Maladaptive Beliefs and Bipolar Disorder


Researchers in Denmark found, in a study of 49 remitted bipolar patients published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, that beliefs about the self having to do with things such as “Social Isolation, Failure to Achieve, Dependence, Vulnerability to Harm and Illness, Emotional Inhibition, Insufficient Self-Control, and Pessimism accounted for 28% of the variance in functional impairment when controlling for length of remission and subsyndromal depressive symptoms.”

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. “Social Isolation, Failure to achieve, Dependence,Vulnerability to harm and illness, emotional inhibition, pessimism” yes I agree, it certainly all leads to depression. I know all this first hand. But what can one do to change it? So much depends on pure luck,on having the right connections no matter how clever you are. It doesn’t help if you have been thrown, by wars, in an alien culture you have problems adapting to. You have been pushed down and tried to get up again and again and then, when you break down, instead of getting proper help, you get labelled mentally ill and forcibly medicated. It is sort of the last straw!

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