Benefits of Control Therapy

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Control therapy has been shown to be effective in both assessment (sensitivity and specificity) and treatment (clinical outcome) with a wide range of mental disorder diagnoses and health-related concerns. Clinical areas investigated include Generalized Anxiety Disorder, panic attack, depression, borderline personality, eating disorders, and adult children of alcoholics. Control issues have also been investigated in type-A individuals with myocardial infarction, women with breast cancer, and individuals at high cardiovascular risk.

There are several advantages to control therapy and the unifying theory upon which it is based. First, a unifying theory helps clinicians understand control as a central component underlying all schools of therapy; the analytic view that humans are governed by unknown and uncontrolled forces; the cognitive-behavioral schools' emphasis on self-control; and the humanistic or existential focus on personal choice, individual freedom, and self-determination.

Second, in addition to the theory's universality and parsimony, it also can be operationalized, thereby providing an empirical foundation for assessing a client's control profile. Based on individual variations in control profiles, specific techniques can be matched to client needs and clinical problem.

Third, drawing from both Eastern and Western psychological traditions, control therapy involves specific assertive/ change and yielding/accepting modes of control intervention techniques, and the matching of these techniques to a client's control profile, goals, and clinical problem.

Finally, control therapy articulates a control-based vision of mental, physical, and interpersonal health involving suboptimal, normal, and optimal control profiles. Thus, although control therapy was designed to specifically address individual mental and physical health problems, it can also be used as a means to help promote growth, including intrapersonal, interpersonal, and even societal health, healing, and well-being.

Deane H. Shapiro

University of California College of Medicine

John A. Astin

California Pacific Medical Center

Shauna L. Shapiro

University of Santa Clara

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