European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 157–167

Childhood depression: a place for psychotherapy

An outcome study comparing individual psychodynamic psychotherapy and family therapy
  • Judith Trowell
  • Ilan Joffe
  • Jesse Campbell
  • Carmen Clemente
  • Fredrik Almqvist
  • Mika Soininen
  • Ulla Koskenranta-Aalto
  • Sheila Weintraub
  • Gerasimos Kolaitis
  • Vlassis Tomaras
  • Dimitris Anastasopoulos
  • Kate Grayson
  • Jacqueline Barnes
  • John Tsiantis
ORIGINAL CONTRIBUTION

DOI: 10.1007/s00787-006-0584-x

Cite this article as:
Trowell, J., Joffe, I., Campbell, J. et al. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry (2007) 16: 157. doi:10.1007/s00787-006-0584-x

Abstract

Background

Although considered clinically effective, there is little systematic research confirming the use of Individual Psychodynamic Psychotherapy or Family Therapy as treatments for depression in children and young adolescents.

Aims

A clinical trial assessed the effectiveness of these two forms of psychotherapy in treating moderate and severe depression in this age group.

Methods

A randomised control trial was conducted with 72 patients aged 9–15 years allocated to one of two treatment groups.

Results

Significant reductions in disorder rates were seen for both Individual Therapy and Family Therapy. A total of 74.3% of cases were no longer clinically depressed following Individual Therapy and 75.7% of cases were no longer clinically depressed following Family Therapy. This included cases of Dysthymia and “Double Depression” (co-existing Major Depressive Disorder and Dysthymia). There was also an overall reduction in co-morbid conditions across the study. The changes in both treatment groups were persistent and there was ongoing improvement. At follow up six months after treatment had ended, 100% of cases in the Individual Therapy group, and 81% of cases in the Family Therapy group were no longer clinically depressed.

Conclusions

This study provides evidence supporting the use of focused forms of both Individual Psychodynamic Therapy and Family Therapy for moderate to severe depression in children and young adolescents.

Keywords

treatment childhood depression individual psychotherapy family therapy 

Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith Trowell
    • 1
  • Ilan Joffe
    • 2
  • Jesse Campbell
    • 3
  • Carmen Clemente
    • 4
  • Fredrik Almqvist
    • 5
  • Mika Soininen
    • 5
  • Ulla Koskenranta-Aalto
    • 5
  • Sheila Weintraub
    • 5
  • Gerasimos Kolaitis
    • 6
  • Vlassis Tomaras
    • 7
  • Dimitris Anastasopoulos
    • 6
  • Kate Grayson
    • 8
  • Jacqueline Barnes
    • 9
  • John Tsiantis
    • 6
  1. 1.Professor of Child Mental Health, West Midlands NIMHE/CSIP, Honorary Consultant Child & Adolescent PsychiatristTavistock ClinicLondonUK
  2. 2.Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Trust, Child & Family ClinicMarlowes Health CentreHemel HempsteadUK
  3. 3.Tavistock ClinicLondonUK
  4. 4.Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, Department of Child & Adolescent PsychiatryRoyal Free HospitalLondonUK
  5. 5.Department of Child Psychiatry, The Hospital for Children & Adolescents, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  6. 6.Department of Child Psychiatry, Aghia Sophia Children’s HospitalAthens University Medical SchoolAthensGreece
  7. 7.Department of Psychiatry, Eginition HospitalAthens University Medical SchoolAthensGreece
  8. 8.Statistics By DesignCamberlyUK
  9. 9.Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues, BirkbeckUniversity of London7 Bedford SquareUK