What is Intellectualisation?

Jargon is often used as a device of intellectualization. By using complex terminology, the focus becomes on the words and finer definitions rather than the human effects.
A person told they have cancer asks for details on the probability of survival and the success rates of various drugs. The doctor may join in, using ‘carcinoma’ instead of ‘cancer’ and ‘terminal’ instead of ‘fatal’.
A woman who has been raped seeks out information on other cases and the psychology of rapists and victims. She takes self-defense classes in order to feel better (rather than more directly addressing the psychological and emotional issues).
A person who is in heavily debt builds a complex spreadsheet of how long it would take to repay using different payment options and interest rates.
Intellectualization protects against anxiety by repressing the emotions connected with an event. It is also known as ‘Isolation of affect’ as the affective elements are removed from the situation.
Freud believed that memories have both conscious and unconscious aspects, and that intellectualization allows for the conscious analysis of an event in a way that does not provoke anxiety.
Intellectualization is one of Freud’s original defense mechanisms.
When people treat emotionally difficult situations in cold and logical ways, it often does not mean that they are emotionally stunted, only that they are unable to handle the emotion at this time. You can decide to give them space now so they can maintain their dignity, although you may also decide to challenge them in a more appropriate time and setting.
When you challenge a person who is intellectualizing, they may fight back (which is attack, another form of defense) or switch to other forms of defense.

What is Dysthymic Disorder ?

People who have Dysthymic disorder will often report that they don’t recall ever not feeling depressed, but they may be relatively functional in managing their life, although the symptoms are severe enough to cause distress and interference with important life role responsibilities. It is important to have a complete physical to rule out any physical illnesses that might be causing the depression.

Also, if the person has a chronic medical condition that appears to be the cause for the depression (such as any chronic debilitating condition), then the correct diagnosis might be a Mood Disorder due to a general Medical Condition, even if all the criteria for Dysthymic disorder are met. The question is whether the medical condition is physically causing the depression, rather than creating chronic psychological distress that is causing the depression.

Despite the long term nature of this type of depression, psychotherapy is effective in reducing the symptoms of depression, and assisting the person in managing his/her life better. Some individuals with Dysthymic disorder respond well to antidepressant medication, in addition to psychotherapy, so an evaluation for medication may be appropriate.

What is Rational Emotive Therapy?

The therapy emphasizes changing irrational thinking patterns that cause emotional distress into thoughts that are more reasonable and rational. RET can be used to treat people affected from disorders such as anxiety, depression and stess.

There are no major precautions, except that persons entering treatment must be willing to change behaviors that promote symptoms.

Rational emotive therapy was developed by Albert Ellis in the mid-1950s. Ellis proposed that people become unhappy and develop self-defeating habits because of unrealistic or faulty beliefs. In research reports from Ellis in 1979 and 1987 he introduced the model that most irrational beliefs originate from three core ideas, each one of which is unrealistic.

These three core and unrealistic views include: 1) I must perform well to be approved of by others who are perceived significant; 2) you must treat me fairly-if not, then it is horrible and I cannot bear it; 3) conditions must be my way and if not I cannot stand to live in such a terrible and awful world. These irrational thoughts can lead to grief and needless suffering.

As a therapy, RET is active. The RET therapist strives to change irrational beliefs, challenge thinking, and promote rational self-talk, and various strategies are used to achieve these goals.

These strategies may include: disputing irrational beliefs (the therapist points out how irrational it would be for a client to believe he or she had to be good at everything to be considered a worthwhile person), reframing (situations are viewed from a more positive angle), problem solving, role-playing, modeling , and the use of humor. The client may also be requested to complete certain exercises at home, and bibliotherapy (reading about the disorder) may also be used as components of RET.

Before a client begins RET, he or she may undergo an assessment with the therapist. This assessment is called a biopsychosocial assessment, consisting of a structured interview. The questions and information-gathering during this assessment typically cover areas such as past medical and psychological history, family and social history, sex and drug history, employment and education history and criminal history. The interview provides information for a diagnosis or a tentative diagnosis that requires further testing or consultation.

Aftercare may or may not be indicated. This is usually decided on between the patient and mental health practitioner. Aftercare follow-up may be recommended if the affected person is at risk of relapse behaviors (returning to old behaviors that the client had sought to change).

There are no real risks associated with RET. There is a possibility that treatment may not benefit the affected person. This possibility becomes more likely for patients who have multiple psychological disorders.

Normal results
The person undergoing RET will begin to understand the repetitive patterns of irrational thoughts and disruption caused by symptoms. The individual in therapy will develop skills to improve his or her specific problems, and usual results include improved self-esteem and the development of a sense that life events change and that outcomes may not always be favorable.

Abnormal results
There are no abnormal results per se, but persons who are unwilling to change and adhere to treatment recommendations may not gain any new beneficial behaviors.