Mood Disorders: Effects of Intensive CBT

NewStudy-Graphic-72x72_edited-3A recent study in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice found that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) interventions used in an intensive partial-hospital (PH) setting are effective in treating severe mood disorders.

PH settings differ from inpatient treatment in that they are more flexible and less expensive. In this study, with CBT as the primary treatment, the length of stay was only 2 weeks. The researchers’ aims were to find the specific aspects of CBT that were successful in the treatment of mood disorders in a short-term PH setting.

The treatment included group and individual psychotherapy. Patients attended 12-20 group sessions per week. A written treatment contract was used and reviewed weekly to set specific goals and promote collaboration between patients and staff.

Group therapy was primarily CBT-oriented. The goals of therapy included teaching self-assessment (such as challenging maladaptive thoughts), behavioral coping (such as behavioral scheduling and behavioral activation), and developing better and more effective communication strategies.

The two-week treatment was divided into two stages. In the first, patients learned to identify triggers and utilize cognitive restructuring, among other interventions. The second stage included relapse prevention plans for a crisis situation and future plans (such as returning to work or school).

The researchers showed that both behavioral activation and a decrease in negative cognitions are associated with a decrease in depressive symptomatology at discharge. Additionally a decrease in negative thinking is associated with reduced general psychological distress at discharge.

Study Authors: M. S. Christopher, K. L. Jacob, E. C. Neuhaus, T. J. Neary, L. A. Fiola

Short-term CBT in a partial-hospital setting


Patients in partial-hospital settings live at home but come to the hospital three to five days a week to receive structured treatment. A two-week pilot study reported in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice investigated subjects who attended a mood and anxiety program in a partial-hospital setting. Researchers administered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and found a significant decrease in symptoms and negative thought patterns.

Treatment interventions were based on psychoeducation and skills training, and specifically targeted self-assessment and behavioral coping. Acquiring CBT skills prompted patients to develop a structured self awareness, which led to “reduced negative thought patterns and improved satisfaction with life.” The study authors indicated that future studies were planned to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment during a follow-up period.

Study authors: E. C. Neuhaus, M. Christopher, K. Jacob, J. Guillaumot, J. P. Burns