Does Psychotherapy have biological basis?
Neuroscience teaches us that Psychotherapy is biological. It goes as far as to say that it is the only real biological treatment. The brain operates purely on a biological level. As we experience our environment, our brain maps our emotional experience through cortical memory. The formative experiences throughout are lives are mapped into memory. This is done through the release of serotonin, cortisol, and or oxytocin. Psychotherapy disables maladaptive brain mappings and facilitates new and constructive neuropathways. Psychotherapy biologically repairs the brain by deconstructing old attachments and applying new a meaning to an experience (Berezin, 2016).
As the United States becomes increasingly culturally diverse, it is even more important for practitioners to be culturally aware. Cultural competence models suggest that psychotherapist must develop an awareness of their own cultural identities and beliefs in order to better understand how their perspectives effects or impacts perceptions of their clients (Dadlani & Scherer, n.d.).
Culturally specific interventions are designed for specific cultural groups. The purpose is to increase treatment engagement, to convey cultural beliefs, values and behaviors, and to model functional relationships (Dadlani & Scherer, n.d.).
The neural mechanism of psychotherapy is widely accepted even though its process is not completely understood. Neuroimaging has significantly contributed to biological psychiatry research but the investigation of the mechanism for certain diagnosis such as depression are limited (Jeon & Kim, 2015).
Berezin, R. A. (2016). Psychotherapy Is ‘The’ Biological Treatment. Medscape Psychiatry. Retrieved from https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/893720#vp_2
Dadlani, M. and Scherer, D. (n.d.) Culture in Psychotherapy Practice and Research. Society of the Advancement of Psychotherapy. Retrieved from https://societyforpsychotherapy.org/culture-in-psychotherapy-practice-and-research-awareness-knowledge-and-skills/
Jeon, S. W. and Kim, Y. (2015). The Effects of Psychotherapy on Brain Function — Major Depressive Disorder. Major Depressive Disorder – Cognitive and Neurobiological Mechanisms. Retrieved from https://www.intechopen.com/books/major-depressive-disorder-cognitive-and-neurobiological-mechanisms/the-effects-of-psychotherapy-on-brain-function-major-depressive-disorder
Discussion: Does Psychotherapy Have a Biological Basis?
Many studies have found that psychotherapy is as effective as psychopharmacology in terms of influencing changes in behaviors, symptoms of anxiety, and changes in mental state. Changes influenced by psychopharmacology can be explained by the biological basis of treatments. But how does psychotherapy achieve these changes? Does psychotherapy share common neuronal pathways with psychopharmacology? For this Discussion, consider whether psychotherapy also has a biological basis.
Evaluate biological basis of psychotherapy treatments
Analyze influences of culture, religion, and socioeconomics on personal perspectives of psychotherapy treatments
Review this week’s Learning Resources.
Reflect on foundational concepts of psychotherapy.
Note: For this Discussion, you are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleagues’ postings. Begin by clicking on the “Post to Discussion Question” link and then select “Create Thread” to complete your initial post. Remember, once you click Submit, you cannot delete or edit your own posts, and cannot post anonymously. Please check your post carefully before clicking Submit!
By Day 3
Post an explanation of whether psychotherapy has a biological basis. Explain how culture, religion, and socioeconomics might influence one’s perspective of the value of psychotherapy treatments. Support your rationale with evidence-based literature.
I appreciate how clearly you laid out the case of the biological premise for psychotherapy. To reiterate your point, psychotherapy acts as a mediator in the brain helping to rewire the neuronal pathways that due to trauma or negative life events have formed a maladaptive pathway (Wheeler, 2014). Wheeler goes on to say that if an event is especially troubling, the biochemical process can be disrupted which can impair the brain’s ability to process the situation or to store the memory. As providers, it is important to realize this biological process and to incorporate this knowledge into both the therapeutic process and treatment plan.
Another indicator of the biological underpinnings of psychotherapy is the ability to measure the physiological response to psychotherapy. In a study by Deits-Lebehn et al. (2020) they discuss the ability to measure sympathetic nervous system response to psychotherapy through measurement of the electrodermal activation. While incorporating physiological responses may take a skilled clinician or special diagnostic tools, it still points out the biological factors of psychotherapy and gives additional means by which we can measure the therapeutic process.
Deits-Lebehn, C., Baucom, K. J. W., Crenshaw, A. O., Smith, T. W., & Baucom, B. R. W. (2020). Incorporating physiology into
the study of psychotherapy process. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 67(4), 488–499. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/
Wheeler, K. (2014). Psychotherapy for the advanced practice psychiatric nurse: A how-to guide for evidence-based practice (2nd ed.).
New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
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