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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Somatic Symptom Disorder

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Somatic Symptom Disorder

Over the last several decades, behavioral therapy has become more and more widely employed in treating mental disorders. This type of psychotherapy attempts to alter negative thought habits that lead to undesirable emotions and behaviors. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), originally created by psychiatrist Aaron Beck, is one such example; it utilizes techniques derived from behavioral science that can help people with mental illnesses recognize and challenge their automatic negative thoughts.

Though CBT has gained widespread acceptance, few studies have examined its efficacy in treating somatic symptoms or pain disorders. Drawing data from a pilot study of patients with somatic symptom disorder, this paper seeks to determine if CBT can reduce pain intensity, anxiety levels, depressive symptoms and social functioning in these individuals.

Psychotic diseases often present with somatic symptoms that are difficult to classify and treat. These could be indicative of an organic disorder, a functional syndrome related to mental disorder, or both.

Psychotherapists often struggle with the connection between the mind and body, leading to diagnostic quandaries and difficulty in defining treatment goals.

Somatic symptom disorder refers to a group of patients whose physical manifestations have no known physical cause and who exhibit little control over them. This condition, which often reflects social influences on individuals, can present challenges in psychotherapist’s practice.

Psychodynamic theory suggests that somatic symptoms develop as a reaction against an unresolved emotional issue. They manifest and persist through two main mechanisms: primary gain, which provides internal motivation; and secondary gain, which draws upon external motivators like sympathy or recognition.

Psychotherapists working with patients suffering from somatic symptom disorders face an enormous therapeutic challenge: to effectively address the physical manifestations without neglecting any psychological underlying issues that might be impacting the patient’s life and to rekindle their motivation to seek psychotherapeutic help.

Cognitive behavioral therapists strive to change a patient’s negative way of thinking about themselves, their illness and the world. This therapy can break the cycle of judgments and foster new thinking that aligns with the patient’s objectives and motivation.

Furthermore, the therapist strives to alter the patient’s mental picture and behavior in order to prevent further psychological disturbances. This requires a conscious effort on behalf of re-educating the patient and altering his or her thinking and behavior patterns.

This can be accomplished by assessing the patient’s current mental state of mind and making them aware of the connection between negative thoughts and physical discomfort. Unfortunately, people suffering from somatic symptoms often internalize their negative judgments, leading to further deterioration in both mental and physical health.

Unfortunately, not all somatic symptom disorders are equal. Some types of somatic symptom disorders tend to be more prevalent than others and some patients with them may be diagnosed with mental illness rather than a somatic disease. Thus, it’s critical for therapists to learn how to identify and treat these conditions correctly.

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