As any good hypnotherapist will tell you, part of making our interventions more effective is to educate our clients prior to them. This sort of psychoeducation and developing of a ‘response set’ helps clients to understand the process prior to going through it and also helps create very useful expectation for treatment, as well as helping the client understand the underpinning rationale of their treatment. Additionally, it helps them understand the nature of their problem. In cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy in particular, we help the client to conceptualise the problem by helping them understand the process they are undergoing when perpetuating the problem.
It seems that this type of psychoeduation is not limited to the therapy room with regards to the benefits that it can offer. A recent study by Morokuma and colleagues (2013) suggests that being taught about depression in a classroom type of environment, can actually help treat it successfully with some individuals.
Psychoeducation can take a variety of forms; I have asked my clients to read chapters of books, or articles, or look at websites, or listen to audio tracks, for example. In the afore mentioned recent study, the psychoeducation presented was a series of lectures in small groups. During the 6 ninety minute lectures, the individuals were informed about depression and shown how to do simple problem solving.
After 9 months, at follow-up, those that had been part of the psychoeducation group within the study had a depression remission rate of 58.8 percent. The treatment-as-usual group had a remission rate of 20 percent.
There have been a few criticisms of some aspects of the study – such as the form of the psychoeducation and that although they were not officially conducting therapy, a lot of what was done is already prevalent in CBT and cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy. It certainly forms a central part of my own work. However, that was not really my point today, as fascinating as these research findings are.
I have always maintained that it is good for mental health to continue to get some mental stimulus and to be informed and develop critical thinking skills and educate oneself. Many personal development gurus, away from the world of therapy also tend to suggest that we always look to develop and better ourselves with the use of good materials that we learn from. As a teenager I recall this being central to the messages within Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracey, Jim Rohn and Dennis Waitley recordings I used to listen to.
More than that though, evidence tends to suggest that as people get older and stop using their brains so much, they age more dramatically. An interesting piece of research featured here at the BBC website as well as here at Web MD website suggests that people who learn another language later in life and those who are bilingual have much slower ageing of the brain
The BBC article states:
“Learning a second language can have a positive effect on the brain, even if it is taken up in adulthood, a University of Edinburgh study suggests.
Researchers found that reading, verbal fluency and intelligence were improved in a study of 262 people tested either aged 11 or in their seventies.
A previous study suggested that being bilingual could delay the onset of dementia by several years.”
There are numerous other related articles that show active cognitive functioning often leads to benefits for the brain and mental health. I think the message is a simple one today – continue to learn and continue to stimulate your brain. It’ll make you happier and your brain will thank you for it.
Bak, T. H, Nissan, J. J., Allerhand, M. M., & Deary, I. J. (2014) Does bilingualism influence cognitive aging? Annals of Neurology.
Morokuma, I., Shimodera, S., Fujita, H., Hiashizume, H., Kamimura, N., Kawamura, A., Nishida, A., Furukawa, T. A., & Inoue, S. (2013). Psychoeducation for major depressive disorders: A randomised controlled trial. Psychiatry Research, 210, 134-139.