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Overview

Some of the most common types of psychotherapies used for dementia include –

Supportive Psychotherapy. Being diagnosed with dementia itself can be hard to accept along with the symptoms that accompany it. Supportive psychotherapy focuses specifically on changing the person’s subjective feelings about their life, helps them increase their self-esteem and self-efficacy, and reinforce their abilities to cope psychologically and socially to the challenges of life.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Depression has a high prevalence for older people with dementia. It is linked with decrease in quality of life and increased need for institutionalization. CBT’s basic premise is that the way we think affects the way we feel, and thus the way we behave. CBT can help people in early stages of dementia deal with anxiety and depression as they have fewer difficulties with their communication, memory, and reasoning. The sessions can be adapted to the dementia patient by having shorter sessions, summarizing at the end of the session, using memory aids, and having a family member attend sessions with them, if required.

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy. It is a brief group session useful for people with mild to moderate severity of dementia. It involves themed sessions aimed at cognitively stimulating and engaging dementia patients with the added social benefits of being part of a group. It has been shown to improve mood, confidence, concentration, language skills, and quality of life of both – people with dementia as well as their caregivers.
EXPERT TALKS

Dementia Psychiatry: What is it and how can it help you?

PATIENTS RECOVERY STORIES

Living with Dementia and Overcoming Them: Survivor Stories

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What are the benefits of taking psychotherapy for dementia?

Psychotherapy helps improve cognitive abilities, reduce behavioural issues, promote everyday functionality, improve symptoms of depression and anxiety, enhance mood, maintain adherence to treatment and thus overall improve the quality of life of a person with dementia. Psychotherapy can also help improve the quality of life of the caregivers of the person with dementia by helping them understand the diagnosis, ways to manage their symptoms and behaviours, and providing the much needed emotional support that they might require playing their challenging and consistent role as a caregiver. 

How many sessions are required?

Although there is no set number of sessions for helping a person with dementia through psychotherapy, the therapist would be able to give you a general idea of an approximate number as the sessions go on. Sessions can be taken by the dementia patient alone, with family members, or family members alone to learn how to cope with the person’s illness. The aim is to improve the quality of life of all those involved.