Washington: Turns out, brief cognitive behavioral therapy significantly improves the mental health of women overwhelmed by caring for children with severe chronic health conditions.
Researchers at the University of Louisville conducted a study in which participants reported significantly decreased depressive symptoms, negative thinking and chronic stressors, and experienced improved sleep quality after five therapy sessions.
Lynne Hall, presented the findings said, “Women caring for children with chronic conditions such as cerebral palsy and cystic fibrosis are at high risk for depressive symptoms. They have many things to juggle, including caring for the child, administering medications and coordinating physician and therapy visits. They’re stressed and overwhelmed by the amount of care their children require and the number of hours a day it takes.”
The study findings show that women caring for children with serious health conditions should be screened for depression and that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an essential treatment for this population.
Brief CBT, a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving and focuses on changing patterns of thinking or behavior to decrease negative thoughts and improve recognition of one’s ability to cope.
For the study, 94 female caregivers with high levels of depressive symptoms were randomly assigned to either a control group or an intervention group, which received five 45 to 60-minute sessions of CBT.
The women were given homework that centered around examples of cognitive distortions with positive substitutions, a thoughts log, and instructions for practicing relaxation.
The study was presented in a meeting at State of the Science Congress on Nursing Research.