Academic journal article Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy

Cognitive Psychotherapy and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Introduction to the Special Issue

Academic journal article Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy

Cognitive Psychotherapy and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Introduction to the Special Issue

Article excerpt

This special issue of the Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy owes its existence to Associate Editor Steve Taylor, who proposed it to me, and to the several authors who wrote the articles.1 Many cognitive psychotherapists may not be familiar with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Briefly, it is a widespread functional disorder of the lower gastrointestinal tract. Controlled treatment trials over the last 20 years have shown that it can be very responsive to psychological treatment, especially treatments with a cognitive therapy component.

The issue begins with my summary and critique of the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving psychological treatments for IBS. A highlight of this review are descriptions of large-scaled studies, published in 2003, involving each of the major psychological treatments of IBS, cognitive and behavioral therapies, hypnotherapy, and brief psychodynamic psychotherapy. The RCT evidence in support of the efficacy of a purely cognitive therapy is fairly strong, in my view.

The second article (Lackner) provides an insightful analysis of how cognitive therapy may have beneficial effects on reducing the symptoms of IBS. The article provides both conceptual guidance to the cognitive therapist dealing with an IBS patient and also a wealth of potential research ideas about how cognitive therapy may work with IBS.

Our third article is a change of pace and focus. Levy and Walker provide a review of research on recurrent abdominal pain (RAP), a very common functional GI disorder of children and adolescents that may be a precursor of IBS. They also address how cognitive therapy may have a therapeutic role with this population. …

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