Is psychotherapy effective for caregivers?

Is psychotherapy effective for caregivers?

Caregiver burnout is a very real issue when you are responsible for another person, whether is it a child with special needs, a spouse, an aging family member, or anyone unable to manage their activities of daily living independently (though my focus will be primarily on caring for the aging population). Research cited by the American Psychological Association showed that, “Caregivers had a 23 percent higher level of stress hormones … than non-caregivers.”²

Caregivers may not understand how psychotherapy could be useful to them, especially when what they really want is an extra set of hands.

It’s hard to tell someone who is already overburdened to find time to schedule an appointment for themselves, but there is research showing that psychotherapy positively impacts caregivers and also care receiver symptoms¹. The symptoms of the care receiver were based on the caregiver’s report.

This particular study looked at the following outcome variables:

caregiver burden
self-rated depression
subjective well-being
uplifts (sources of satisfaction from/with caregiving)
ability and knowledge
care receiver outcomes
It found that psychotherapy significantly effected all outcome variables.¹

What if someone cannot physically get to a psychotherapy session?
There’s good news. Research shows that short term (7 sessions) telephone intervention using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy resulted in long lasting effects on health status, emotional well-being, bodily complaints, and quality of life even two years after the intervention. ³ Psychotherapy can help caregivers achieve lasting results in an accessible way.


3. by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash
4. Sarah Tronco LCSW