Positive Outcomes Following Behavioural Therapy

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Depression can occur at any time of life and it may affect children and adolescents as well as the elderly.

Although controlled clinical studies have already shown that behavioural therapy is extremely effective in depressive disorders, there were still doubts among professionals that the results of this research could be directly applied to the kinds of routine therapy that could be provided in the environment of the normal psychotherapy practice. "We have been able to prove that behavioural therapy is also of considerable value under these conditions," states Amrei Schindler of the Outpatient Policlinic for Psychotherapy of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.

The study population consisted of 229 patients with depression in the period 2001-2008. Of these, 174 did not prematurely terminate therapy. "On average, the patients attended 35 therapy sessions, so that each course of treatment lasted some 18 months," Schindler explains. Results were recorded at three predefined points in time. Evaluation of the data collected for the total sample of 229 patients showed that there was significant alleviation of depressive symptoms and psychological manifestations during the course of treatment. "On completion of therapy, patients reported significantly fewer symptoms than on commencement," said Schindler.

Patients normally need to wait for several months before they are able to commence therapy; in the case of the study population, this waiting period was nearly five months. On comparison of depression-related parameters at the time of registration for the course of therapy and at the time of commencement of therapy, it was found that there had been no perceptible change to depressive symptoms during this waiting period. "We conclude that the improvements are de facto attributable to behavioural therapy and are not the result, or at least not alone the result, of the use of psychotropic drugs or spontaneous remission."

MEDICA.de; Source: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz