DIAGNOSIS: Bipolar Disorder

TREATMENT: Group Cognitive Therapy for Bipolar Disorder


  • Basic premise: "It is important to note that there are many manuals of cognitive therapy for bipolar disorder, including group and individual approaches. Of these, the findings based on the manual by D. Lam and others have been particularly positive, as have those from the one-year report of the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for bipolar disorder (STEP; Miklowitz et al., 2007). Findings from other manuals have not achieved strong research support to date (Patelis-Siotis et al., 2001; Scott et al., 2006). All cognitive therapy manuals include a psychoeducational component regarding the biological basis of the illness, the need for medications, and the early warning signs of symptoms. They also include a focus on identifying maladaptively negative thoughts about the self, and teaching clients skills to challenge these overly negative thoughts. Many also include ideas about how to target the overly positive thoughts that might be present during mania. The Lam manual is distinguished by an integration of cognitive interventions with more extensive focus on promoting regular sleep and regulating extreme goal striving. The Lam manual is designed for 12 to 18 individual weekly sessions, followed by 2 booster sessions over the next 6 months, and only the randomized controlled trials that used this particular manual have shown effects in diminishing manic symptoms over time."



Cognitive therapy for bipolar disorder: A therapist’s guide to concepts, methods and practice (2nd ed.) (Lam, D. H., Jones, S. H., & Hayward, P.)


Isasi, A. G., Echeburúa, E., Limiñana, J. M., & González-Pinto, A. (2010). How effective is a psychological intervention program for patients with refractory bipolar disorder? A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Affective Disorders, 126(1-2), 80-87.

Janis, R. A., Burlingame, G. M., Svien, Jensen, J., & Lundgreen, R. (2021). Group therapy for mood disorders: A meta-analysis. Psychotherapy Research, 31(3), 342-358.