There has been very interesting research over the years discussing what types of personality traits effect the perception of happiness. There is evidence that suggests that extroverted people are happier than introverted people. This makes sense as it has been found that extroverted people are more likely to surround themselves with people, which we know is recommended to depressed people to help improve mood. Isolated people tend to be more depressed than more social people in my experience working with the mentally ill. Other studies attribute happiness with the quality of optimism
There is another study that I found that I find very interesting. It is found in the Journal of Affective Disorders in January of this year. “Personality and the perception of health and happiness” Cloninger CR, Zohar AH. In this study they found that the traits of Self-directedness was strongly associated with all aspects of well-being. Additionally, Cooperativeness was strongly associated with perceived social support which we know is strongly associated with well-being. Another personality trait of Self-transcendence was associated with positive emotions.
Can these personallity traits be developed? The research is not clear but I believe it can. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one way. Another way I forsee in developing these qualities would be through the development of spirituality. I regularly see patients in my practice who have been able to develop these qualities to help them be more happy people. That is why I regularly engage my patients in CBT and also have discussions of spirituality to those patients who are open to it. Many have been able develop these personality traits and others that have helped them improve their perceptions of happiness.
There is a very interesting study out of the journal of Child Psychiatry and Human Development out this month. It was a study of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders who suffered from anxiety. The purpose of the study was to try out Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for 16 weeks with these children to see if anxiety could be reduced. This therapy was also compared with a Social Recreational program.
Results were significant. Children in both groups showed lessened anxiety levels at 6 month follow-up.
This study also made suggestions to make programs successful. Factors such as regular sessions in a structured setting, social exposuire, the use of autism-friendly stategies and consistent therapists were mentioned as components of effective management of anxiety in children and adolescents with ASD.
In my practice I usually focus on one of three types of therapies depending on the diagnosis and particular characteristics of the patient. For the most neurotic types of patients I find CBT to be the most effective. Neurotic types tend to take too much responsibility for the problems of the world. They tend to over think things. I find that CBT helps them be more realistic in their thinking process. These kinds of patients also often benefit from interpersonal therapy where we focus on relationships with people, communication skills and problem solving skills. For the more disorganized and psychotic patients I find that CBT is often too challenging for the patient. It is hard for them to organize themselves, do homework and challenge themselves without further disintegration of the ego. For these types of patients I tend to stick with interpersonal therapy, problem solving and supportive therapy.
There has been abundant research in recent years that demonstrate the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in the treatment of numerous mental health disorders. There was even one study that showed that it helped in reducing chronic pain syndromes. This begs the question whether or not CBT is the best psychotherapy out there for mental health disorders? Some believe that to be the case for some conditions.
In the August 2010 issue of the Clinical Psychology Review it reports an analytic meta-review of the subject. They compared CBT to psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal therapy and supportive therapy. Overall, what they found was that CBT was superior to psychodynamic therapy, although not interpersonal or supportive therapies, at post-treatment and at follow-up. Confirming my suspicions, they found CBT to be superior to the other therapies for 2 classes of conditions: anxiety and depressive disorders. For my practice, this is the most valuable therapy as I see more anxious and depressed types of patients than anything else. Probably makes up at least 90% of my patients.
Interestingly, my observation is that it helps almost everyone. I use it in marital therapy with good results! I even tend to use it on my own marriage–disguising it of course! I find that spouses don’t like to be what they call “psychoanalyzed.” So, I continue to do it but try to leave out all the lingo. Shhhh! Don’t tell my husband!
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy improves ADHD Scores
This month a very interesting research study was recorded in the journal of JAMA. It addresses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as an ADHD treatment
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT, is most successfully used in conjuction with medication in my opinion, but often the medication does not offer complete relief of all bothersome symptoms. This study compared CBT with relaxation and educational support. Please note that all the subjects were already on medication but all had symptoms that remained.
Results of this study showed CBT to be superior to relaxation and educational support in the lessening of ADHD symptoms.
I love and highly recommend CBT and find it very effective for many types of mental health conditions from depression, anxiety, bipolar, and psychotic types of illnesses. I am glad to hear that it shows promise with ADHD as wel