Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) for reducing implicit biases among healthcare professionals
by Eugenia Calvo Prieto
Category: Social Sciences
Abstract – An implicit bias, also known as an unconscious bias, refers to the unconsciously held thoughts, feelings, and behaviors towards a group of people or social identity. As an unconscious process, they are difficult to identify, manage, and control. In the healthcare system, they can increase health disparities by affecting patient-provider interactions through clinical decision-making, such as providing shortened consultation times or decreasing the probability of referral to specialists. Despite that, effective strategies have been discovered and implemented to mitigate the impacts of implicit biases; however, there is still a limited amount of research regarding the effects of these interventions on healthcare professionals. Additionally, the use of psychotherapy as a method to reduce implicit biases hasn’t been extensively researched. A systematic review of literature was conducted to provide new insights into how cognitivebehavioral therapy (CBT) can alleviate the influence of unconscious prejudices and stereotypes in the healthcare profession. The two main mechanisms involved are identifying and promoting awareness of implicit biases, as well as reshaping irrational thinking patterns and fostering behavioral changes through techniques such as stereotype replacement, mental imaging, perspective taking, mindfulness, and individuation to mitigate unconscious biases. Further areas of research and interventions, including the creation of psychometric tests to identify unconscious stereotypes among physicians and assessments to measure changes in patient care and health, are also discussed.