Transcending Self Therapy (TST), is an evidence-informed, Integrative-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)-based treatment approach for mental health issues, including substance abuse and depression. In addition to Integrative-CBT, TST also acknowledges the need to better connect to others and a passionate pursuit that is in line with one’s moral compass and/or spiritual beliefs. In this way, TST facilitates clients living a life in accordance with their values in a culturally-sensitive way. Sessions focus on identifying and changing unhealthy thinking and behavioral patterns as core elements of Integrative-CBT, while also acknowledging the importance of problem-solving, coping skills, goal setting, and psychosocial functioning. Created by frontline mental health providers to be practical and feasible, TST requires only the time that is frequently expected in treatment programs.
One format of TST is a group therapy protocol developed for substance abuse treatment. The group protocol consists of 20 sessions and fits within outpatient, intensive outpatient, and residential programs. It was specifically designed to accommodate open groups. The program includes books for both clients and therapists. The therapist book was designed for maximum ease of use, with a step-by-step format, case examples, and comprehensive information on the TST treatment approach, strategies for overcoming obstacles to recovery, case conceptualization, treatment planning, and session outlines. A recently completed program evaluation of TST group therapy found that, compared to treatment-as-usual (TAU) participants, TST participants were significantly less likely to have a positive urine drug screen during treatment. TST clients reported significantly higher quality of life post-treatment compared to pre-treatment. TST clients also showed knowledge gains about CBT skills, with the mean scores across items ranging from 92-100%.
There is also a four-session TST individual therapy protocol that has shown promise in treating mental health symptoms such as depression as well as substance abuse. The TST individual therapy protocol can be implemented in any setting that accommodates four individual therapy sessions. It, too, has both a book for clients and a book for therapists which that details how to provide TST four-session therapy. A recently completed pilot randomized clinical trial found that, compared to TAU clients, TST clients were twice as likely to complete treatment; be abstinent in the final week of treatment; have significant reductions in depression over time; and show a trend (p=.06) to save money in reduced overall treatment costs (Polak et al., in press).