Integrative Behavioral Health

The Integrative Behavioral Health SIG focuses on the value of mind-body interventions.  Our mission is to promote integration of psychological therapies into the management of a variety of physical disorders (e.g. GI disorders, neurological disorders, chronic pain, insomnia, cancer) AND to promote the adoption of evidence based, empirically supported holistic therapies into the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders (e.g. yoga, acupuncture, mindfulness meditation). The group is interested in both educating the public about what works, what we have evidence for, and what they can expect to gain from incorporating such treatments, and in educating professionals about the evidence base for such approaches and giving first steps for incorporating novel populations or approaches into their own practice.  We also want to encourage and promote high caliber research into promising areas where the evidence based is not yet substantial enough (e.g. neurotherapy). 

SIG Chair:

  • Melissa G. Hunt, PhD - University of Pennsylvania

SIG Vice-Chair:

  • Laura Rhodes Levin, MS, LMFT - The Missing Peace Center for Anxiety 

Board Liaison:
Sheila Rauch, PhD, ABPP - Emory University School of Medicine

If you’re interested in joining this SIG, please login to your member account and choose Groups from the green menu bar at the top of your screen. Have a question about the member platform? Please contact ADAA.

2020-2021 Annual Report

With the significant challenges of the COVID pandemic, the SIG leadership (both Dr. Hunt and Dr. Rhodes-Levin) were overwhelmed with leadership and professional responsibilities in other domains. Unfortunately, this meant that there was very little bandwidth available for moving forward with the mission of the SIG.

Nevertheless, we did make incremental progress on our key public facing website, adding additional content in a number of domains. We now have linked content covering a range of topics including IBS, IBD, diabetes management, weight control, insomnia, coping with cancer, and managing chronic neurological conditions such as lupus and MS. We also have content on Mindfulness meditation and yoga, as well as medical marijuana. We are working on developing content in other areas, including neurofeedback, aromatherapy, acupuncture, and energy focused therapies.

The goal of the website is to give the public a single place where they can learn about evidence-based, empirically supported integrative treatments. The goal is also to provide scientifically sound information about evidence-based (or lack thereof) and possible risks and benefits of thus far unproven modalities (e.g., dietary changes, herbal remedies, energy therapies) that loom large in the public discourse. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with ADAA's many expert clinicians and scientists as we continue to develop and update this content. Eventually, we would like to develop a parallel professional education side of the website that will provide interested clinicians and researchers with up-to-date information on the evidence base for all of these approaches.

Moving forward, our main goals are: 1) to finish populating the website with appropriate content and find a way to make it more visible to the public; 2) to increase participation in the SIG by ADAA membership; 3) to sponsor at least two webinars related to integrative behavioral health, including one on managing the long-term sequelae of COVID; 4) to explore the possibility of sponsoring a poster award at the 2022 annual convention.


Psychosocial Approaches to Medical Disorders (Mind to Body)

Evidence based psychotherapies can have much to offer individuals with medical disorders. In some cases (like the functional GI disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome) psychotherapy can be curative. In many other medical disorders, psychotherapy can help with coping, improving health related quality of life, managing pain, insomnia, fatigue, and adverse effects of medical treatments, and combating the secondary depression, anxiety and even PTSD that can come from living with a complex medical illness. Click on the linked content below to learn more about specific treatments.

Complementary Approaches to Mental Health (Body to Mind)

Evidence based psychotherapies can often be complemented and enhanced by treatment approaches that may be more traditional or natural. Many are based on folk systems that are hundreds or even thousands of years old. While modern scientific thinking may take issue with the traditional explanations of how these interventions work, there is no question that randomized controlled trials have demonstrated that some of these approaches do work for depression, anxiety, PTSD, pain management and other challenges, while others have yet to be sufficiently supported. 

  • Acupuncture
  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Stress & Relaxation Techniques
  • Yoga
  • Herbal Remedies
  • CBD
  • Medical Marijuana (1) (2)
  • Biofeedback and Neurofeedback
  • Hypnosis
  • Probiotics
  • Energy Focused Therapies/Tapping
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