In a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice, researchers investigated the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy (CBGT) incorporated into the typical routine treatment of an inpatient psychiatric unit. Typically the aim of inpatient treatment is to stabilize patients and prevent crises. The goals of CBGT in this study were to decrease violent and aggressive behavior, to improve relations among patients and between patients and professionals, to normalize patients’ experience of their disorder, to improve self-esteem, and to decrease patients’ feelings of isolation.
Typical goals of CBGT, which also applied to this study, are stress management, setting of specific goals (including plans for when patients are discharged from the unit), and homework assignments.
In this study, patients took part in CBGT for approximately 2 hours a day, 5 days a week. The structure of the therapy included setting goals, a review of previous homework assignments, a discussion about the topic of the day, and a new homework assignment. The therapy attempted to improve communication, help patients understand how their cognitions, emotions, and behaviors interact, and teach patients skills through strategies such as modeling, role playing, and structured problem solving.
The researchers measured efficacy based on readmission to the hospital, patient satisfaction, use of physical restraint, ward atmosphere, length of stay, and the number of beds needed. They compared years 1, 2, 3, and 4 with the control (year 0, where CBGT was not used). Results of the study included a significant reduction in readmission, especially for those suffering from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Additionally there was a significant increase in patient satisfaction at discharge. There was an overall decrease in the use of physical restraint, length of stay, and beds needed. The results suggest that the use of CBGT was an effective method in the achievement of the goals (listed above) for inpatients.
CBGT elicited the active participation of patients in therapy, helped normalize their illness, and helped them with problem solving. Interestingly, having patients teach other patients how to manage their problems was especially helpful. All these factors had a “large and immediate impact on patients.”
Study authors: F. Veltro, N. Vendittelli, I. Oricchio, F. Addona, et al.