There are a number of psychotherapy (counseling) approaches that are effective in people with medical problems. Some of these approaches show promise in people with traumatic brain injury.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is one of the most widely used and effective forms of counseling and was designed to:
- help people get back to activities they enjoy
- solve problems they worry about
- learn how to positively change the way they behave, think and feel about things that happen to them
CBT has been shown to improve the symptoms of depression in the general population and in patients in medical settings. Our research group has studied the best ways to adapt CBT for people who have the types of thinking and memory problems that are common with traumatic brain injury.
Behavioral Activation Therapy (BA)
BA focuses on helping people with depression overcome barriers, become more active, and resume engaging in pleasurable and meaningful activities. Research shows that increased levels of pleasant activity help to improve mood. A professional counselor can help you set up a routine of pleasurable activities and evaluate its effects on your mood. Our research team studied the effectiveness of brief behavioral activation in treating depression following traumatic brain injury.
Problem Solving Treatment (PST)
Problems are an expected part of daily life. However, when unresolved problems pile up, one can become overwhelmed and feel depressed. PST is a systematic, common sense way of sorting out problems and difficulties. Research shows that learning to use problem solving skills to cope better with their problems reduces depressive symptoms. In PST, the counselor provides details of the treatment, encouragement and support, but the goals, solutions and action steps for solving the problem come from the patient. PST has been tested by researchers at the University of Washington as a way of improving quality of life and decreasing distress and post-concussive symptoms in individuals who have had traumatic brain injury.