A Single-Case Design Investigation for Measuring the Efficacy of Gestalt Therapy to Treat Depression in Older Adults with Dementia in Italy and in Mexico: A Research Protocol

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Mar 10;19(6):3260. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19063260.


Psychotherapy is one of the evidence-based clinical interventions for the treatment of depression in older adults with dementia. Randomised controlled trials are often the first methodological choice to gain evidence, yet they are not applicable to a wide range of humanistic psychotherapies. Amongst all, the efficacy of the Gestalt therapy (GT) is under-investigated. The purpose of this paper is to present a research protocol, aiming to assess the effects of a GT-based intervention on people with dementia (PWD) and indirect influence on their family carers. The study implements the single-case experimental design with time series analysis that will be carried out in Italy and Mexico. Six people in each country, who received a diagnosis of dementia and present depressive symptoms, will be recruited. Eight or more GT sessions will be provided, whose fidelity will be assessed by the GT fidelity scale. Quantitative outcome measures are foreseen for monitoring participants' depression, anxiety, quality of life, loneliness, carers' burden, and the caregiving dyad mutuality at baseline and follow-up. The advantages and limitations of the research design are considered. If GT will effectively result in the treatment of depression in PWD, it could enrich the range of evidence-based interventions provided by healthcare services.

Keywords: Gestalt therapy; dementia; depression; psychosocial interventions; single-case experimental design.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Caregivers
  • Dementia* / complications
  • Dementia* / therapy
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / therapy
  • Gestalt Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Mexico / epidemiology
  • Quality of Life*
  • Research Design