Narrative therapy with an emotional approach for people with depression: Improved symptom and cognitive-emotional outcomes

J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2015 Aug;22(6):379-89. doi: 10.1111/jpm.12200. Epub 2015 Mar 9.

Abstract

Accessible summary: Narrative therapy is a useful approach in the treatment of depression that allows that person to 're-author' his/her life stories by focusing on positive interpretations, and such focus on positive emotions is a crucial component of treatment for depression. This paper evaluates narrative therapy with an emotional approach (NTEA) as a therapeutic modality that could be used by nurses for persons with depression. A nurse-administered NTEA intervention for people with depression appears effective in increasing cognitive-emotional outcomes, such as hope, positive emotions and decreasing symptoms of depression. Thus, NTEA can be a useful nursing intervention strategy for people with depression.

Abstract: Narrative therapy, which allows a person to 're-author' his/her life stories by focusing on positive interpretations, and emotion-focused therapy, which enables the person to realize his/her emotions, are useful approaches in the treatment of depression. Narrative therapy with an emotional approach (NTEA) aims to create new positive life narratives that focus on alternative stories instead of negative stories. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of the NTEA programme on people with depression utilizing a quasi-experimental design. A total of 50 patients (experimental 24, control 26) participated in the study. The experimental group completed eight sessions of the NTEA programme. The effects of the programme were measured using a self-awareness scale, the Nowotny Hope Scale, the Positive Affect and Negative Affect Scale, and the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale. The two groups were homogeneous. There were significant differences in hope, positive and negative emotions, and depression between the experimental and control group. The results established that NTEA can be a useful nursing intervention strategy for people with depression by focusing on positive experiences and by helping depressed patients develop a positive identity through authoring affirmative life stories.

Keywords: depression; emotional approach; hope; narrative therapy; self-awareness.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Narrative Therapy / methods*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*