Upstate News

April 12, 2004
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

SUNY Upstate establishes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program

The Adult Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic at SUNY Upstate Medical University has established a new group therapy program for adults diagnosed with clinical depression. The program uses cognitive-behavioral strategies to help participants lead a more productive and satisfying life.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) combines two forms of psychotherapy, cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. Cognitive therapy educates one about how overly negative, problematic “thinking patterns” are associated with increased psychological distress and depression. Behavioral therapy can help identify one’s habitual reactions to situations thereby enabling individuals an opportunity to change their self-damaging behaviors.

“CBT teaches practical skills that can be applied over a lifetime to improve everyday functioning,” said the program’s director, Robbi Saletsky, Ph.D., a psychologist and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at SUNY Upstate.

Saletsky said the program will require individuals to rehearse their new found skills in a group-therapy setting as well as at home. “Practice can help lead them to a more rapid and complete change of thought patterns and behaviors,” she said.

During therapy sessions, participants will learn CBT strategies to eliminate self defeating, unrealistically negative thoughts so they can better perform daily activities. They will also learn to become more aware of the relationship between mood and activity and learn skills needed to counter social isolation. Individuals interested in participating in group sessions will be asked to attend one or two initial screening session to assess whether group therapy will best meet their needs. For some, working individually with a CBT therapist would be more appropriate.

One in four women and one in eight men will suffer at least one episode of depression during their life times. Symptoms of depression can last anywhere from a few weeks to years. Signs include sad mood; a reduction of interests for pleasurable activities; changes in appetite and in sleep pattern; lack of energy most days; feelings of guilt, worthlessness, agitation or anxiety; difficulty with concentration; hopeless or helpless thoughts and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

For more information on the CBT program, contact Robbi Saletsky at 315-464 3115.

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