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Objective Analysis of Language Use in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Researchers have conducted a study to examine how language use during cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can predict treatment outcomes for individuals with co-occurring substance use disorder (SUD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. They conducted a secondary analysis of patient language use in a randomized clinical trial, comparing a novel integrated CBT for PTSD/SUD with standard CBT for SUD.

The Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) was used to analyze language use across multiple categories. The results indicated that patients in the novel, integrated CBT for PTSD/SUD used more negative emotion words and less positive emotion words than those in the standard CBT for SUD. Additionally, exploratory analyses revealed a positive association between usage of cognitive processing words and clinician-observed reduction in PTSD symptoms, regardless of treatment condition. Overall, these findings suggest that language use during therapy can provide insight into the active mechanisms in therapy.


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