For Kids With Anxiety, Parents Learn To Let Them Face Their Fears

The first time Jessica Calise can remember her 9-year-old son Joseph’s anxiety spiking was about a year ago, when he had to perform at a school concert. He said his stomach hurt and he might throw up. “We spent the whole performance in the bathroom,” she recalls.

After that, Joseph struggled whenever he had to do something alone, like showering or sleeping in his bedroom. He would beg his parents to sit outside the bathroom door or let him sleep in their bed. “It’s heartbreaking to see your child so upset and feel like he’s going to throw up because he’s nervous about something that, in my mind, is no big deal,” Jessica says.

Jessica decided to enroll in an experimental program, one that was very different from other therapy for childhood anxiety that she knew about. It wasn’t Joseph who would be seeing a therapist every week — it would be her.

Full story at npr.org

A Psychotherapist Goes To Therapy — And Gets A Taste Of Her Own Medicine

Even therapists need someone to talk to sometimes. Lori Gottlieb is a psychotherapist who started seeing a therapist herself five years ago, when the man she thought she would marry unexpectedly broke up with her, shattering her sense of the present and the future.

“My reaction was the reaction of everybody that I told at the time, [which] was ‘This guy’s a jerk! You dodged a bullet!’ ” Gottlieb says. “But once I go to therapy, I start to see — or I’m forced to see — the situation, and my role in it too.”

Gottlieb writes about her experiences as a psychotherapist in therapy in her new book, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. She notes that she initially thought she needed just a few sessions to get her through her crisis, but stayed in therapy much longer — and learned a lot about herself in the process.

Full story at npr.org

A Shorter—but Effective—Treatment for PTSD

First-line treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often require many treatment sessions and delivery by extensively trained therapists. Now, research supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has shown that a shorter therapy may be just as effective as lengthier first-line treatments. The study appeared in the March 2018 issue of JAMA Psychiatry.

First-line treatments for PTSD consist of psychotherapies that focus on exposure and/or cognitive restructuring. One such therapy is cognitive processing therapy (CPT), which is widely acknowledged as an effective treatment for PTSD. Patients being treated with CPT take part in 12 weekly therapy sessions that are delivered by a highly-trained practitioner. During these sessions, patients learn to recognize and challenge dysfunctional thoughts about their traumatic event, themselves, others, and the world. In addition, patients are given homework to complete between sessions.

Full story at NIMH

Cognitive behavioral therapy can be as effective as second-generation antidepressants to treat major depressive disorder

Major depressive disorder affects more than 32 million Americans, and their first stop for treatment is often their primary care provider. A recent evidence review of several alternatives to medication found that using cognitive behavioral therapy as the first treatment for depression can be equally effective as using a second generation antidepressant.

The research from the RTI International-University of Chapel Hill Evidence-based Practice Center was published in the British Medical Journal. The authors focused specifically on comparing second generation antidepressants, such as Wellbutrin, Lexapro and Prozac with cognitive behavioral therapy, which includes several in-person or phone sessions with a therapist to examine how actions and thoughts can impact depression. Second-generation antidepressants refers to newer antidepressants introduced primarily in the 1980s and 1990s.

“Major depressive disorder is a disabling and prevalent form of depression, experienced by more than 16 percent of U.S. adults during their lifetime,” said Arlene Bierman, M.D., Director, Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement, at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which funded the study. “Most patients will be prescribed antidepressants. However, the evidence shows that cognitive behavioral therapy can be just as effective, providing important information for patients and their physicians to consider when choosing among available treatment options.”

Full story of cognitive behavioral therapy and treating major depression

Digital Therapist: Computer program analyzes speech, mental health

Imagine this scenario: You’ve been feeling persistently blue lately, so you pull out your phone. Instead of asking Siri to tell you a joke, though, you open an app that records you simply talking about your day. A few hours later, your therapist sends you a message asking if you’d like to meet.

A program like this one that analyzes your speech and uses it to gain information about your mental health could soon be feasible, thanks in part to research from the University of Maryland showing that certain vocal features change as patients’ feelings of depression worsen. The team behind the work will present their findings at the 168th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), held October 27-31 at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown Hotel.

Full story of digital therapy for mental health at Science Daily