Topic 4: The Practice of CBT – Psychoeducation {by 9/28}

There is one reading due this week (Wright et al. – 1 Chapter).  For this discussion, share at least one main thought: (1) Admittedly, not much is covered in our readings for psychoeducation (much more will be said in class).  Why is psychoeducation considered a vital component to effective CBT (please go beyond saying it “educates” clients!).  Your original post should be posted by the beginning of class 9/28.  Have your two replies posted no later than 9/30.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

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42 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lindsey
    Sep 24, 2017 @ 09:15:41

    Psychoeducation is way more than “educating” the client… I received an undergraduate education and can’t tell you half the stuff I ‘learned’! The takeaways I do recall are due to experiential learning – via critical thinking and getting my hands dirty out in the field. It’s one thing to educate but it is another thing entirely to actually learn.

    Psychoeducation is vital for turning on the lightbulb so to speak – to help the client have that Aha! moment for change. Old habits die hard, especially maladaptive patterns of thinking and behaving. Socratic questioning engages the client and prompts critical thinking, exploration, and insight. A customized visual aid that involves the client’s real-life problems can help illustrate the linkage between events, thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Educational homework assignments are equally, if not more, helpful; examples include writing out a thought record, habitually filling out or reading coping cards, and examining evidence as it pertains to perception vs. reality. A CBT therapist acts as the educator/teacher during therapy by walking the client through the value of the assigned homework and how it applies to the client’s life. When the client actually gets to put it into practice, they begin to develop new insights and personal accountability for the problem at hand. The use of a therapy notebook allows clients to track rating scales, new insights, and to reflect on progress overtime. Even when therapy is over, the therapy notebook will act as a resource or tool for the client to utilize in future. By stimulating the client in and out of session, they are guided towards a new (more adaptive) way of thinking. If knowledge is power, then clients should be armed with enough knowledge to adequately identify negative automatic thoughts to end or prevent maladaptive behaviors, emotions, and cognitions. Ultimately, this knowledge helps clients become their own best advocate for when times get tough. A second vital component of psychoeducation, as hinted earlier, is that it provides structure related to goal-setting, tracking progress, and feedback. This type of structure offers the client hope for change and “organizes the direction” of therapy. In general, integrating structure and psychoeducation into therapy offers guidance for the client during times of emotional unrest.

    Reply

    • Liisa Biltcliffe
      Sep 29, 2017 @ 21:22:03

      Lindsey, I like your lightbulb metaphor–the “A-ha” moment that psychoeducation provides. What you pointed about old habits dying hard is so true. It takes a while for those maladaptive cognitions to form and embed themselves in the clients’ heads, so it makes sense that it will take a while to “undo” them. I also liked how you mentioned Socratic questioning and how important that aspect is. I had thought of that when doing my post and then never actually added it in, and yet it is an important part of CBT.

      Reply

    • Sarah Hine
      Sep 30, 2017 @ 08:20:36

      Lindsey,
      The specific techniques that are involved in psychoeducation are really valuable, and I think you did a great job explaining how these experiential techniques aid the client in learning. From homework to therapy notebooks, these tools not only increase collaboration between therapist and client, but they show the client how CBT can be applied to their lives. For clients who may have doubts about therapy, these methods can show the client how effective CBT can be if they are actively applying it outside of therapy. I also like the specific example you provide of therapy notebooks, because it shows how clients can literally take away information they learned in therapy beyond sessions and apply it to their lives. Practical, hands on methods like these allow for psychoeducation to make a lasting impression.

      Reply

  2. Venessa Wiafe
    Sep 24, 2017 @ 22:07:03

    Psychoeducation is a salient aspect in therapy. Psychodeucation helps therapists provide information not only for their clients, but the immediate family members, such as legal guardians, of clients, if the client happens to be a minor. Psychoeducation is known to be the procedure utilized to offer information and education to individuals that are in need of services to help eradicate and treat their various mental health issues and concerns. A client may not know much about their mental disorder and it is vital for the client to understand their disorder better, so they can comprehend what is going on with their mental state and well being. Clients should be able to have a full understanding of all of the unfortunate events and challenges that they are dealing with. Psychoeducation goes beyond just simply educating clients and parents of clients diagnosed with mental disorders about their disorders. Psychoeducation helps implement coping mechanisms that clients can utilize for treating their disorders. Along with instilling strategies to cope, clients are able to learn about their strengths and various resources to assist them in therapy. These aspects help clients to gain more authority over their challenges, which can lead them to help themselves in partnership with the therapist towards treatment and getting better. Five important methods utilized in psychodeucation within therapy are the provision of mini-lessons, engagement in sessions used to write out exercises, the utilization of a therapy notebook, recommending certain readings, and the utilization of computer-assisted cognitive behavior therapy. Mini-lessons are proviided to help clients engage in CBT and facilitate ways for the client to comprehend information distributed to them in therapeutic sessions, such as techniques and theories. For instance, a therapist may draw out a diagram, which will be utilized to explain what is going on in the client’s life and why they are having maladaptive thoughts and are engaging in maladaptive behavior. Therapists write out exercises that a client engages in while being in therapy, so that the client can have both a verbal and visual representation of the CBT procedure they are learning about in a given session. This can help the client adhere to the vital information they receive in therapy as well. The therapy notebook can be used by clients to take notes in therapy. Clients can be able to refer to their notes in the future whenever they run into any issues. They also use it whenever they need to refresh their memory about what they learned in CBT, so that they can apply it to their lives. Therapists can inform their clients about sites available on the internet that they can access as a source to educate them. Computer-assisted CBT can give the therapist another way to help their clients with CBT skills and the treatment process. These technology programs can interact well with clients and can access it even post therapy whenever they need it. It is important for the therapist to assign readings for their clients or sites to scope out that align with their therapy state so that it won’t overwhelm them. They should learn or read additional material that is in relation to what they are learning about in therapy. Therapists must be able to effectively teach their clients the skills needed through therapy so that their clients can be their own counselor and prevent their challenges from resurfacing. The client should be able to end their CBT sessions with not having to hold onto therapy or their therapist anymore. They should be able to tell their therapist that they are ready to face anything life hands them on their own and take all the skills and knowledge they received with them. Clients are able to take CBT with them every day of their life even when the sessions terminate. This will help them continue to get better post therapy and treat themselves daily so that they can live a better life.

    Reply

  3. Stephanie Welch
    Sep 26, 2017 @ 10:13:44

    Psychoeducation is considered a vital component to effective CBT because it provides more than just education to a client. While it is important for the client to learn about therapy and the their diagnosis, there is evidence that psychoeducation leads to better treatment outcomes. I think this is due to knowing how to use the skills taught in therapy and being able to apply the skills after therapy is terminated. I also think that homework has a contributing factor as well. Homework allows the client to practice and reinforce the skills used in therapy. Also homework allows the therapist to address any problems that the client encountered while attempting to implement the skills into everyday life. This allows the client to identify any future problems that he or she may encounter in the future.
    Wright et al points out three reasons for conducting psychoeducation. The reasons are teaching skills, reducing relapse, and the continuation of skills after therapy is terminated. Psychoeducation reduces relapse by the client being able to identify his or her negative thoughts. Once the thoughts are identified, the client can take the steps necessary to change the thoughts and reduce his or her maladaptive behavior. The skills taught in therapy are for the client to use after termination since the therapy is short term.
    I think that the method of psychoeducation is as important as giving the psychoeducation. Wright et al suggests a number of ways to educate a client in psychotherapy. These include written exercises, lectures, therapy notebook, reading, and the use of computer technology. I think that visual aids should be added to Wright’s list because some people learn better with seeing the ideas in pictures. Although Wright mentions visual aids in lecture form, I think that visual aids can be helpful in the written exercises and therapy notebook. A client could draw out the impact of his or her negative thoughts on his or her behavior. This might help the client to better understand how thoughts influence behavior.

    Reply

    • Chiara Nottie
      Sep 30, 2017 @ 13:33:06

      Hi Stephanie,

      Your post covered main topics that mine did. I also think the main point of psycho-education is to foster independence in a client, so they can utilize CBT skills outside of therapy. This ability not only helps the therapy process while sessions are still occurring but also once therapy has been terminated. Our discussion in class about the client having knowledge from psycho-education to be able to contribute collaboratively during therapy sessions stuck out to me as well. I can’t imagine not supplying the client with information or explanations about psychology and themselves (the client) and expect a successful outcome.

      Reply

    • Lindsey
      Sep 30, 2017 @ 19:08:39

      Hi Stephanie, I agree with the comment you made mention of pertaining to the inclusion of visual aids. Though Wright didn’t explicitly use that terminology (i.e. “visual aids”), I do want to note there is an honorable mention related to the value of written diagrams and other learning aids as a means to enhance the educational experience. Wright highly suggests the use of a circular diagram to show clients the linkage between events, thoughts, emotions, and behavior as shown in Figure 4-1 on pg. 81. I like the idea of using patients’ real-life examples in the circular diagram as a way to illustrate ’cause and effect’ so to speak for the client.

      Reply

  4. Luke Gustavson
    Sep 26, 2017 @ 16:09:27

    One purpose of psychoeducation within CBT is to ensure that the client understands the process and the work they are doing. Not only does this demystify CBT to the client, which likely increases self-efficacy related to therapy and therapy assignments, but this also allows the client really to understand what they are actually attempting to accomplish. Without an understanding of what an automatic thought actually is how should we expect the client to discern an automatic thought from an emotion or regular thought? The simple and unvarnished answer to this question is that psychoeducation keeps the client from groping about in the dark, hoping they bump into the answer they are looking for.
    More granularly, CBT proposes that a use of psychoeducation is to teach skills and techniques to clients in order for them increasingly to apply these as time in psychotherapy goes on. This gives the client an active role in psychotherapy, aimed to assist in the ultimate goal of the termination of therapy. In this case, psychoeducation acts as a vehicle by which the role of psychotherapist transfers from the teacher to the student, who is then able to act as their own therapist for the time to come, ideally improving their lives and reducing the risk of relapse.
    This approach differs from many other therapeutic orientations, many of which might not structure psychotherapy in a way that encourages termination of therapy. Psychoanalysis, when done “right” is likely to continue for years on end. On the other hand, Rogerian therapy hardly has any structure and seems not to use psychoeducation at all. Therefore, I might state that CBT’s particular stance on psychoeducation may be a hallmark of the therapy and truly speaks to the collaborative nature of the orientation. Particularly for CBT, an educated client is more likely to be an active client, and active clients are more likely to get positive results and improve their overall psychological well-being.

    Reply

    • Shay Young
      Sep 30, 2017 @ 13:10:05

      Luke,
      I think your post was really good for two reasons. I like that for one, you spoke on the idea that psychoeducation was a hallmark of CBT. I hadn’t really thought about how CBT focuses more on the educational aspect that other therapies. Sure, I was aware CBT is more empirical and more structured than other therapies, but I never thought too much about the idea of educating the clients. To me, its common sense that if you invite a client into your office, that you’d expect to educate them on what your theoretical orientation is and what that means. It’s kind of like the bread to your butter, or at least it should be. It’s really baffling that clients wouldn’t be turned off by not understanding or having any idea of how the therapy will be effective.

      I also like that you talked about psychoeducation making therapy more collaborative. I think that’s an excellent point. As we saw from the in-class videos, when the client is educated on core beliefs or automatic thoughts, those concepts can be incorporated into the therapy. You don’t want to have all the knowledge while your client is left in the dark. Explaining CBT can make therapy more of a shared process, and can potentially equalize each role (client and therapist).

      Reply

    • Lindsey
      Sep 30, 2017 @ 19:20:31

      Hi Luke, I really appreciate your concluding point that an educated client is an active client. Granted, this is the ideal expectation of all clients but I do think you have a valid point… psychoeducation might motivate change or the client’s willingness to change. This puts a lot of pressure on new therapists to get the psychoeducation component ‘right’ during clients’ first few sessions. Despite our personal insecurities as new therapists, I definitely agree that this is not something a therapist should skip or gloss over with a client because how is a person supposed to change something they don’t acknowledge?

      Reply

  5. Liisa Biltcliffe
    Sep 26, 2017 @ 20:05:00

    Psychoeducation is important for a number of reasons. It is more than just educating the client. The main aspect to psychoeducation is to teach clients the basics of CBT, to give them some hope that there they will feel better. It is also teaching clients skills for them to take into the “real world” and apply. This is crucial for clients to be able to be their own therapists, to not have to rely forever on another person. They need to be able to rely on themselves. Psychoeducation also increases clients’ self-esteem in that they can learn about and do things for themselves. Feeling self-reliant and having self-efficacy is important in that it helps clients combat depression and/or other disorders. Psychoeducation helps build the feeling of self-efficacy in that while doing the skills and obtaining positive feedback from the therapist, clients begin to feel as if they are accomplishing something and are successful. I liked the section on mini-lessons where you teach clients skills not necessarily through formal psychoeducation and homework, but rather through a more laidback, easygoing storytelling type of technique. Learning skills through psychoeducation also helps clients prevent relapse. Armed with a therapy notebook, they can refer to it and utilize the skills long after ending therapy. Therefore, psychoeducation is a vital part of CBT.

    Reply

    • Julie Crantz
      Sep 27, 2017 @ 17:53:39

      Hi Liisa,
      You make a really important point that psychoeducation is much more than simply educating a client. I agree that psychoeducation gives hope to clients that they will feel better and it will provide them with skills they can take with them into their daily lives. You highlight many beneficial aspects of psychoeducation that are very insightful, such as building clients’ self-efficacy and self-reliance, and helping them to feel accomplished and successful. I really appreciate your positive views on psychoeducation!

      Reply

    • Alana Kearney
      Sep 29, 2017 @ 15:47:37

      Hi Liisa,
      I liked your emphasis on the point that the client needs to learn not to depend on another person. I think it is natural for humans to rely on others and look to other for help when we have a problem. In many cases, that is why people go to therapy. However, through the process of psychoeducation, it is important to establish an understanding with the client that we are there to help, teach, and guide, but they should never feel the absolute need to depend on us for the long term. Dependency feels safe and comfortable and we will often want to just give the clients the safety they crave, but it is more important to provide them with long-term solutions.

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    • Matthew Collin
      Sep 30, 2017 @ 11:24:34

      Hi Lisa,

      I really like how you incorporated the term “self-efficacy” in your response. This is something I didn’t really think about, and how having some knowledge of how to structure for thoughts may allow someone to appraise a psychological stressor as more of a challenge, rather than a problem they have no skills for to overcome.

      Reply

  6. Olivia Grella
    Sep 27, 2017 @ 08:09:06

    Psychoeducation is a crucial component to effective CBT for a variety of reasons. The basic part of psychoeducation that everyone assumes is that it educates the client about their diagnosis and what happens in CBT. The client’s family is also included in this process. However, psychoeducation does a lot more than just educate the client and effective psychoeducation can lead to better treatment outcomes. The reading by Wright et al. included some reasons as to why psychoeducation should be something that is included in therapy. The first reason is that the client is being taught specific skills to cope or overcome their diagnosis. These skills are to be continued to be used throughout therapy so teaching the client why they are important from the start can be possibly lead to better treatment outcomes than if they were left unexplained. A second reason included in the reading was that it helps the client avoid relapse. This can come from learning effective skills to better prepare them for when they leave therapy. Having those skills in place and working on them over the course of therapy can help the client know how to use them and continue to use them after therapy has been terminated. The chapter also mentioned that psychoeducation can assist the client to become their own therapist while in therapy. This piece goes back to what was previously mentioned about helping the client avoid relapse. The therapist is helping the client for when they will no longer be in therapy with them anymore. By giving them the skills to function on their own is a huge accomplishment because CBT is not something that is supposed to happen forever. If the client can learn in therapy how to identify their automatic thoughts and what to do when that happens on their own, they will be better off when they are on their own and no longer have the therapist to help them. Another benefit of psychoeducation that I took from the readings was that there are a lot of different ways and methods that it can be done. Typically, different clients are not always going to come in at the same stage of therapy. Having different ways to approach doing psychoeducation can help the therapist individualize it in a sense because they can pick a method that will meet the client where they are at. This way they can build off from that specific client is instead of starting in a place that might make no sense and that the client is not skilled to handle yet.

    Reply

    • Venessa Wiafe
      Sep 28, 2017 @ 14:32:42

      Hi Olivia,
      I really liked how you included that CBT is not suppose to last forever. It is indeed a short form of psychotherapy, with the main aim of identifying automatic, negative thoughts and treating them by replacing them with much more adaptive and healthier thoughts, which will lead the client to behave in a better manner If the therapist just informs the client about what CBT and what his diagnosis is, it wont exactly assist the client with getting better. The client needs to be able to put CBT into action as well. The client needs to also be apart of his treatment and also know how to reach that outcome. The client should be able to become his own therapist, as you stated, so that they can help themselves outside of therapy and when therapy terminates.

      Reply

    • Alana Kearney
      Sep 29, 2017 @ 15:44:32

      Hey Olivia,
      I liked that you included the importance of psychoeducation as a means to prevent relapse. Psychoeducation is often seen as just informing the client of what he/she is getting into with therapy. Obviously, therapists want their clients to be able to use their skills in real life situations after therapy terminates, but I think it is especially important when you think that these skills are meant to prevent relapse. Often times, a client will end therapy before all his/her problems are solved and although it is good for them to get out on their own, it can be nerve racking to send them away and hope they don’t relapse and suffer any more. That it was psychoeducation is extremely important to teach so that the client becomes more self-aware and better prepared in future difficult situations in order to prevent relapse.

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  7. Sarah Hine
    Sep 27, 2017 @ 09:20:43

    Psychoeducation is an important aspect of CBT, and in some ways, it sets it apart from theoretical approaches that preceded it. This is because psychoeducation involves teaching clients the core principles of CBT, and teaching how to integrate this knowledge into therapeutic interventions aimed at behavioral and cognitive changes in the client. Our reading suggests that the main objectives of CBT (helping a client identify thoughts, controlling moods, and altering behaviors) can be met through psychoeducation. By understanding the “big picture” approach to therapy through learning about what CBT is and being educated about its main principles, clients will have the opportunity to better understand why and what is happening in each session and how it relates to their treatment. Through psychoeducation and building skills related to clients’ goals, therapy deals with not only the present but also the future. The methods involved, such as therapy notebooks, homework, and informational readings, are hands on and require involvement on the client’s part, not just in session but out of session too. This hands-on approach adds to the learning experience of therapy, and will ensure that the client is able to apply therapy to their lives in a practical way that goes beyond just identifying and talking about his problems. Because the clients are being educated and reinforced through practice, they will learn and apply behavioral and cognitive changes that they can generalize to other situations in their life. Through psychoeducation clients have the opportunity to be empowered, not just to be involved in the session, but out of the session as well. They also are empowered to become their own therapist, able to apply the concepts they learned beyond their last session of therapy. This decreases the chances of relapse. Practically speaking, psychoeducation also complements the structure of CBT sessions and helps to maintain flow and direction. It helps the client and therapist stay on track and acts as a bridge between identifying problems and goals and beginning behavioral interventions.
    Psychoeducation is also a vital part of building a collaborative therapeutic relationship and has the potential to increase client investment. When the client understands the therapeutic process and the methods being used, they are able to work with the therapist, rather than blindly following the therapist’s lead. Psychoeducation also places responsibility on the therapist and keeps her accountable within sessions. The therapist is required to be knowledgeable about CBT and must be able to teach it in a way that the client understands, and she must be able to vary homework and methods of education based on what will best reach the client. A good understanding of the therapeutic process and a knowledge of the client on the therapist’s part will allow for effective therapy.

    Reply

    • Julie Crantz
      Sep 27, 2017 @ 17:43:08

      Hi Sarah,
      I appreciate how you discuss the importance of psychoeducation in playing a vital role in building a collaborative therapeutic relationship with a client. Psychoeducation truly empowers clients to learn the tools needed to make lasting and impactful changes to their thinking, emotions, and behavior. I agree it is also critical for the therapist to be held accountable within sessions and take responsibility for teaching and coaching clients. Psychoeducation does just that and much more. It is a wonderful facet of the CBT approach.

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    • Olivia Grella
      Sep 27, 2017 @ 19:14:09

      Hi Sarah, I like how you incorporated in your answer how psychoeducation can strengthen the therapeutic alliance and lead the client to participate more in therapy. Psychoeducation helps the client understand what to expect and allows them to ask questions along the way. If they weren’t able to do this than it could possibly lead them to drop out or feel disconnected from their therapist.

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    • Luke Dery
      Sep 29, 2017 @ 12:49:45

      Hi Sarah,

      I liked the comment you made about how CBT doesn’t involve “blinding following the therapist’s lead.” Individuals go to therapy to solve problems and learn more about themselves, and it seems like some other orientations are pretty strict about keeping the workings of therapy a mystery. If people can’t understand why something is working in therapy, they really haven’t gained much for the long-term. Psychoeducation can bring a better understanding of oneself, whether that be a particular disorder or just insight into their own mental state.

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    • Shay Young
      Sep 30, 2017 @ 13:21:43

      Hey Sarah,
      I liked that you used the word empowerment. I think its similar to self-esteem in some way, but I do believe empowerment is a very strong word. It has a connotation of feeling called to action and feeling very passionate. I think that if you’ve empowered your client then you are definitely doing something right. I do believe that psychoeducation can be a means of empowering a client. I can compare that to being in a class or finding a subject that interests you. Maybe that one class inspired and empowered you to choose a certain career. Education can be that powerful. Knowing how something works can absolutely increase client investment, motivation, and interest.

      I also like your point on holding the therapist accountable. If the client Is educated, the therapist needs to make sure to only speak in an educable way. What I mean is that with therapy, I feel like it’s easy to say things that aren’t necessarily true. As Dr. V said this is the easiest field to pretend through. I think if you’ve educated your client, it does hold you more responsible for staying consistent and speaking in fact. It’s like the example Dr. V used of teaching undergraduate students vs graduate students. Once a group is educated and knowledgeable, you must be even more professional and knowledgeable too.

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    • Chiara Nottie
      Sep 30, 2017 @ 13:37:10

      Hi Sarah,
      A lot of us have been commenting about how psychoeducation is necessary for therapeutic success in CBT (or any other therapeutic discipline), however not many of us have mentioned the CBT model. When you described the model it really showed how psychoeducation is a needed aspect of CBT, otherwise CBT therapy would not work. I appreciate CBT respecting clients enough to feel compelled to educate them, but I also think part of CBT’s success comes from it collaborative approach. Having clients be informed and engaged in therapy is the way to achieve collaboration.

      Reply

  8. Matthew Collin
    Sep 27, 2017 @ 11:39:32

    Psychoeducation is vital to CBT because it is used to teach clients how to cope and conceptualize their psychological struggles beyond the therapy session, and teach them skills they can use long after therapy ends in order to prevent relapse. A client shouldn’t feel the need to have the therapist with himself/herself, or feel dependent on the therapist’s wisdom after therapy ends. This is why psychoeducation is so critical – it gets rid of that dependence.
    Psychoeducation also puts the therapist in the role of a coach, and not so much of an expert that is the one that solves all the problems, but as a coach. I believe the education process in CBT gives control back to the client and not just the therapist. Clients play a crucial role in solving problems in CBT. If someone knows, and can conceptualize what his/her problem thoughts are, then they can work on fixing them. The CBT therapist is there to teach them areas of the model in which the client can use during and long after therapy.
    The final reason why I think psychoeducation is so important is the collaboration of it. Educating the client is one thing, but having him/her begin conceptualizing his/her own problem thoughts and behaviors in a cognitive behavioral way, allows them to create ideas on how to tackle and overcome them. Once the educational framework is taught, the client and therapist can start collaborating better treatment plans and goals with each other.

    Reply

    • Stephanie Welch
      Sep 30, 2017 @ 06:56:34

      Matthew,
      I liked how you pointed out that psychoeducation creates independence for the client. Some people view the therapist as the person to tell then what to do and how to do it. I think that you mentioning the role of the therapist as a coach is very important. I also think that the collaboration of the therapist and the client allows the client to be confident in identifying and solving his or her problems.

      Reply

    • Luke Gustavson
      Sep 30, 2017 @ 08:27:18

      Hello Matt,

      One of the things that struck me was your comment on clients becoming dependent on therapists, with psychoeducation being the thing which breaks that dependence. I sat here for a few moments attempting to wonder what CBT would be like without the psychoeducation portion and it felt a lot closer to psychoanalysis, particularly for the client who would likely be sitting there, listening to the psychotherapist and understanding not a word of it.

      Could other portions of therapy foster dependence? I would argue that the nature of the therapeutic relationship could foster dependence in some, but not all, clients. Getting better and attributing this to the therapist and not oneself may do this as well. However, I think that CBT’s insistence on gradual independence and eventual termination act as therapeutic failsafes for something like dependence, and psychoeducation certainly plays an important role for clients in independent thinking.

      Reply

  9. Noella Teylan-Cashman
    Sep 27, 2017 @ 14:59:40

    Psychoeducation is one of the most important foundational aspects of CBT. Without first ensuring that the client understands the facets of their diagnosis and the framework of therapy, any further interventions will be unsuccessful. (I feel it is also important to note that therapists should first inquire about the clients’ existing knowledge before delving into psychoeducation, so as not to assume that clients are clueless before starting therapy/ accounting for the fact that they may have had prior experiences working with other clinicians).

    If/when a client has a grasp on their own condition, the interventions used to treat their condition, and the purpose behind those interventions, therapy will be the most effective. This way, clients will be more willing to comply with treatment processes such as homework, in-session assessments, etc. Psychoeducation also provides clients with the knowledge and tools to recognize maladaptive behaviors and the need for change without direct guidance from their therapist. This aids the collaborative process of goal setting and provides an opportunity for clients to implement coping skills learned in therapy. When done correctly, psychoeducation also helps clients achieve a level of self-sufficiency that will allow them to continue adaptive functioning after therapy is discontinued.

    Reply

    • Olivia Grella
      Sep 27, 2017 @ 19:41:59

      Hi Noella, I like what you mentioned in the beginning of asking the client about their prior experience in therapy and what they know. This gets into meeting the client where they are at in therapy. If the client already has a general understanding, it would be best to start where they are unclear instead of restarting the whole process for them. Having this understanding can be crucial for effective therapy.

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    • Luke Dery
      Sep 29, 2017 @ 12:57:32

      Hi Noella,

      I really liked your point about assessing a client’s previous knowledge about psychoeducation topics. I often wonder if some of the stuff I’m teaching clients is obvious to them, and I think that belief can make it tempting to rush through psychoeducation. I think a lot of information can seem “common sense” to us because we’ve been studying in this field for so long. To add to that, client education level would be important to acknowledge. Not that being more educated makes you smarter, but it does lead to more exposure of certain information and styles of thought. Overall, I think we need to not only assess a client’s prior experiences in therapy, but also their knowledge base.

      Reply

  10. Julie Crantz
    Sep 27, 2017 @ 17:21:23

    Psychoeducation is considered to be a vital component to effective CBT. During the course of CBT treatment, psychoeducation is incorporated to teach clients about the cognitive model along with basic CBT concepts and methods. Psychoeducation is an important aspect of CBT which helps the client with learning and establishing valuable and adaptive coping skills (Wright, Basco, & Thase, 2006). During CBT sessions, clients learn how to adjust their cognitions, regulate their moods, and alter their behaviors to be more constructive and positive. Imparting knowledge of CBT techniques and practices to clients also decreases the risk for clients to relapse. One of the many benefits of CBT is the goal to help clients become their own therapists, and psychoeducation is a key element for this. There are a number of psychoeducation methods employed during treatment which include mini-lessons, written exercises, and the use of a therapy notebook. Therapists use suggested readings such as self-help books and handouts as another means of psychoeducation to reinforce skills practiced during session. Home-work assignments are given to clients to complete in between sessions for clients to apply lessons learned during sessions. Computer technology is another option that can be used in treatment to facilitate psychoeducation (Wright, Basco, & Thase, 2006). Psychoeducation is a critical feature of CBT that helps to support a successful outcome for the client during treatment.

    Reply

    • Stephanie Welch
      Sep 30, 2017 @ 17:35:55

      Julie,
      I liked that you mentioned that the clients become their own therapists with psychoeducation. I also liked that you said “imparting knowledge of CBT techniques”. I think that statement is important to make because clients need psychoeducation to be able to recognize negative thoughts and be successful in making changes to their thoughts and behaviors. I think that statement also points out that clients should have the knowledge of CBT techniques in order to be able to understand CBT so that they will eventually not require therapy.

      Reply

  11. Luke Dery
    Sep 28, 2017 @ 06:23:57

    Psychoeducation has a few key purposes in effective CBT. First of all, CBT is based on the idea that clients can learn skills to aid in making changes in their lives. Therefore, there is an inherent need for learning and education in order to actually help clients. If clients aren’t learning skills, they aren’t fully participating in CBT. Psychoeducation provides clients an understanding of the problems they are facing and pertinent information that can aid in working towards goals. For example, psychoeducation can involve discussing the cognitive model to aid a client in better understanding how their negative thinking is leading to negative emotions and behavior. Psychoeducation can also involve giving clients reading information about medications or their mental disorder. This knowledge can help clients engage better in the therapy process, but also serves the purpose of helping avoid relapse in the future. One of the goals of CBT is helping clients learn to be their own therapist, so psychoeducation involves helping clients learn how to continue to use CBT skills after therapy. Additionally, clients must learn how to effectively take CBT skills used for one problem and mold them for future problems down the line. For example, a client coming to therapy for depression can learn skills to use for future bouts of depression, or even for other situations such as a period of anxiety. Psychoeducation can happen in many forms during therapy. Learning occurs naturally between therapist and client in the development of skills via session work and homework. Psychoeducation can also be given in other forms. Therapists often provide handouts or books with relevant information. Computers and the internet provide an opportunity for psychoeducation. Therapists can give their clients videos and refer them to websites that offer free resources. This can also encourage client autonomy as they can read or research at whatever amount they play and can have easier access to CBT resources. Overall, psychoeducation is key to CBT in that is helps facilitate one of the main goals of helping clients develop skills and knowledge they can use even after therapy has terminated.

    Reply

    • Liisa Biltcliffe
      Sep 29, 2017 @ 21:30:59

      Luke, I really liked how you said that if clients are learning skills, then they are not fully participating in CBT. This is so true and something that might be overlooked as a concept. In addition, you took the concept of applying skills after therapy has ended one step further by saying that the client can apply skills for depression to other aspects of the client’s life (such as for anxiety). In this aspect, CBT is quite versatile.

      Reply

    • Luke Gustavson
      Sep 30, 2017 @ 08:41:42

      Hello Luke,

      CBT really does emphasize – more than other theoretical orientations I am aware of – education and learning. This is accomplished through psychoeducation, as has been pointed out, and it is also through the learning of skills, but I think there is another layer of learning occurring in CBT. If we think of someone with a specific phobia we know that they have learned to fear something. Exposure therapy, then, is education in that we gradually teach our client that this is not a thing to be feared.

      The same goes with correcting cognitive distortions, automatic thoughts, and core beliefs: Dr. Volungis has regularly mentioned that we do not correct things that are TRUE. Of course, this would lead to a false sense of self which may be psychologically maladaptive for a client, but it also has educational implications in that we as therapists are simply teaching the client how to recognize and alter these things. However, no matter how we slice it, all of CBT is education: teaching clients about their cognitions, their emotions, their behavior, their disorders, and how to fix these things themselves.

      I guess the real point of CBT for a therapist – the end goal – is to make oneself irrelevant to the client.

      Reply

    • Matthew Collin
      Sep 30, 2017 @ 11:29:23

      Hi Luke,

      I really like how you mentioned how psychoeducation not only teaches the CBT model, but also gives someone information about their disorder, and the best ways to deal with a lot of the symptoms. It gives people more power and control over their disorder. It may even help them find the right treatment if they ever need to go back to therapy. For instance, if they walk into a therapists office, and that therapist has a couch, and has them shoot the crap for an hour, that client will know that the therapist isn’t the one that they need, and will know what is quality therapy.

      Reply

  12. Alana Kearney
    Sep 28, 2017 @ 09:55:23

    Three things that we have learned in previous readings so far this semester have been the ideas that CBT is meant to be a structured therapy, a short-term therapy, and a collaborative process. In order to fulfill these requirements and goals, psychoeducation is important in the therapeutic process. Psychoeducation provides clients with information about the meaning of their diagnoses, what the purpose of CBT would be in their life, and what to expect of this specific type of therapy. It is important to establish this understanding at the beginning of the therapy so that the client understands the possible outcomes in order to prepare themselves. In addition, psychotherapy can occur throughout therapy because the client is constantly learning new skills and strategies to further enhance his/her abilities and confidence. The structure of therapy requires a specific process for a typical session. It is important to inform the client of the goals of his/her therapy so that he/she knows what to expect to get out of the therapy sessions. They should be informed that they will be learning skills to modify their thoughts, control their moods, and ultimately change their behaviors. It is the job of the therapist to be skilled enough in the field to be able to explain and teach the skills of CBT to another person. This goes along with the collaboration of CBT because the client, even thought he/she is learning, is also an active participant in the process. The client must learn from the therapist how to master the skills that he/she learns in therapy so that the skills can be applied in real life situations. Clients should know their role in therapy and work as hard as the therapist in order to reach success. This all goes into the length of the therapy, as well. The clients should learn psychoeducation so that they understand that therapy isn’t meant to be forever, and so they can be self-sufficient once they terminate therapy.

    Reply

    • Venessa Wiafe
      Sep 28, 2017 @ 14:39:38

      Hi Alana,
      I really like how you mentioned that during the beginning of the CBT process, the therapist should inform the client of what to expect during the therapy sessions. The client is most likely already overwhelmed from all he is dealing with due to his unfortunate situations and mental state. The last this the client needs is disorganization and an unclear understanding of whats happening with him and how he is going to get better. The client does in fact deserve to be prepared for everything coming his way and the therapist can definitely make that possible with not only psychoeducation, but structure withing psychoeducation. Psychoeducation should be discussed in alignment with exactly how it will be done during therapy.

      Reply

    • Noella Teylan-Cashman
      Sep 29, 2017 @ 18:38:33

      Alana,

      I appreciated how you mentioned that psychoeducation occurs at the initial stages of therapy, but also throughout. It reminded me of the conversation we had in class after we watched some of the demonstration videos; general psychoeducation should be covered at the beginning of therapy, and more specific psychoeducation takes place as therapy takes its course. For example, a CBT practitioner should provide a general overview of the foundational principles of CBT when they first begin working with a client, but should not dive into specific details about things such as core beliefs, automatic thoughts, and thought records, etc. until they are relevant in the therapeutic process.

      Reply

  13. Chiara Nottie
    Sep 28, 2017 @ 11:21:22

    Psychoeducation is a gain of knowledge into something not previously known. The first chapter of the Wright textbook spells out the main results of psychoeducation. Primarily and most obvious result is that psychoeducation teaches a client new information about themselves, their environment, and how each impacts each other leading to certain outcomes, that they were previously unaware of. Some of the new information acquired relates to the CBT theoretical models, how therapy sessions are structured, psychological assessments, specific disorders, personal information about the client themselves, and their environment. If you inspect each of these things separately you’ll discover what else is gained. Firstly, understanding how the orientation of the particular field of psychology operates, will clarify the therapy process, so a client is not caught off guard by anything and can predict what to expect. CBT likes to utilize homework assignments to maintain treatment in between sessions. Psychoeducation may assist clients in understanding and completing their homework assignments. Secondly, understanding the orientation of CBT leads to the most important gain from psychoeducation, which is autonomy. The knowledge psychoeducation gives clients allows them to act independently outside of sessions, and establish an equal collaboration with clinicians during sessions. CBT promotes the therapeutic alliance and collaborative approach between clinicians and clients. CBT also wants clients to be as independently functioning as possible. Independence leads to the third source of gain from psychoeducation, which is maintenance after termination. There is an expectation in CBT that therapy will not be lifelong in duration, but have an end point after a relatively brief period of time (maybe after a couple/few years). Psychoeducation gives clients information to reference once they are no longer in therapy sessions, in order for them to apply their knowledge to new situations, utilize therapeutic techniques in the face of challenges, among other things, so they can maintain psychological healthy functioning on their own. This may even extend the amount of time before a client may need a booster session.

    Reply

    • Sarah Hine
      Sep 30, 2017 @ 08:10:39

      Chiara,
      The autonomy of the client is an important goal of CBT, and I think you were right in pointing out how influential psychoeducation is in reaching autonomy. Without this knowledge to assist them outside of therapy, I can imagine clients would feel more dependent on their therapists for help, making therapy last longer and periods before booster sessions shorter. How helpful is the therapist really being if they are only increasing the client’s need for therapy? It is the duty of the therapist to work in ways to benefit the client, and providing psychoeducation to build up a client’s autonomy, as you have stated, is a key component to achieving this.

      Reply

  14. Shay Young
    Sep 28, 2017 @ 12:24:14

    Psychoeducation educates the clients, but more so it is the core of success in therapy. It is necessary in order to maximize your potential in being an effective therapist. It’s your responsibility as a therapist to be able to communicate your knowledge to the patient. There is definitely an aspect of teaching in therapy. This teaching is less of a lecture style, and more of an interactive process. The therapist may use Socratic questioning to get the client engaged and thinking. If a therapist cannot convey what he or she knows then it will be more difficult to have good outcomes. Way back when this summer when discussing assessments, Dr. V talked of educating clients on results. It was important to educate them on the meaning of the score, and what the score indicated. This was done in a way that the clients understood even if that meant preparing visuals aids or breaking it down. Psychoeducation needs to be taught in a similar way where the client clearly understands what you are meaning to get across. Meet the client at where they act. For example Wright mentions if you assign readings for further comprehension, choose material that corresponds to the patients education level, cognitive capacity, and psychological sophistication. The type of reading you may provide for a undergraduate psychology student may be different from the type of readings you’d give to a teenager who is struggling with his/her academics. This is important because you want to make certain that the patients are learning skills that will be productive for modifying behavior. If the explanations are over their heads, it will not be retained. Some patients may feel too embarrassed or may not be assertive enough to ask for clarification. It’s nice to sound smart, but who cares if no one understands what you mean. Moreover, if the skills are not learned, the behavior is not changed. Psychoeducation can help patients to understand the core of CBT; how their thoughts interact with their behavior. If a client understands CBT, they may be more likely to buy into therapy and stick with it.

    Wright speaks about psychoeducation, as reducing the risk of relapse. I think that this speaks volumes. It’s easier to be blissfully ignorant about problematic behaviors, because that means there is no foul on the individual’s part. However once you have been educated about an unhealthy behavior, and on top of that have been educated about how to fix the problem, it places more responsibility and accountability in ones hands. It also allows for more guilt if one’s continues to ignore the problem. If a client is properly psychoeducated it should be harder from him or her to go back to their maladaptive way of living. In a similar point, psychoeducation helps give individuals confidence post termination. Having CBT awareness and an arsenal of skills can help patients feel ready to leave their therapist. To help prepare clients for termination as well as to teach skills, it is important to practice in therapy. You can do exercises with clients so they have a template as a reference, and then only afterwards can you assign them the exercise to do independently. Compiling a therapy notebook can also be a way to organize teachings into one collective database. Essentially psychoeducation from the therapist is like the training wheels, eventually you want the patient to be able to ride due to their ability.

    Reply

    • Noella Teylan-Cashman
      Sep 29, 2017 @ 18:31:46

      Shay,

      I really liked the point you made about psychoeducation placing a level of responsibility and accountability on the client. As you alluded to, it is easier for someone to ignore problem behaviors and fail to implement change when they can claim they don’t have the knowledge or tools to do so. Once the therapist educates the individual, that claim is no longer valid, which forces the individual’s hand to some extent. After psychoeducation, the client will have knowledge regarding problem behaviors and tools for change. From there, it is up to them if they utilize those skills or not.

      Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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