C03 – Integrating Brief Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy Interventions Into Your Psychiatry Practice

C03 – Integrating Brief Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy Interventions Into Your Psychiatry Practice

Thursday, Oct. 27
14:30 – 16:30 (2 hrs)
Meeting Room: Sheraton Hall B (Lower Concourse)
Gail Myhr*, MD, CM; Jesse Renaud, PhD; Jean-Phillipe Gagne, PhD

CanMEDS Roles:

  1. Medical Expert
  2. Scholar

At the end of this session, participants will be able to: 1) Apply the principles of exposure and reducing safety behaviours to help patients face their fears in anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders; 2) Apply behavioural activation to improve mood and functioning for patients with depression and psychotic disorders; and 3) Use stimulus control and sleep restriction to treat insomnia effectively.

For many mental disorders (e.g., anxiety disorders and insomnia), cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a recommended first-line treatment. For others (e.g., chronic depression and schizophrenia), CBT can improve outcomes in conjunction with medications. Psychiatrists often find themselves in the frustrating position of observing patients and monitoring medications, knowing that the patient’s condition could benefit from CBT, which may not be easily accessible. Brief CBT interventions can be integrated in an efficient and cost-effective way in many care context—whether in assessing a panic disorder patient in the ER, mobilizing inpatients with negative symptoms, or treating outpatients. Knowledge of principles of conditioning can lead to greater recognition of counterproductive measures, such as reliance on unscheduled (taken as needed) medications or prolonged medical leaves, that may inadvertently contribute to the persistence of some disorders.

This course is for practitioners who wish to improve patient outcomes by integrating evidence-based CBT interventions into their practices. It will review guidelines for the effective implementation of exposure in anxiety and related disorders, behavioural activation in depressive and psychotic disorders, and stimulus-control and sleep restriction for insomnia. Participants will learn the importance of recognizing avoidance and other safety behaviours that contribute to dysfunction and the maintenance of symptoms. The optimal use of medication will also be discussed to prevent inadvertent reinforcement of pathology. Participants will be introduced to patient resources, including popular apps, electronic diaries, and self-help resources, which can motivate patients and save practitioners time. Demonstrations and interactive exercises will allow participants to increase their skill-level with key interventions.


  1. Sudak DM, Majeed MH, Youngman B. Behavioral activation: a strategy to enhance treatment response. J Psychiatr Pract 2014;20:269-75.
  2. Wright JH, Sudak DM, Turkingon D, et al. High-Yield Cognitive-Behavior Therapy for Brief Sessions: An Illustrated Guide. Washington (DC): American Psychiatric Association Publishing; 2011.