The Psychological Record

, Volume 68, Issue 2, pp 231–238 | Cite as

Functional Analytic Group Therapy (FAGT) for Depression: a Pilot Study

  • Luc VandenbergheEmail author
  • Umbelina do Rego Leite
Original Article


Functional analytic group therapy (FAGT) was pilot tested to assess its feasibility as a treatment for depressive symptoms and mood in a naturalistic setting. The model uses unplanned in vivo learning opportunities as they occur in group therapy sessions to help clients develop healthier ways of dealing with interpersonal difficulties that are related to their depressive complaints. Twenty-one adult women divided into three groups completed 16 weekly 2-h sessions in a free community clinic. Treatment effect was evaluated through changes pre- to post-treatment on a Brazilian version of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Jacobson and Truax’ method was used to verify clinical significance and reliability of each individual client’s improvement. Seventeen moderately depressed participants entered the non-clinical range. Four mildly depressed participants also showed improvement. For 12 clients, the improvement was both reliable and clinically significant. The 15 participants who took part in follow-up were found to have maintained gains over 2 years. Attrition was low, considering the investment of time and effort demanded. The results suggest this approach is a viable treatment for depressive symptoms and mood and deserves further investigation.


Behavioral group therapy Depression Functional analysis Naturalistic sample 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments and comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CEPSIPontifícia Universidade Católica de GoiasGoianiaBrazil
  2. 2.Centro de Filosofia e Ciências HumanasUniversidade Federal de Pernambuco, Cidade UniversitariaRecifeBrazil

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