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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.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Back Pain

A lot of people know that Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is effective for anxiety, depression, and many other psychiatric problems… But we’re guessing that not as many people know that CBT also reduces physical pain associated with many medical disorders and problems.

Check out this NY Times article — it talks about a review of 22 different studies, which show that psychological treatments reduce lower back pain. The two treatments that were most effective were Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Self-Regulatory Therapy. For a full list of disorders that CBT can treat, including MANY medical problems, see Cognitive Behavior Therapy Outcome Studies (sources are at bottom of disorder list).

Alternatives to Drugs for Hyperactive Children? Psychotherapy Can Help

 

A recent NY Times article talks about the prevalence of ADHD in children, and parents who want to avoid drugs like Ritalin. The American Psychological Association in fact recommends that parents consider non-drug treatment first for children. The article discusses one family that used new parenting techniques to help with their son’s ADHD, and also says that Cognitive Behavior Therapy has been demonstrated to help teach children how to improve their anger, frustration, depression, and anxiety. We actually just posted on how nurses used Cognitive therapy to help children ages 7-18 — see below…

Research Results: CBT is Effective for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Need help getting through the winter? This week’s NY Times article says that Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is effective for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) with or without light therapy, and that CBT is actually better than light therapy in preventing relapse among SAD sufferers.

The NY Times article refers to Dr. Kelly Rohan’s initial pilot study of 23 individuals with SAD. Dr. Rohan conducted a larger randomized controlled trial of 61 patients with SAD in 2005, and again found CBT to be effective in SAD treatment and relapse prevention. This later study is described in Science Daily, although the results have not yet been published. You can also read an interview with Dr. Rohan, in which she discusses her research on CBT for SAD.

Research Results: Having Trouble Sleeping? Experts Recommend CBT for Insomnia

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recently published updated guidelines for treating Insomnia and recommended Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) as an effective, evidence-based treatment. The Academy’s new guidelines are based on a large review of 37 sleep studies that examined the effectiveness of various treatments for 2,246 insomnia patients. This review showed that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), among other behavioral/psychological interventions, is an effective treatment for insomnia, and that sleep improvements last over time.

One Therapist Writes In: Switching to CBT

Last week, we received the following in an email from a therapist in Arizona who began using CBT with his clients, and for his own battle with Multiple Sclerosis. Here’s what he experienced, in his own words:

I am a Licensed Associate Counselor in Arizona currently working toward independent status.  I have had supervisors of various theoretical orientations.  A few months into my M. A. internship it became apparent that very few had any real insight into client problems and psychopathology.  While some were very gifted, others seemed clueless.  I found this discouraging.

About 2 years ago I began to read everything I could on CBT.  I have read many works from the UK, works from both Drs. Beck, and a host of works on OCD, chronic depression, etc. etc.  Imagine my surprise when a good number of my clients suddenly began completing homework and actually GETTING BETTER!! Interestingly, I now find that practitioners from around my area now refer clients to me with depression and anxiety disorders, in spite of the fact that I am not independently licensed (of course, I continue to practice under direct supervision in a state funded community agency, though I hope to enter private practice one day).  I don’t think this would be happening had I not embraced CBT.  I work in rural southwestern AZ.  Many people here claim to use CBT, but after conversation it becomes obvious to me that most of them simply use one or two cognitive techniques here and there and really don’t utilize any type of case conceptualization.

In May of 2006 I received some bad news and was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  Looking back, my disease probably began to present around 1999, but I did not recognize it at the time.  I have found the techniques set forth in Padesky’s “Mind over mood“, along with antidepressant medication, extremely helpful for coming to grips with the uncertain future that characterizes MS.  While complete disability is a real possibility for me, I have been able to really look at things from a realistic point of view, and avoid catastrophizing.  I recently began walking with a cane (something I should have begun doing about 6 months ago) and was surprised when two of my clients told me that their doctors have been hounding them for a long time to use a mobility aid.  When I told them how much more energy it gave me they seemed interested and seemed to make the connection that walking with a cane does not automatically mean that one is weak (especially when they see how fast I can move with it!!). Anyway, wanted to share this information.  I anticipate taking a formal training course in CT once I can get the tuition saved and looking into certification with the Academy once I hit independent licensure.

— Kevin L. Benbow, MA, LAC

Research Results: New Review Shows CBT is Effective for Children & Adolescents with OCD

A new review shows that Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is effective for pediatric Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). CBT can reduce distress and interfering symptoms among children and adolescents with OCD, and reduce the risk of relapse. CBT is effective by itself, and is also effective with medication, more so than medication alone. This review evaluated four separate studies, which were all randomized controlled trials of CBT for OCD.