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A two-day workshop on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Psychosis, Depression & Anxiety was organised by the Department of Clinical Psychology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), Kochi, from January 10-11, 2020. The workshop was conceptualised around September 2019 and the proposal was sent for CRE (Continuing Rehabilitation Education) approval. Information regarding the workshop was disseminated in early December and registration commenced. The workshop received a total of 43 registrations of which 41 were CRE participants.
Day one of the workshop focused on introducing Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) to the audience and providing an overview. Dr. Gitanjali Natarajan (Head of the Department of Clinical Psychology, AIMS) initiated the first session and took up the huge responsibility of socializing the audience to the cognitive-behavioural approach. She also brought in snippets from the process-based approach, which is a relatively recent development in the epistemology of CBT. After the socialization, Ms. Sruthi Annie Vincent (Clinical Psychologist in the Department of Clinical Psychology, AIMS) led the group into the cognitive behavioural assessment approaches. She discussed the relevance of evaluations and how to obtain relevant information from the assessment phase of interventions.
After a short tea break, Dr. Gitanjali led the group into case conceptualization which is a very important technique in CBT. The conceptualization methods help us observe how thoughts, feelings, behaviour and physiological reactions are related to various negative automatic thoughts, intermediate beliefs and core beliefs, which are further influenced by our early experiences and our perspectives regarding them. With the conceptualisation in place, Ms. Lakshmi Saranya (Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology, AIMS) helped to conceptualise depression, a common mental health concern in cognitive behavioural terms and discussed intervention strategies like behavioural activation that may be utilised for effective treatment.
The post-lunch session focused on how to apply various cognitive techniques like guided discovery, visualisation, distancing, cognitive continuum, which are effectively used in CBT. These techniques were introduced and detailed by Dr. Dhanya Chandran (Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology, AIMS); some techniques were introduced as activities for the audience while some were demonstrated as role-play along with Dr. Gitanjali.
On day two, the first half of the workshop focused on applying CBT to various disorders in the anxiety spectrum. Mr. Sreehari R. (Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology, AIMS) initiated the group into using CBT for Generalised Anxiety Disorders after which Ms. Sruthi continued into using CBT strategies for Panic Disorder. Various techniques like behavioural experiments, exposure, problem-solving and relaxation were discussed by both of them and the group came up with interesting queries that generated much deliberation. After the tea break, Ms. Lakshmi guided the group into using CBT for Social Anxiety Disorders with special focus on techniques for enhancing interpersonal effectiveness. Ms. Vidya Menon (Clinical Psychologist in the Department of Clinical Psychology, AIMS) discussed CBT techniques for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, especially strategies like cognitive defusion, mindfulness and acceptance that are increasingly being found effective. Mr. Sreehari further elaborated on reattribution strategies and their application in Somatization Disorder. In the afternoon following lunch, Dr. Devvarta Kumar (Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore) kept the audience charged with his thought-provoking session on CBT for Delusions.