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Hundreds of Studies Back Benefits of Psychotherapy for Depression

Hundreds of Studies Back Benefits of Psychotherapy for DepressionTreatments for depression that do not involve antidepressant drugs but rather focus on different forms of psychotherapy interventions are all beneficial.

The techniques, also sometimes called talk therapy, can take various iterations with no one form of therapy being better than the others, according to a study by international researchers published in PLOS Medicine.

Experts believe the findings are important as they suggest that patients with depression should discuss different forms of non-drug therapy with their doctors and explore which type of psychotherapy best suits them.

Researchers from the University of Bern in Switzerland reached these conclusions by reviewing 198 published studies involving more than 15,000 patients receiving one of seven types of psychotherapeutic intervention.

Techniques included interpersonal psychotherapy, behavioral activation, cognitive behavioral therapy, problem solving therapy, psychodynamic therapy, social skills training and supportive counseling.

The authors compared each of the therapies with each other and with a control — patients on a waiting list or continuing usual case — and combined the results.

Study authors, led by Jürgen Barth, Ph.D., found that all seven therapies were better at reducing symptoms of depression than waiting list and usual care and that there were no significant differences between the different types of therapy.

Researchers also found that the therapies worked equally well for different patient groups with depression, such as for younger and older patients and for mothers who had depression after having given birth.

Interestingly, the authors found no substantial differences when comparing individual with group therapy or with face-to-face therapy compared with internet-based interactions between therapist and patient.

Barth noted,”We found evidence that most of the seven psychotherapeutic interventions under investigation have comparable effects on depressive symptoms and achieve moderate to large effects vis-à-vis waitlist.

“All seven psychotherapeutic interventions achieved a small to moderate effect compared to usual care.”

Source: Public Library of Science

Upset woman in a talk therapy session photo by shutterstock.

Hundreds of Studies Back Benefits of Psychotherapy for 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). Hundreds of Studies Back Benefits of Psychotherapy for Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 24, 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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