Usually we write in about recent studies — and this unemployment study is actually from 1997, but we thought it was interesting enough to warrant highlighting. People often ask us about using Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) techniques for everyday life issues (as opposed to using CBT for specific psychiatric disorders), and this unemployment study, conducted in the UK, is a great example of how CBT can be applied to other areas.

Here’s the overview: researchers recruited 289 people who had been unemployed for more than one year (but who did not have psychiatric disorders). They were randomly assigned to either group CBT or a control group that focused on social support. They filled out questionnaires about their mental health, job seeking and job finding activities (at the beginning of the study, upon completion, and at follow-up 3-4 months later).

Those in the CBT group had significantly better improvements in mental health measures, and significantly more of them had found full-time work by the follow-up period. As researchers noted, “…results suggest that group CBT training can improve mental health and produce tangible benefits in job-finding.”

The CBT program taught individuals to identify their automatic thoughts, test their validity, do some behavioral monitoring and experimentation, and apply what they learned to job-seeking during the week, in between sessions. CBT for finding employment is typically problem-solving oriented, and helps individuals to make progress step by step, and address any thoughts and underlying beliefs that are preventing individuals from making progress along the way.