CBT for Stress-Related Problems in Parents of Children with Disabilities

CBT studyMany parents who have children suffering from some form of chronic illness or mental disorder may experience chronic stress reactions of various types. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been proved to be effective in reducing stress-related problems, but there seems to be no study to date in which CBT has been tested on this specific parent group. Two case studies were therefore performed. Case 1 centered on a 47-year-old married woman, who has lived in Sweden for 12 months. She described how she had become increasingly exhausted, and she wanted help to find strategies enabling her to cope with everyday life. Case 2 featured a 45-year-old single mother, who had been on part-time sick leave due to depression and stress.10727349955_269cb8144b_z She described how she had always been anxious and worried and had had two episodes of depression. Both women had sons diagnosed with autism/Asperger syndrome. One of the women met the criteria for pathological burnout, while the other woman was just below the limit. The focus of the therapy for both women was on exhaustion, depression, and sleeping difficulties. In addition, therapy in Case 1 involved under-stimulation and in Case 2, anxiety. When the therapy ended, genuine improvements were registered for both clients. The results show that CBT can be an effective treatment of symptoms for this group of parents so that they can provide adequate support to their children, thus facilitating everyday life for a child with a chronic illness or disorder.

Anclair, M., & Hiltunen, A. J. (2014). Cognitive behavioral therapy for stress-related problems: Two single-case studies of parents of children with disabilities. Clinical Case Studies, 13, 6, 472-486.

Online Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy Reduces Perceived Stress Levels

Cognitive Behavior Therapy StudyThere is evidence that Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) can be an effective intervention for a wide range of chronic health problems.  Previous research suggests that mindfulness practices help alleviate stress. The authors of the current study sought to determine if online MBCT would also help decrease perceived stress levels among a self-referred sample.  Participants (100) took part in a 6-week mindfulness based stress reduction and cognitive therapy intervention program. They completed the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) before the program, after the program, and at 1-month follow up.  Results showed that online MBCT significantly reduced perceived stress levels; perceived stress levels remained stable at the 1-month follow up; and pre and post effect sizes were equivalent to levels found in other mindfulness and cognitive therapies delivered face-to-face. This study provides preliminary support for online based MBCT.

Krusche A., Cyhlarova E., King S., Williams J.M.G.  Mindfulness online:  A preliminary evaluation of the feasibility of web-based mindfulness courses and the impact on stress.  BMJ Open 2012; 2: e000803 doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000803

Cognitive Behavior Therapy helps prevent spread of HIV

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) recently launched a Healthy Living Project to promote healthful behaviors among those who have HIV. The Healthy Living Project had two phases: 1) to qualitatively investigate and understand the living contexts of those with HIV and 2) to offer an intervention – Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). Read more