Thursday, February 17, 2011
How CBT can change your brain waves
A lot of coverage of science concentrates on how what goes on in the brain affects the way we feel and think but the relationship can, of course, work both ways with treatments and good and bad events in people's lives having an effect on what happens between our ears. Researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario looked into this in a study of 25 people who were having psychotherapy for social anxiety. The participants had 12 once-a-week sessions of cognitive behaviour therapy and were compared to two control groups; one control group had very high social anxiety, one very low social anxiety and neither group received any psychotherapy. The participants had a series of electroencephalograms (EEGs) and the researchers measured their levels of delta-beta-coupling (DBC) which is associated with anxiety. Before treatment the participants DBC levels were similar to the high-anxiety control group and much higher than the low-anxiety one. However, as their treatment went on their DBC levels fell, matching the improvement recorded both by themselves and their doctors. Once they had finished their psychotherapy the participants' DBC levels were similar to those of the low-anxiety group.