Posted: December 9th, 2022
Discussion: Does Psychotherapy Have a Biological Basis?
Psychotherapy which is sometimes called talk therapy is different treatment techniques used to help a person identify and change troubling emotions, thoughts, and behaviors (Psychotherapies, 2020). Psychotherapy may be used alone or together with medications to address specific issues such as trauma, loss of loved one, depression, anxiety and difficulties coping with daily life.
Psychotherapy is a complete biological treatment. It does not only target one receptor, one neurotransmitters, or single modulators, it involves all the biological regulations underlying complex brain responses (Javanbakht & Alberini, 2019). It affect changes in the frontal and temporal cortex, which are parts of the brain that control thoughts and memories (Javanbakht & Alberini, 2019). Psychotherapy has a biological basis considering the fact that it alters brain responses in patients which affects their behaviors.
How culture, religion, and socioeconomics might influence one’s perspective of the value of psychotherapy treatments.
Culture is people’s beliefs and values. It influences how we see ourselves and how we engage with others. Culture affects how we understand health and healing (Moleiro, 2018). Based on culture, some people may visit medical doctor when they are sick, while some may choose other treatment options such as prayer, homeopathic remedies, fasting, etc. Cultural beliefs may influence people’s perspective regarding the significance of psychotherapy treatments. Some cultures forbid discussing their problem with an outsider. Therefore, it is important for therapist to acknowledge the role of culture in psychotherapy and incorporate cultural sensitivity into their work to accommodate and respect differences in opinions, values, and attitudes of various cultures and different people (Moleiro, 2018).
Religion and spirituality are important sources of strength for many patients. However, working with patients who are guided by their faith can be challenging especially when the therapist does not support the same beliefs as the patient. Some patients who hold strong to their religious beliefs are more open to therapy when they are referred by their pastor or other religious leader. The therapist must focus on respecting the patient’s beliefs and their ability to choose what is best for them (Rollins, 2020).
The highest health risks and higher incidence of mental health conditions are found mostly in men and women with the lowest educational degrees, lowest occupational positions, and lowest incomes. Individuals with a low socioeconomic status are less likely to seek treatment, and more likely to drop out of therapy than those of a higher socioeconomic status. This is believed to be as a result of lack of resources and lack of knowledge about the importance and advantages of psychotherapy (Levi et al., 2018).
Individuals who seek therapy often come from different walks of life and from different backgrounds. To provide culturally responsive treatment services, therapist, counselors, and other clinical staff need to become aware of their own beliefs, biases, and assumptions about others. Providers need to invest in gaining cultural knowledge of the populations that they serve and obtain specific cultural knowledge as it relates to help-seeking, treatment, and recovery (TIP 59: Improving Cultural Competence – SAMHSA, 2020).
Javanbakht, A., & Alberini, C. M. (2019). Neurobiological Models of Psychotherapy: How
Psychotherapy Changes the Brain. Frontiers Research Topics. doi:10.3389/978-2-88963-036-3
Javanbakht, A., & Alberini, C. M. (2019). Editorial: Neurobiological Models of Psychotherapy.
Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience, 13, 144. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00144
Levi, U., Laslo-Roth, R., & Rosenstreich, E. (2018). Socioeconomic Status and Psychotherapy:
A Cognitive-Affective View. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328238564_Socioeconomic_Status_and_Psychotherapy_A_Cognitive-Affective_View
Moleiro, C. (2018). Culture and Psychopathology: New Perspectives on Research,
Practice, and Clinical Training in a Globalized World. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00366/full
Psychotherapies. (2020). Retrieved from
Rollins, J. (2020). Connecting with clients of faith. Retrieved from
Connecting with clients of faith
TIP 59: Improving Cultural Competence – SAMHSA. (2020). Retrieved from
Thank you for your interesting post. I like the point you made about psychotherapy being a “complete” biological treatment and having the ability to change the brain structure and conductivity of the frontal and temporal cortex (Javanbakht & Alberini, 2019). Furthermore, serious mental illnesses have been shown to be treatable though psychotherapy, which proves to be a great alternative, especially for people who are highly sensitive to medication (Holttum, 2014).
Holttum, S. (2014). When bad things happen our brains change but psychotherapy and support can help the recovery of our brains and our lives. Mental Health and Social Inclusion, 18(2), 52-58. doi: 10.1108/MHSI-02-2014-0006
Javanbakht, A., & Alberini, C. M. (2019). Neurobiological models of psychotherapy: How psychotherapy changes the brain. Frontiers Research Topics. doi: 103389/978-2-8863-036-3
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.
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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.
Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses.
Respond to at least two of your colleagues by providing an additional scholarly resource that supports or challenges their position along with a brief explanation of the resource.
Psychotherapy consist of different treatment techniques. These techniques help clients identify his/her behavior. In order to properly treat a client, the provider must be culturally competent. Each culture have different beliefs when it comes to mental illness. It is important to acknowledge the role of culture in psychotherapy because it helps frame specific expectations and customs within the psychotherapy experience (Gopalkrishnan, 2018). Culture, religion, and socioeconomics have a big influence on one’s perspective of the value of psychotherapy. The stigma of mental health has an impact on all cultures. For example, Asian Americans are less likely to seek any treatment for mental health. Researchers have found that most Asian Americans do not seek treatment because they feel pressure to be successfully academically and professionally, so in order to stay focused, the symptoms are ignored (Nagayama Hall, Kim-Mozeleski, et. al, 2019). Most Asian Americans feel that if they seek treatment they will be seen as weak. Asian American parents also admit to having feelings of shame and fear and that it may be from poor parenting (Nagayama Hall, Kim-Mozeleski, et. al, 2019). Suicide is the leading cause of death among Asian American between the ages of 12-19 years old (SAMHSA, 2019).
Studies show that people with a lower socioeconomic status have a higher chance of developing mental health problems (Reiss, Meyrose, et.al, 2019). Having a low socioeconomic status cause more stressors like finances, jobs and healthcare. These stressors not only have an affect on the parents but the children as well. It is estimated that 13% to 20% of children and adolescents suffer from mental illness, worldwide (Reiss, Meyrose, et.al, 2019).
The views of Freud and Albert Ellis have affected the attitudes of mental health professionals pertaining to the mental health effects of religion in a negative way (Dein, 2018). Although, studies show that religious involvement is conducive to better mental health (Dein, 2018).
Dein S. (2018). Against the Stream: religion and mental health – the case for the inclusion of
religion and spirituality into psychiatric care. BJPsych bulletin, 42(3), 127–129.
Gopalkrishnan N. (2018). Cultural Diversity and Mental Health: Considerations for Policy and
Practice. Frontiers in public health, 6, 179. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2018.00179
Nagayama Hall, G. C., Kim-Mozeleski, J. E., Zane, N. W., Sato, H., Huang, E. R., Tuan, M., &
Ibaraki, A. Y. (2019). Cultural Adaptations of Psychotherapy: Therapists’ Applications of
Conceptual Models with Asians and Asian Americans. Asian American journal of
psychology, 10(1), 68–78. https://doi.org/10.1037/aap0000122
Reiss, F., Meyrose, A. K., Otto, C., Lampert, T., Klasen, F., & Ravens-Sieberer, U. (2019).
Socioeconomic status, stressful life situations and mental health problems in children and
adolescents: Results of the German BELLA cohort-study. PloS one, 14(3), e0213700.
SAMHSA. (2019). Destigmatizing Mental Health in Asian American and Pacific Islander
Communities. Retrieved from https://blog.samhsa.gov/2019/05/22/destigmatizing-mental-health-in-asian-american-
I enjoyed reading your post this week. I also believe that the stigma of mental health has an impact on all cultures, and this is a huge barrier that can interfere with patients receiving the appropriate mental health services. The growing stigma of mental health and challenges are often considered a weakness and something to hide which can make it difficult for people struggling to ask for help or speak openly (Kapil, 2019). I believe that continued education, open communication, and building a relationship with the patient (on an individual basis) can help the individual feel that their identity is understood by the mental health provider. Understanding the individuals’ identity can lead to the patient receiving the best individualized care and support needed to address the mental illness. According to Vance (2019), “by explaining that mental health is an essential part of a persons’ well-being like; diet, and exercise, this can help with removing the stigma of mental health”. Continued education, support, and encouragement with all cultures are needed to remove this huge stigma that was placed on mental health.
Kapil, R. (2019). Four Ways Culture Impacts Mental Health. Mental Health First Aid.
Retrieved on September 3, 2020, from http://mentalhealthfirstaid.org
Vance, T. (2019). Addressing Mental Health in the Black Community. Columbia University
Department of Psychiatry. Retrieved on September 3, 2020, from http://
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