Well-being therapy in depression: New insights into the role of psychological well-being in the clinical process

Depress Anxiety. 2017 Sep;34(9):801-808. doi: 10.1002/da.22629. Epub 2017 Apr 18.


A specific psychotherapeutic strategy for increasing psychological well-being and resilience, well-being therapy (WBT), has been developed and validated in a number of randomized controlled trials. The findings indicate that flourishing and resilience can be promoted by specific interventions leading to a positive evaluation of one's self, a sense of continued growth and development, the belief that life is purposeful and meaningful, the possession of quality relations with others, the capacity to manage effectively one's life, and a sense of self-determination. The evidence supporting the use of WBT and its specific contribution when it is combined with other psychotherapeutic techniques is still limited. However, the insights gained by the use of WBT may unravel innovative approaches to assessment and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, to be confirmed by controlled studies, with particular reference to decreasing vulnerability to relapse and modulating psychological well-being and mood. An important characteristic of WBT is self-observation of psychological well-being associated with specific homework. Such perspective is different from interventions that are labeled as positive but are actually distress oriented. Another important feature of WBT is the assumption that imbalances in well-being and distress may vary from one illness to another and from patient to patient. Customary clinical taxonomy and evaluation do not include psychological well-being, which may demarcate major prognostic and therapeutic differences among patients who otherwise seem to be deceptively similar since they share the same diagnosis.

Keywords: anxiety; depression; euthymia; psychological well-being; well-being therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Depression / therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Psychotherapy / methods*