is terrible.”)


Another reason I do this is to allow the session to be a little more conversational, a little lighter in tone. I also find that having patients recall positive experience lightens their mood and makes it easier for them to take a more realistic (less negative) view of their problems. A recent study confirms the importance of doing so. When people are depressed, their thinking is more rigid and ruminative when stimuli are negative, which translates into greater difficulty in solving problems.  

-Judith S. Beck, Ph.D.

“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 set up an appointment.  Read more