Starting in 2006, the British government undertook an initiative to make high quality psychotherapy more widely available for people suffering from depression, anxiety, and related problems. While many different types of psychotherapy were already available, the government chose to make therapies proven to be effective available to as many patients as possible. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one example of a psychotherapy that the British government is attempting to make more widely available.
An article in the New York Times health section today, entitled “Lotus Therapy,” describes the increasingly prevalent use of mindfulness techniques in psychotherapy over the past ten years. The article describes the state of research on the use of mindfulness meditation as “thin,” and indeed the evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness’ use for anxiety and depression is not as substantial as the evidence for cognitive-behavioral therapy or antidepressant medication. However, the research that has been conducted to this point paints a picture of mindfulness meditation as [Read more…]
A recent New York Times article highlighted the difficulty many people face in deciding whether or not to seek help for emotional problems. The article describes a recent privately conducted research study that concluded that 19% of the 1.6 million members of the American military who have recently served in Iraq or Afghanistan have symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder or major depression. Of the 19%, however, only slightly more than half have sought help.
There are many reasons that people are reluctant to seeking help for emotional difficulties. One reason is the commonly held belief that [Read more…]
For many sufferers of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and other types of anxiety, deciding to seek help can be a difficult decision to make. Once that decision is made, another choice is required: what kind of help is best for me? Two of the most researched treatment options available are pharmacological treatment (medication) and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Many people will prefer one or the other, saying, “Oh, I would never want to take medication unless I had to,” or alternatively, “Just give me the pill, what’s the big deal?” This is a very personal choice that each person must make [Read more…]
A recent meditation study out of California has recently garnered significant publicity.
I will take this example as an opportunity to comment on media coverage of current brain research. It should be no surprise to anyone that the brain is the most complex organs in the body, and the most difficult to understand. Despite the frequent headlines about scientific advances, researchers have only a relatively primitive understanding of how the brain works. Some areas are well understood as very important to, say, breathing or balance. However, [Read more…]