A doctoral researcher of Psychology, Claudia Buntrock, at Leuphana University in Lueneburg, Germany found in her examination the effectiveness of online psychotherapy or Web-based Counselling Services in treating depressive episodes.
The analyst considered both male and female participants who were suffering from depressive symptomatology. They were provided with online treatment by a web-based mentor. Another category of participants was just given access to self-help manuals and guidelines about how to deal with depression. The second group of participants had no access to an online mentor. All of the participants who were part of this experiment were interviewed after one year. Interesting findings were obtained through the research. The group of individuals having no access to online counselling showed a significant increase in depressive symptomatology despite having access to written material on self-improvement while those receiving online help were less likely to develop depressive episode. This experiment has opened new boulevards for internet-based treatment services.
The creator of this study has recommended that an online self-help program is only effective when guided by an online counsellor. This kind of treatment not only helps to deal with depression effectively but also prevents the onset of the depressive episode.
The implications of findings suggested that individuals who simply encounter even minor depressive manifestations, for example, low mood, lack of interest in activities, fatigue, appetite disturbance, lethargy, absence of hope, absence of enthusiasm, self-blaming, suicidal ideation and so forth can approach an online specialist and therefore keep an outbreak of depressive episode.
Hence, it is an alarming sign for the individuals who are at the edge of mental illness while here is uplifting news for the individuals who have lost any trust in online treatment. You can now certainly profit from online psychological services to turn away your depressive manifestations. The sooner you look for online help, the better results you will get.
Senior Psychologist/ Online Psychotherapist/ Chief Editor
The term “psychological problem” is defined as any kind of mental state in which a person feels distressed or disturbed. The psychosocial functioning of the person gets affected such as academics and job performance is not up to the mark, the friendships, social contacts, and family relationships become troublesome and person’s daily life is messed up. This upsetting condition last for longer durations let’s say more than a week or a month. There are different kinds of psychological problems for example depressive state is associated with mood, anxiety relates with worries, adjustment issues are related with long-lasting stress and psychotic disorders are a kind of perceptual disturbance in which person has extrasensory experiences e.g. hearing unusual voices or seeing weird things which others can’t experience.
A variety of psychological treatments is now available for the management of psychological disorders. Behavioural therapy, psychodynamic approach, client-centered treatment, and cognitive behavioural therapy are some of the treatment options one can avail from a psychologist. Among this variety of treatments, cognitive behavioural therapy is proved to be the best treatment for most of the psychological disorders.
Recent researches by clinical psychologists suggest the effectiveness of cognitive behaviour therapy in the long run. Cognitive behavioural treatment in some cases is supposed to be more effective than pharmacological treatments. For example, a study conducted by clinical psychologist Mehwish Mursaleen along with Dr Uzma Ali associate professor at Institute of Clinical Psychology, University of Karachi shows the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural treatment for quick recovery of Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia. They had a client with severe symptoms of anxiety and panic. The client was unable to move out of home due to the fear of sudden anxiety attacks. Her life was limited to the bedroom and she even feared to drive or travel a car. She had not travelled through a plane for a long time. The client had three to five panic attacks per day. She had constant nausea and anxiety. With increasing severity of the panic disorder, she also developed symptoms of depression. All these symptoms started after an event of an emergency situation raised during her travelling through an aeroplane. She also had one of her uncles died of heart attack during plane travel. Before the development of psychological problems, she had a very social and active life but after such incidents, she had confined herself inside her room and she couldn’t run her home due to which all of her family life was disturbed.
She had all her medical test reports showing normal results while she was suspecting to have any heart disease. As recommended by medical professionals, she approached to a psychological clinic where psychologists treated her with cognitive behavioural therapy. She was provided with therapeutic interventions including cognitive restructuring in which thought processes were altered to create healthy thoughts/beliefs. De-catastrophizing continuum offered normal perceptions regarding travelling, minor bodily symptoms, and her ability to control the symptoms. Systematic desensitization was useful in regulating her anxiety through graded exposure, imagination, and relaxation.
With the completion of treatment within four months, she became perfectly all right and started managing her daily tasks effectively. She had two to three plane travels from Pakistan to abroad and within Pakistan without any single moment of anxiety. She was even able to handle her life situations in a more efficient manner than it was prior to the development of her anxiety symptoms.
With this case study, the researchers showed the effectiveness of CBT in a clinical setting. There are many other instances of treating mental disorders with the help of cognitive behavioural techniques. Psychological management is becoming first-line treatment nowadays, whether it is a hospital, rehabilitation, private clinic or community setting. Therefore, our mental health professionals are acclaimed to include psychological strategies and be committed providing the best services to our people.
Revealing the Logic of Our Brain behind Irrational Yawning Behavior
You must have experienced or listened by someone that yawning is contagious. You might be exposed to various comments regarding this phenomenon. You might have observed that if someone else is yawning you also tend to yawn. Is the sound of a yawn contagious? Have you ever experienced anyone watching a video or picture of a yawning person tend to yawn instantly? If someone yawns while observing others yawn must be sleepy? Is he getting bored? Because we are social beings so is the yawning transferred socially? These and many other questions regarding the phenomenon of yawn were existing in everyone’s mind. Do you know this debate is now under research and scientific observation? Yes! this is true. Just like everyone, this topic developed curiosity in scientists who observed this phenomenon under scientifically controlled settings.
One of the research conducted during 2013 by researchers in Switzerland who studied this matter. In Zurich University, they gathered 11 volunteers and showed them 3 different kinds of videos i.e. one containing laughing incidents, another containing neutral situations, and a video of yawning person. While the participants were watching videos, their fMRI was recorded. It was found that more than half of the participants who watched other persons yawning in the video were more likely to yawn as they watched the video. The brain area called inferior frontal gyrus was highlighted while they yawned. Whereas, those who were watching videos of laughing or neutral acts showed no activity in this area of the brain. This interesting study revealed brain area to be responsible for making a mirror image in brain cells (through mirror neurons) which tend to be imitated by the person (i.e. the person yawns in response to a yawn).
You can test this with a simple experiment. Visualize an image of a person yawning. Just maintain your focus on the image. Observe what happens. You will be surprised even while reading this article unconsciously some people tend to yawn. You may also tend to yawn unintentionally while visualizing, hearing, or reading about yawn.
There is more to study about the yawning phenomenon. Animal studies have been conducted to gain more insights about the facets of yawning. An article published in Frontiers of Neurology and Neuroscience revealed more aspects of contagious yawning with respect to social, evolutionary and neuroscience links of human behaviors. In an Italian Zoo, neuroscientists observed twenty-one baboons with respect to behaviors such as yawning, sleeping, nurturing, priming, and walking. They found that not merely observing other baboons led them to yawn, but their yawning behavior was more related to the time they spend in nurturing and grooming of each other. Thus, it is more about the connection, affection, and closeness in the relationship which determines their contagious yawning behavior.
The interesting findings regarding the phenomenon of contagious yawning are opening doors for many other facts. If the mirror neurons play a role in contagious yawning and this behavior is further related to social familiarity and the degree of closeness among creatures, there might be indications that mirror neurons can also show links with imitation or understanding of other person’s experiences. Empathy is the state where a person can put himself in the other’s shoes. Can there be a link between mirror neurons and the development of empathy? We await further discoveries to unleash the topic.
Dr. Mehwish Mursaleen
Ph.D. Clinical Psychology
Source: Psychology Today
Up till now psychologists focused more on the emotional domain of person’s disturbed state and changing those disturbing factors to adopt new healthy ways. This is true for the cognitive behavioral approaches to psychotherapy which is a widely used approach in mental health treatments.
A new research conducted by Doctor Noga Cohen showed intriguing findings. She conducted a study on a group of German participants in order to find out how ignoring the irrelevant information affects those brain areas which deal with emotions. The researcher engaged participants in two kinds of tasks. One which involved emotional kind of activity in which they had to ignore negatively charged emotional pictures. Other task involved simply notifying the pointing of an arrow to either left or right side while ignoring its direction to any side. The participants were trained in this activity and while performing the tasks both groups of participants were tested through fMRI showing activity in different areas of the brain. The researcher found that participants who were trained in ignoring emotional stimuli exhibited less activity in their amygdala which is responsible for producing negative emotions like depression, anxiety and anger etc. compared to the other group which was trained in ignoring simple things like direction of the arrow. Moreover, the intense training group showed more activity in brain connections to frontal cortex which is responsible for effective handling of emotions.
This study showed that if we train our patients suffering from any psychiatric illness about how they can ignore irrelevant emotional situations, they can better manage their psychological problems. This study has developed new ways for cognitive behavior therapists who can modify new strategies to treat their patients.
Dr. Mehwish Mursaleen
Ph.D. Clinical Psychology