chapter  8
26 Pages

Psychological treatment of depression

Psychotherapy for depression used to be regarded as dif®cult and unrewarding (and often unproductive), because of the relentless negativism, lack of energy, and low motivation of the depressed patients. However, over the last 25 years, a number of systematically tested and effective psychological treatments for depression have been developed, providing optimism for both therapists and patients. In the sections to follow, two of the most widely used and most empirically validated treatment methods are discussed in greater detail, cognitive behavioural therapy and interpersonal therapy. Their methods are brie¯y described, and research is reviewed on their effectiveness, range of application, and mechanisms of effectiveness.

Developed by Aaron Beck, a psychoanalytically trained psychiatrist, the theory behind cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) emphasizes the role of maladaptive cognitions in the origin, maintenance, and worsening of depression (A. T. Beck, 1967), as described in Chapter 5. When people think negatively, they feel depressed, and therefore therapy attempts to identify and alter the negative thoughts and beliefs, whilst also altering dysfunctional behaviours that might be contributing to depression.