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Family Therapy for Major Depression

A new study suggests single-family and multi-family therapy may benefit hospitalized patients with major depression, and may help the partners of the patients to become aware of the patient’s improvement more quickly.

The research is published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.

Family-based interventions have been shown to be effective in the treatment of depression, but they have seldom been studied in hospitalized depressed patients.

This study assesses the value of the additional use of single-family or multi-family group therapy within this patient population.

Eighty-three patients were randomly assigned to: (1) the treatment program as usual (n = 23), (2) treatment as usual combined with single-family therapy (n = 25) or (3) treatment as usual combined with multi-family group therapy (n = 35). Follow-up assessments were made at 3 months and 15 months.

At the end of the study, multi-family group and single-family therapy conditions showed significantly higher rates of treatment responders than the group receiving the usual treatment (49, 24 and 9%, respectively), and higher rates of patients no longer using antidepressant medication (26, 16 and 0%, respectively) at 15 months.

Partners taking part in the family treatments were significantly more likely to notice the improvements in the emotional health of the patient early on compared to those in the treatment as usual condition.

Source: Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics

Family Therapy for Major Depression

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Family Therapy for Major Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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