Irritable bowel syndrome is a painful and chronic disease that affects 8 to 17 percent of American adults. Fortunately, psychotherapy can bring relief to the significant physical and psychological distress caused by IBS. This book provides all the information needed to treat this disorder. It reviews research on the effectiveness of psychological treatments for IBS, describes psychological assessment techniques, and then outlines detailed treatment methods.

The treatment methods detailed are short-term therapies and include the three major treatment modalities shown to be most effective for this population: cognitive therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and hypnotherapy. Session-by-session treatment plans for each of these therapies are outlined, describing the rationale for the session, goals and objectives, structured activities, and homework assignments. Also provided are assessment forms, symptom diaries, cognitive monitoring forms, and educational handouts. Instructions for modifying the three treatments for use with individuals and with groups are provided, as well as helpful advice for collaborating with gastroenterologists and other referring physicians. This is the essential resource for helping patients ease the pain of this distressing disorder.

Table of Contents



I. Assessment

  1. Diagnosis: What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
  2. The Magnitude of the Problem
  3. Taking the IBS History
  4. The GI Symptom Diary: How to Tell If the Patient Is Improving
  5. Psychological Distress in Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  6. Which Comes First: Patienthood or Neurosis? Studies of IBS Patients and IBS Nonpatients
  7. Psychiatric Studies of Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  8. Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Stress: Which Comes First?
  9. Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Early Abuse
  10. The Psychophysiology of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  11. Altered Pain Sensitivity and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  12. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  13. Recurrent Abdominal Pain in Children: A Precursor of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

II. Treatment

  1. Drug and Dietary Treatments for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  2. Psychological Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  3. The Albany IBS Treatment Studies
  4. The Albany Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment Manual
  5. The Albany Cognitive Therapy Treatment Manual
  6. Hypnotherapy Treatment Manual for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  7. Prediction of Treatment Response Among Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  8. Long Term Follow-Up of Psychological Treatment for Prediction of Treatment Response Among Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome


  1. Psychoeducational Support Group for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  2. Ideas on Approaching Gastroenterologists and Other Physicians for IBS Referrals
  3. Information About Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Author Index

Subject Index

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