Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and Morita therapy (MT); comparison of three established psychotherapies and possible common neural mechanisms of psychotherapies

Johannes M. Dijkstra, Toshiharu Nagatsu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Psychotherapies aim to relieve patients from mental distress by guiding them toward healthier attitudes and behaviors. Psychotherapies can differ substantially in concepts and approaches. In this review article, we compare the methods and science of three established psychotherapies: Morita Therapy (MT), which is a 100-year-old method established in Japan; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which—worldwide—has become the major psychotherapy; and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which is a relatively young psychotherapy that shares some characteristics with MT. The neuroscience of psychotherapy as a system is only beginning to be understood, but relatively solid scientific information is available about some of its important aspects such as learning, physical health, and social interactions. On average, psychotherapies work best if combined with pharmacotherapies. This synergy may rely on the drugs helping to “kickstart” the use of neural pathways (behaviors) to which a patient otherwise has poor access. Improved behavior, guided by psychotherapy, can then consolidate these pathways by their continued usage throughout a patient’s life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-828
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Volume129
Issue number5-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 06-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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