Next month’s issue of *Clinical Psychology Review (Feb, 2010; vol. 30,
#1) includes an article: “Psychotherapy for chronic major depression and
dysthymia: A meta-analysis.”

The authors are Cuijpers, Pim; van Straten, Annemieke; Schuurmans,
Josien; van Oppen, Patricia; Hollon, Steven D.; & Andersson, Gerhard.

Here’s the abstract:

[begin abstract]

Although several studies have examined the effects of psychotherapy on
chronic depression and dysthymia, no meta-analysis has been conducted to
integrate results of these studies.

We conducted a meta-analysis of 16 randomized trials examining the
effects of psychotherapy on chronic depression and dysthymia.

We found that psychotherapy had a small but significant effect (d =0.23)
on depression when compared to control groups. Psychotherapy was
significantly less effective than pharmacotherapy in direct comparisons
(d =-0.31), especially SSRIs, but that this finding was wholly
attributable to dysthymic patients (the studies examining dysthymia
patients were the same studies that examined SSRIs).

Combined treatment was more effective than pharmacotherapy alone (d
=0.23) but even more so with respect to psychotherapy alone (d =0.45),
although again this difference may have reflected the greater proportion
of dysthymic samples in the latter.

No significant differences were found in drop-out rates between
psychotherapy and the other conditions.

We found indications that at least 18 treatment sessions are needed to
realize optimal effects of psychotherapy.

We conclude that psychotherapy is effective in the treatment of chronic
depression and dysthymia but probably not as effective as
pharmacotherapy (particularly the SSRIs).

[end abstract]

The author note provides the following contact info: <p.cuijpers@psy.vu.nl>.

Courtesy of Ken Pope

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