Psychotherapy research

Treatment of chronic mental disorders can not be done without psychotherapeutic interventions. Given the special problems at hand, new therapeutic approaches have been developed.


       Treatment for work related anxieties must refer to the specificities of the anxiety provoking stimuli. First data support the notion that a targeted treatment can improve return to work.


        States of embitterment are difficult to treat because of the defiant and aggressive attitudes of the patients. In reference to research on the psychology of wisdom, “wisdom psychotherapy” has been developed. It is a form of cognitive behavior therapy with special additional techniques, like the “method of unsolvable problems”. Goal is to teach patients how to cope with or accept unsolvable problems. First controlled trials have shown that this approach has better results than conventional therapy.


        A regular treatment in psychiatric or psychosomatic inpatient settings is occupational therapy. In a study on the goals and methods of occupational therapy it was shown that it can increase the activity level of patients, train endurance, stress tolerance, or the ability to concentrate, train frustration tolerance, the ability to work diligently, or to engage in social contacts. Occupational therapy is applying principles of positive psychology and is a form of "salutotherapy" by fostering "health ".


        On this background, a controlled study was done to compare the effects of resistance training versus supporting recreation. In psychosomatic patients recreation oriented treatment showed better results in a variety of outcome measures, including the ability to work.


        One of the central elements of any rehabilitation or psychotherapy is patient education. Patients should be informed on the kind of their illness and what they can contribute to a good treatment outcome. Special broschures were designed to inform patients about their illness and the treatment process in cognitive behavior therapy. In a controlled clinical trial the result was that informed patients had a better knowledge. The therapeutic relationship and the treatment outcome was worse in informed patients.


        Effects of patient education have also been investigated in respect to somatic disorders. The cardiologists of the Rehabilitation Center Seehof have developed a training program for patients with heart failure. In a controlled trial it could be shown that participants appreciated the training and had afterwards a better knowledge about illness related topics. Also the subjective quality of life and psychological symptom were improved at the end of the inpatient stay. Their cooperation in therapy and their morbidity status were better than in the control group. This was also seen during follow-up after half a year.


        Quality control is a major problem in psychotherapy. The Behavior Therapy Competency Checklist, BTCC was developed to measure treatment quality. The instrument can also be used to train therapists. It could be shown that this improves the quality of treatment.



Research database

For more details please use the Charité undefinedresearch database.