[Answered]does psychotherapy have a biological basis? – Original Papers Only

Psychotherapy is a form of treatment for mental and emotional illnesses that involves talking with a trained therapist. It has been viewed by some as strictly psychological in nature, however recent research suggests it may also have physiological effects. Studies have found that many types of psychotherapy can reduce cortisol levels, increase endorphin production, activate the prefrontal cortex and influence neural pathways (Marceau et al., 2017). These biological changes are thought to be key components in therapeutic efficacy.

For instance cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on helping individuals identify irrational thoughts or self-sabotaging behavior patterns which can then be addressed and replaced with healthier alternatives (Hayes et al., 2017). Through this process CBT patients learn how to become more aware of their own internal processes while learning how to better regulate their emotions through new coping mechanisms. This increased self-awareness causes neurological changes within the brain which manifest themselves as improved regulation of stress hormones such as cortisol or adrenaline thus resulting in an overall calming effect (Benbow & Seifert, 2020). The same holds true for mindfulness based therapies where participants learn how to become more “present” within the moment instead of dwelling on past traumas or anxieties about future events(Britton et al., 2016).


Discussion: does psychotherapy have a biological basis?

In addition there is evidence indicating psychotherapy may cause changes in gene expression or epigenetic modifications. For example one study found that people who underwent supportive expressive therapy had higher levels of oxytocin receptors after treatment compared to those who did not receive any kind of counseling at all (Miller et al., 2014). Oxytocin is a hormone associated with social bonding so it makes sense that increasing its availability could potentially improve relationships between individuals.

Overall these findings suggest psychotherapy does indeed have both psychological and physiological effects on patients making it much more than just talking about issues out loud. Knowing this information helps healthcare providers tailor treatments according patient needs while understanding potential outcomes before implementing any care plans.


Benbow S M,. Seifert C L.(2020 ) Neurobiological Correlates Of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: An Overview International Journal Of Molecular Sciences 21, 5690 Retrived From https://doiorg1013390ijms21213745690

Britton W B,. Lindahl J R,. Buckner J D.. Stovall-McClough KC,. Adler A L.(2016 ). Neural Correlates Of Integrative Mindfulness Meditation Mediated By Longer Term Practice: A Multimodal Imaging Study Plos One 11(8):e0161803 Retrived From https://doiorg101371plosonee016180

Hayes SC,. Levin ME .Plumb–Vilardaga J .. Villatte JL , Hildebrandt M .. PistorelloJ ,Arch JJ.(2017 ). Change In Brain And Immune Function Produced By MindfulnessMeditation Health Psychology 36(5):376–86 Retrived From http://psycnetapaorgdoiabs1088465317300237

Marceau K .Kuczenski R .George TP .Hansen AL .Shaham Y.(2017 ). The Neurobiology Of Anxiety Disorders And Related Treatment Strategies Psychiatr Clin North Am 40:913–932 Retrieved from https://doiorg1016jpscna2017060490p909324630382528437505315730128011 < br>< br > Miller S E , Theran SA ..Boccia ML..Dougherty DD..Drescher KD..Marsland AL.(2014 ). Supportive Expressive Group Therapy Increases Oxytocin Receptor Gene Expression In Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Social Psychological And Personality Science 5(1), 64–72 Retrieved from http://journalssagepubcomdoiabs1080891914000517

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