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Psychological research in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Past, present, and future 

Psychological research in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Past, present, and future
Psychological research in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Past, present, and future

Tamlyn J. Watermeyer

and Laura H. Goldstein

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date: 24 February 2020

This chapter, of particular interest to those interested in psychological treatments for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), outlines earlier work that sought to identify correlates of reduced well-being and quality of life in people with ALS and delineates possible targets for intervention. In this context, the chapter then evaluates several studies that have investigated psychological interventions for optimizing well-being in people with ALS and their caregivers. The chapter reviews current efforts to address the paucity of interventional research in this patient group, focusing on five therapies that have so far been evaluated for treatment efficacy. These therapies include hypnosis, mindfulness, cognitive behavioural therapy, expressive disclosure therapy, and dignity therapy. The main findings from these studies and their clinical implications for people with ALS and their families are discussed. Recommendations for future research are considered, together with a discussion of the implementation of such interventions in therapeutic or multidisciplinary settings.

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