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INFLUENTIAL PUBLICATIONS   |    
Abstracts: Psychotherapy
FOCUS 2010;8:50-54.
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Driessen E, Cuijpers P, de Maat SC, Abbass AA, de Jonghe F, Dekker JJ.

Clin Psychol Rev. 20102;30(1):25—36.

Objective: It remains largely unclear, firstly whether short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy (STPP) is an effective treatment for depression, and secondly, which study, participant, or intervention characteristics may moderate treatment effects. The purpose of this study is to assess the efficacy of STPP for depression and to identify treatment moderators. Results: After a thorough literature search, 23 studies totaling 1365 subjects were included. STPP was found to be significantly more effective than control conditions at post-treatment (d=0.69). STPP pre-treatment to post-treatment changes in depression level were large (d=1.34), and these changes were maintained until 1-year follow-up. Compared to other psychotherapies, a small but significant effect size (d=−0.30) was found, indicating the superiority of other treatments immediately post-treatment, but no significant differences were found at 3-month (d=−0.05) and 12-month (d=−0.29) follow-up. Studies employing STPP in groups (d=0.83) found significantly lower pre-treatment to post-treatment effect sizes than studies using an individual format (d=1.48). Supportive and expressive STPP modes were found to be equally efficacious (d=1.36 and d=1.30, respectively). Conclusion: We found clear indications that STPP is effective in the treatment of depression in adults. Although more high-quality RCTs are necessary to assess the efficacy of the STPP variants, the current findings add to the evidence-base of STPP for depression.

Gibbons CJ, Fournier JC, Stirman SW, Derubeis RJ, Crits-Christoph P, Beck AT.

J Affect Disord. 2010115. [Epub ahead of print]

Background: Cognitive therapy (CT) has been shown to be efficacious in the treatment of depression in numerous randomized controlled trials (RCTs). However, little evidence is available that speaks to the effectiveness of this treatment under routine clinical conditions. Method: This paper examines outcomes of depressed individuals seeking cognitive therapy at an outpatient clinic (N=217, Center for Cognitive Therapy; CCT). Outcomes were then compared to those of participants in a large NIMH-funded RCT of cognitive therapy and medications as treatments for depression. Results: The CCT is shown to be a clinically representative setting, and 61% of participants experienced reliable change in symptoms over the course of treatment; of those, 45% (36% of the total sample) met criteria for recovery by the end of treatment. Participants at CCT had similar outcomes to participants treated in the RCT, but there was some evidence that those with more severe symptoms at intake demonstrated greater improvement in the RCT than their counterparts at CCT. Limitations: The CCT may not be representative of all outpatient settings, and the structure of treatment there was considerably different from that in the RCT. Treatment fidelity was not assessed at CCT. Conclusions: Depressed individuals treated with cognitive therapy in a routine clinical care setting showed a significant improvement in symptoms. When compared with outcomes evidenced in RCTs, there was little evidence of superior outcomes in either setting. However, for more severe participants, outcomes were found to be superior when treatment was delivered within an RCT than in an outpatient setting. Clinicians treating such patients in non-research settings may thus benefit from making modifications to treatment protocols to more closely resemble research settings.

Miller WR, Rose GS.

Am Psychol. 20099;64(6):527—37.

The widely disseminated clinical method of motivational interviewing (MI) arose through a convergence of science and practice. Beyond a large base of clinical trials, advances have been made toward "looking under the hood" of MI to understand the underlying mechanisms by which it affects behavior change. Such specification of outcome-relevant aspects of practice is vital to theory development and can inform both treatment delivery and clinical training. An emergent theory of MI is proposed that emphasizes two specific active components: a relational component focused on empathy and the interpersonal spirit of MI, and a technical component involving the differential evocation and reinforcement of client change talk. A resulting causal chain model links therapist training, therapist and client responses during treatment sessions, and posttreatment outcomes.

Cuijpers P, Dekker J, Hollon SD, Andersson G.

The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry20099;70(9):1219—29.

Objective: A considerable number of studies has examined whether adding psychotherapy to pharmacotherapy results in stronger effects than pharmacotherapy alone. However, earlier meta-analyses in this field have included only a limited number of available studies and did not conduct extended subgroup analyses to examine possible sources of heterogeneity. Data Sources: We used a database derived from a comprehensive literature search in PubMed, PsycINFO, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for studies published from 1966 to January 2008 that examined the psychological treatment of depression. The abstracts of these studies were identified by combining terms indicative of psychological treatment and depression. Study Selection: We included randomized trials in which the effects of a pharmacologic treatment were compared to the effects of a combined pharmacologic and psychological treatment in adults with a depressive disorder. Data Extraction: For each of the studies, we calculated a standardized mean effect size indicating the difference between pharmacotherapy and the combined treatment at posttest. We also coded major characteristics of the population, the interventions, and the quality and design of the study. Data Synthesis: Twenty-five randomized trials, with a total of 2,036 patients, were included. A mean effect size of d = 0.31 (95% CI, 0.20 approximately 0.43) was found for the 25 included studies, indicating a small effect in favor of the combined treatment over pharmacotherapy alone. Studies aimed at patients with dysthymia resulted in significantly lower effect sizes compared to studies aimed at patients with major depression, a finding that suggests that the added value of psychotherapy is less in patients with dysthymia. The dropout rate was significantly lower in the combined treatment group compared to the pharmacotherapy only group (OR = 0.65; 95% CI, 0.50 approximately 0.83). Conclusions: Psychotherapy seems to have an additional value compared to pharmacotherapy alone for depression.

Kocsis JH, Leon AC, Markowitz JC, Manber R, Arnow B, Klein DN, Thase ME.

The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry20093;70(3):354—61. Epub 2009 Jan 13.

Background: Little is known about moderators of response to psychotherapy, medication, and combined treatment for chronic forms of major depressive disorder (MDD). We hypothesized that patient preference at baseline would interact with treatment group to differentially affect treatment outcome. Method: We report outcomes for 429 patients who participated in a randomized multicenter trial of nefazodone, Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy (CBASP), or combination therapy for chronic forms of MDD (DSM-IV criteria) and who indicated their preference for type of treatment at study entry. The primary outcome measures were total scores on the 24-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D-24) and categorical definitions of remission or partial response. The patients were recruited between June 1996 and December 1997. Results: There was an interactive effect of preference and treatment group on outcome. The treatment effect varied as a function of preference, and was particularly apparent for patients who initially expressed preference for one of the monotherapies. Patients who preferred medication had a higher remission rate (45.5%) and lower mean HAM-D-24 score (11.6) at study exit if they received medication than if they received psychotherapy (remission rate, 22.2%; mean HAM-D-24 score, 21.0). Patients who preferred psychotherapy had a higher remission rate (50.0%) and lower mean HAM-D-24 score (12.1) if they received psychotherapy than if they received medication (remission rate 7.7%, mean HAM-D-24 score 18.3). Nevertheless, treatment preference was not associated with risk of dropout from the study. Conclusions: These results suggest that patient preference is a potent moderator of treatment response for patients with chronic forms of MDD; however, relatively low proportions of the patient sample preferred one of the monotherapies, participants were not blinded to treatment assignment, and there was no placebo group.

Busch FN, Milrod BL, Sandberg LS.

J Am Psychoanal Assoc. 20092;57(1):131—48.

Systematic research on psychoanalytic treatments has been limited by several factors, including a belief that clinical experience can demonstrate the effectiveness of psychoanalysis, rendering systematic research unnecessary, the view that psychoanalytic research would be difficult or impossible to accomplish, and a concern that research would distort the treatment being delivered. In recent years, however, many psychoanalysts have recognized the necessity of research in order to obtain a more balanced assessment of the role of psychodynamic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis in a contemporary treatment armamentarium, as well as to allow appropriate evaluation and potentially greater acceptance by the broader mental health and medical communities. In this context, studies were conducted of a psychodynamic treatment, Panic-Focused Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (PFPP), initially in an open trial and then in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in comparison with a less active treatment, Applied Relaxation Training (ART; Cerny et al. 1984), for adults with primary DSM-IV panic disorder. The results of the RCT demonstrated the efficacy of PFPP in treating panic disorder, and also demonstrated that a psychoanalytic treatment can be systematically evaluated in a mode consistent with the principles of evidence-based medicine. Two specific features of the methodology, the development of the treatment manual and the operationalization of the adherence instrument, both core building blocks of contemporary psychotherapy outcome research, and their implications for psychoanalytic research are discussed in greater depth. The theoretical, clinical, and educational implications of the PFPP studies are elaborated, and suggestions are made for pursuing further outcome research of psychoanalytic treatments.

Leichsenring F, Rabung S.

The Journal of the American Medical Association2008101;300(13):1551—65.

Context: The place of long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy (LTPP) within psychiatry is controversial. Convincing outcome research for LTPP has been lacking. Objective: To examine the effects of LTPP, especially in complex mental disorders, ie, patients with personality disorders, chronic mental disorders, multiple mental disorders, and complex depressive and anxiety disorders (ie, associated with chronic course and/or multiple mental disorders), by performing a meta-analysis. Data Sources: Studies of LTPP published between January 1, 1960, and May 31, 2008, were identified by a computerized search using MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Current Contents, supplemented by contact with experts in the field. Study Selection: Only studies that used individual psychodynamic psychotherapy lasting for at least a year, or 50 sessions; had a prospective design; and reported reliable outcome measures were included. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies were considered. Twenty-three studies involving a total of 1053 patients were included (11 RCTs and 12 observational studies). Data Extraction: Information on study characteristics and treatment outcome was extracted by 2 independent raters. Effect sizes were calculated for overall effectiveness, target problems, general psychiatric symptoms, personality functioning, and social functioning. To examine the stability of outcome, effect sizes were calculated separately for end-of-therapy and follow-up assessment. Results: According to comparative analyses of controlled trials, LTPP showed significantly higher outcomes in overall effectiveness, target problems, and personality functioning than shorter forms of psychotherapy. With regard to overall effectiveness, a between-group effect size of 1.8 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.7—3.4) indicated that after treatment with LTPP patients with complex mental disorders on average were better off than 96% of the patients in the comparison groups (P = .002). According to subgroup analyses, LTPP yielded significant, large, and stable within-group effect sizes across various and particularly complex mental disorders (range, 0.78—1.98). Conclusions: There is evidence that LTPP is an effective treatment for complex mental disorders. Further research should address the outcome of LTPP in specific mental disorders and should include cost-effectiveness analyses.

Hofmann SG, Smits JA.

The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry20084;69(4):621—32.

Objective: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is frequently used for various adult anxiety disorders, but there has been no systematic review of the efficacy of CBT in randomized placebo-controlled trials. The present study meta-analytically reviewed the efficacy of CBT versus placebo for adult anxiety disorders. Data Sources: We conducted a computerized search for treatment outcome studies of anxiety disorders from the first available date to March 1, 2007. We searched MEDLINE, PsycINFO, PubMed, Scopus, the Institute of Scientific Information, and Dissertation Abstracts International for the following terms: random*, cognitive behavior*therap*, cognitive therap*, behavior*therap*, GAD, generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder, social phobia, social anxiety disorder, specific phobia, simple phobia, PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, and acute stress disorder. Furthermore, we examined reference lists from identified articles and asked international experts to identify eligible studies. Study Selection: We included studies that randomly assigned adult patients between ages 18 and 65 years meeting DSM-III-R or DSM-IV criteria for an anxiety disorder to either CBT or placebo. Of 1165 studies that were initially identified, 27 met all inclusion criteria. Data Extraction: The 2 authors independently identified the eligible studies and selected for each study the continuous measures of anxiety severity. Dichotomous measures reflecting treatment response and continuous measures of depression severity were also collected. Data were extracted separately for completer (25 studies for continuous measures and 21 studies for response rates) and intent-to-treat (ITT) analyses (6 studies for continuous measures and 8 studies for response rates). Data Synthesis: There were no significant differences in attrition rates between CBT and placebo. Random-effects models of completer samples yielded a pooled effect size (Hedges' g) of 0.73 (95% CI = 0.88 to 1.65) for continuous anxiety severity measures and 0.45 (95% CI = 0.25 to 0.65) for depressive symptom severity measures. The pooled odds ratio for completer treatment response rates was 4.06 (95% CI = 2.78 to 5.92). The strongest effect sizes were observed in obsessive-compulsive disorder and acute stress disorder, and the weakest effect size was found in panic disorder. The advantage of CBT over placebo did not depend on placebo modality, number of sessions, or study year. Conclusions: Our review of randomized placebo-controlled trials indicates that CBT is efficacious for adult anxiety disorders. There is, however, considerable room for improvement. Also, more studies need to include ITT analyses in the future.

Kingston T, Dooley B, Bates A, Lawlor E, Malone K.

Psychol Psychother. 20076;80(Pt 2):193—203.

Objective: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a new group-based intervention for prevention of relapse in recurrent depression which has not been scientifically evaluated regarding its clinical effectiveness for ameliorating residual depressive symptoms following a depressive episode. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of MBCT in reducing residual depressive symptoms in psychiatric outpatients with recurrent depression, and to particularly explore the effects of mindfulness techniques on rumination. Design: The design of this study was a mixed model complex design. Design 1 consisted of a consecutive series of patients. They were assigned to either MBCT or TAU. The independent variables were time and group allocation, and dependent variables were Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Rumination Scale. In Design 2, the TAU group proceeded to complete an MBCT group, and the BDI and Rumination Scale results of the two groups were collapsed. Method: Nineteen patients with residual depressive symptoms following a depressive episode, and who were attending outpatient clinic, were assigned to either MBCT or treatment as usual (TAU), with the TAU group then proceeding to complete an MBCT group. Depressive and ruminative symptoms were assessed before, during, and after treatment, and at one-month follow-up. Results: A significant reduction in depressive symptoms was found at the end of MBCT, with a further reduction at one-month follow-up. A trend towards a reduction in rumination scores was also observed. Conclusions: Group MBCT has a marked effect on residual depressive symptoms, which may be mediated through the mindfulness-based cognitive approach towards excessive negative ruminations in patients with residual depressive symptoms following a depressive episode.

Miklowitz DJ, Otto MW, Frank E, Reilly-Harrington NA, Wisniewski SR, Kogan JN, Nierenberg AA, Calabrese JR, Marangell LB, Gyulai L, Araga M, Gonzalez JM, Shirley ER, Thase ME, Sachs GS.

Archives of General Psychiatry20074;64(4):419—26.

Context: Psychosocial interventions have been shown to enhance pharmacotherapy outcomes in bipolar disorder. Objective: To examine the benefits of 4 disorder-specific psychotherapies in conjunction with pharmacotherapy on time to recovery and the likelihood of remaining well after an episode of bipolar depression. Design: Randomized controlled trial. Setting: Fifteen clinics affiliated with the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder. Patients A total of 293 referred outpatients with bipolar I or II disorder and depression treated with protocol pharmacotherapy were randomly assigned to intensive psychotherapy (n = 163) or collaborative care (n = 130), a brief psychoeducational intervention. Interventions: Intensive psychotherapy was given weekly and biweekly for up to 30 sessions in 9 months according to protocols for family-focused therapy, interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, and cognitive behavior therapy. Collaborative care consisted of 3 sessions in 6 weeks. Main Outcome Measures: Outcome assessments were performed by psychiatrists at each pharmacotherapy visit. Primary outcomes included time to recovery and the proportion of patients classified as well during each of 12 study months. Results: All analyses were by intention to treat. Rates of attrition did not differ across the intensive psychotherapy (35.6%) and collaborative care (30.8%) conditions. Patients receiving intensive psychotherapy had significantly higher year-end recovery rates (64.4% vs 51.5%) and shorter times to recovery than patients in collaborative care (hazard ratio, 1.47; 95% confidence interval, 1.08—2.00; P = .01). Patients in intensive psychotherapy were 1.58 times (95% confidence interval, 1.17—2.13) more likely to be clinically well during any study month than those in collaborative care (P = .003). No statistically significant differences were observed in the outcomes of the 3 intensive psychotherapies. Conclusions: Intensive psychosocial treatment as an adjunct to pharmacotherapy was more beneficial than brief treatment in enhancing stabilization from bipolar depression. Future studies should compare the cost-effectiveness of models of psychotherapy for bipolar disorder.

Given space limitations and varying reprint permission policies, not all of the influential publications the editors considered reprinting in this issue could be included. This section contains abstracts from additional articles the editors deemed well worth reviewing.

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