A Psychoanalytic-Derived Brief Psychotherapeutic Approach in the Treatment of Major Depression: Monotherapy Studies

Medicina (Kaunas). 2022 Sep 23;58(10):1335. doi: 10.3390/medicina58101335.


Over the years, short term psychodynamic therapy (STPP) has been broadly researched in order to evaluate its efficacy in the treatment of major psychiatric disorders. In particular, a consistent number of studies focused on assessing clinical outcomes of the principal psychodynamic techniques in treating depressive disorders. We conducted a narrative review in which we aimed to evaluate the efficacy of STPP in monotherapy in major depressive disorder and to assess possible features that may correlate with its clinical use. Databases searched were PubMed, Ovid, Scopus, PsycINFO and Cochrane Libraries from inception to July 2022. Our research underlined that STPP in monotherapy is particularly effective in moderately severe depression and in preventing depressive relapses. Moreover, a case-by-case evaluation of its efficacy should be performed when considering STPP for the treatment of major depression with other comorbid psychiatric conditions. Although such key points emerged from scientific evidence, STPP should be better studied in the long-term perspective; further research is needed to define the clinical scenarios in which STPP can be considered a first-line approach as monotherapy in major depressive disorder compared to medications or other types of psychotherapy.

Keywords: STPP; major depressive disorders; monotherapy; recurrency; short term psychodynamic therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Depression
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Psychotherapy, Brief* / methods
  • Psychotherapy, Psychodynamic* / methods
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.