The clinical role of well-being therapy

Nord J Psychiatry. 2018 Aug;72(6):447-453. doi: 10.1080/08039488.2018.1492013. Epub 2018 Nov 16.


Purpose: There are several clinical areas where psychological well-being may play an important role: the assessment of the dynamic balance between ill-being and well-being; reduction of incidence, prevention of recurrence and achievement of full recovery in psychiatric disorders such as depression; patient's satisfaction and perceived change after treatment. The aim of this article is to discuss the clinical role of Well-Being Therapy (WBT).

Materials and methods: A critical review of the literature concerned with psychological well-being and its treatment was performed. WBT is a short-term psychotherapeutic strategy that emphasizes self-observation of psychological well-being, with the use of a structured diary, cognitive restructuring of interfering thoughts and/or behaviors through cognitive behavioral techniques, and homework assignments (i.e. pursuing optimal experiences). WBT is based on a multidimensional model of psychological well-being that was originally developed by Marie Jahoda and it is aimed at achieving a state of euthymia.

Results: WBT has been validated in a number of randomized controlled trials. The sequential combination of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and WBT has mainly characterized its use so far. Illustration of a clinical case exemplifies its application and the potential role of psychological well-being in the clinical process.

Conclusions: Even though more randomized controlled trials concerned with WBT are needed, consideration of psychological well-being may unravel innovative approaches to the prevention, assessment and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders.

Keywords: Psychological well-being; depression; euthymia; sequential approach; well-being therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Mood Disorders / therapy*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Psychotherapy, Brief / methods*