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Lang's distinction of psychophysiological, behavioral, and cognitive domains in psychological problems and therapies provides a useful heuristic for guiding psychotherapy. Much psychotherapy practice emphasizes the cognitive domain, but behavioral and psychophysiological interventions show at least equivalent effectiveness for some kinds of problems. Most descriptions of cognitive behavior therapy emphasize cognitive procedures, although most CBT approaches also incorporate behavioral interventions such as social skills training, exposure, and behavior activation. The contribution of psychophysiological methods is often underemphasized. Muscle relaxation and breathing interventions, particularly heart rate variability biofeedback, have been shown to have clinically significant therapeutic effects for a variety of problems. Although used more sporadically in the West, similar methods are part of traditional medical practice in Eastern countries. Examples are given for how these methods can be integrated into more generic psychotherapy practice, using Lang's distinctions, for a variety of psychological problems.

In recent years there has been substantial support for heart rate variability biofeedback (HRVB) as a treatment for a variety of disorders and for performance enhancement (Gevirtz, 2013). Since conditions as widely varied as asthma and depression seem to respond to this form of cardiorespiratory feedback training, the issue of possible mechanisms becomes more salient. The most supported possible mechanism is the strengthening of homeostasis in the baroreceptor (Vaschillo et al., 2002; Lehrer et al., 2003). Recently, the effect on the vagal afferent pathway to the frontal cortical areas has been proposed. In this article, we review these and other possible mechanisms that might explain the positive effects of HRVB.

The efficacy of meditation-relaxation techniques has been widely researched in the laboratory, but their effectiveness for management of stress in organizational settings is still relatively unexplored. The present study compared relaxation and control conditions as part of a program of stress-reduction in industry. A total of 154 New York Telephone employees self-selected for stress learned one of three techniques--clinically standardized meditation (CSM), respiratory one method meditation (ROM) or progressive relaxation (PMR)--or served as waiting list controls. At 5.5 months, the treatment groups showed clinical improvement in self-reported symptoms of stress, but only the meditation groups (not the PMR group) showed significantly more symptom reduction than the controls. The meditation groups had a 78% compliance rate at 5.5 months with treatment effect seen whether subjects practiced their techniques frequently or occasionally. The safe and inexpensive semi-automated meditation training has considerable value for stress-management programs in organizational settings.