Counseling and Therapy
A Local History
Throughout the ages, people have sought an empathic ear during
times of stress. Today this practice
is called psychotherapy, and it has developed into specific forms that can
help people recover from mood and anxiety disorders.
The first therapy in America may have begun in
Winston-Salem, North Carolina . In
addition to the town minister, the Moravian community of Old
Salem had a full-time
counselor to help people in distress.
Today, our local region has played a key role in developing new
therapies for mood disorders. You can
read below about ACT, which originated at UNC-Greensboro, and CBASP, which
was developed in nearby Richmond,
Therapies for Mood and Anxiety
Effective therapy involves more than just talking. In fact,
when therapy works it can bring about changes in the brain that are similar
to the effects of medication. We believe that choosing the right therapy is
as critical as choosing the right medicine, and specialize in therapies which
have evidence to work for mood and anxiety. These are described below:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a focused, problem-solving psychotherapy that
has been shown in over 375 studies to treat depression, anxiety, panic, anger
and marital distress. It is also effective in medical conditions such as
chronic pain, hypertension, and fibromyalgia.
In CBT, the therapist and client work together as a team to identify
and solve problems. Clients learn to overcome their difficulties through changing
their thinking, behavior, and emotional response.
People who recover from depression are more likely to stay out of depression
if they develop a way of thinking that has been called mindfulness. Jon Kabat-Zinn
defines mindfulness as “Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in
the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” It can be learned on its own and
also forms the basis of the two therapies that follow: ACT and DBT. Mindfulness is effective not only for
depression and anxiety but also for physical conditions including pain, high
blood pressure, sleep disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, immune function
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT is an effective therapy for anxiety and depression which builds on the
techniques of CBT and takes them in new directions. A recent article from Time
Magazine compares the two
therapies. Put simply, CBT draws on
strengths from the “Left Brain”, or logical side, while ACT draws on the
“Right Brain” or creative side. ACT aims to help people live more
meaningfully and effectively in their present lives. Through exercises in the therapy room and
in the outside world, people learn to meet the challenges of life with greater
awareness, flexibility and focus.
Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
DBT is one of a few therapies designed for borderline personality
disorder. This complex disorder, which
involves frequent problems with mood swings, impulse control and conflicted
relationships, has similar symptoms to bipolar disorder and often overlaps
with it. DBT uses many of the same
principles found in CBT, ACT and Mindfulness (above). It differs in being more structured in
teaching people skills to cope with the crises that severe mood swings can
bring. DBT works best when people are
in individual therapy and a separate DBT skills-training group. At the Mood Treatment
Center, we offer
individual DBT and help people find skills-groups in the local area.
Cognitive Behavioral Analysis
System of Psychotherapy (CBASP) for Chronic Depression
Despite its awkward name, this therapy is a straight-forward approach to help
people recover from depressions that have been long-standing or that keep
coming back. When someone has been in
depression for a long time, they can develop habits of thinking and relating
that are hard to break. People usually
aren’t aware of these habits or the effects they have on their lives and
relationships. CBASP helps people to
regain that awareness and develop new ways of living.
North Carolina, may have been the first place where professional counseling
was practiced in America
Therapists have often observed that major changes in life can bring about
depression, particularly when these changes impact our relationships. Examples include losing a loved one, moving
to a new city,
starting a new job or having conflict in a marriage. Once depression sets in, it becomes even
more difficult to cope with these stressors.
IPT helps people recover their old strengths and develop new ones to
better face the obstacles they’ve encountered.
Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT)
This is one of the few effective psychotherapies for bipolar disorder. It teaches people to reset the biological
clock which drives their mood swings (also called the circadian rhythm). People achieve greater mood stability by
closely watching their daily activities and the effects these activities have
on their moods.
Therapy for Bipolar
Mood disorders can bring chaos and confusion to a family, and this therapy
helps family members regain their strength by learning what they can, and
can’t, do to help their relative. Close relationships have a powerful impact
on stress hormones and brain chemistry, and family members can learn ways of
relating that help the process of recovery.
Mood disorders often occur with other conditions that can benefit from
specialized therapies. Below is a
partial list of these possibilities with links to external sites:
Therapy for OCD, Panic, Post-Traumatic Stress, Phobias and Suicidality.
Imagery Rehearsal Therapy
for Post-Traumatic Stress.
for addictions, chronic pain and anxiety.
Complicated Grief Therapy.
Coaching for ADHD.
Parenting Skills Training.
 Michael Shirley. From Congregation Town to Industrial City:
Culture and Social Change in a Southern Community. NYU Press, 1997.