Psychotherapies for adult depression: recent developments

Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2015 Jan;28(1):24-9. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000121.


Purpose of review: Much has been learned from the 400 randomized trials on psychotherapies for adult depression that have been conducted, but much is also still unknown. In this study some recent attempts to further reduce the disease burden of depression through psychotherapies are reviewed.

Recent findings: In the past, many new psychotherapies have promised to be more effective than existing treatments, usually without success. We describe recent research on two new therapies, acceptance and commitment therapy and cognitive bias modification, and conclude that both have also not shown to be more effective than existing therapies. A growing number of studies have also focused on therapies that may be successful in further reducing the disease burden, such as treatments for chronic depression and relapse prevention. Other studies are aimed at scaling up psychological services, such as the training of lay health counselors in low-income and middle-income countries, telephone-based, and internet-based therapies.

Summary: Psychotherapies are essential tools in the treatment of adult depression. Randomized trials have shown that these treatments are effective, and by focusing on key issues, such as chronic depression, relapse, and scaling them up, psychotherapies contribute more and more to the reduction of the disease burden of depression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy / standards
  • Adult
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / standards
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Psychotherapy / standards
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic