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Contra-Indications for Psychotherapy

Abstract: What are the contra-indications for psychological treatments?

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Contra-Indications for Psychotherapy

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Question(s): 
Written by: Fabio Piccini, doctor and Jungian psychotherapist, in charge of the "Centre for Eating Disorders Therapy" at "Malatesta Novello" nursing home in Cesena. Works privately in Rimini and Chiavari. E-mail:
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 29 Aug 2008.

What are the contra-indications for psychological treatments?

Answer:

Psychotherapy is rarely a dangerous procedure; and a psychological treatment can be ineffective but is very rarely noxious.

There are very few contra-indications to psychological treatments and they only refer to the exclusive use of psychotherapy without the use of simultaneous physical therapies in a few, serious, psychiatric disorders.

In case of: acute psychosis, severe depression, hypomania, organic brain disease, severe personality disorder, or Anorexia Nervosa, any psychological treatment should be combined with some physical therapy.

In these cases, a previous assessment from a doctor (preferably a specialist in psychiatry) is mandatory.

Also, in these cases, any psychological treatment should be started only if it is included in a comprehensive treatment plan, i.e. a plan, which has been prescribed by a psychiatrist.

In any event, If you think you need psychotherapy for the treatment of a mental disturbance or for the relief of a physical symptom it is best to first ask your family doctor for an accurate assessment of your problem.

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