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September 2016

Bona Fide Psychotherapy Models Are Equally Effective for Major Depressive Disorder: Future Research Directions

Author Affiliations
  • 1Centre for Emotions and Health, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 2National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula, Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Plymouth, England
JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(9):893-894. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.1916

Through thousands of empirical studies, it has become clear that psychotherapy methods can be helpful across a broad spectrum of psychiatric disorders, including major depressive disorder (MDD).1 According to the most recent meta-analysis,2 there are now more than 50 published outcome studies of short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy (STPP) for depressive disorders, reporting on average large and sustained gains. This meta-analysis found no outcome differences between STPP and other bona fide therapy models such as the collection of interventions under the rubric of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Despite these findings, there continue to be proponents arguing that models under the CBT rubric are superior to STPP methods. Thus, researchers have set out to attempt to definitively answer the question of whether there are any outcome differences.

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