Childhood depression: a place for psychotherapy
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- Trowell, J., Joffe, I., Campbell, J. et al. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry (2007) 16: 157. doi:10.1007/s00787-006-0584-x
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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.
A clinical trial assessed the effectiveness of these two forms of psychotherapy in treating moderate and severe depression in this age group.
A randomised control trial was conducted with 72 patients aged 9–15 years allocated to one of two treatment groups.
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.
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.