Psychotherapy through the phases of bipolar disorder: Evidence for general efficacy and differential effects

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Abstract

The obstacle facing pharmacotherapy for bipolar disorder is that almost half of the patients do not achieve recovery over the duration of treatment. Although the reason for this disappointing clinical outcome remains unclear, structured psychotherapy has helped to fill these gaps in the treatment of bipolar disorder. Psychoeducation, family-focused therapy, interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, and cognitive behavior therapy have all received attention in the research literature. In this review, by assessing the outcomes from randomized control trials across the phases of bipolar disorder, we demonstrate that psychotherapy is an effective adjunctive treatment. We also show that the use of psychotherapy for bipolar disorder has differential results depending on when and under what conditions it is administered. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol: In Session 63: 491–506, 2007.

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