Major Depressive Disorder and the Cognitive Approach

Posted: December 2nd, 2013


Major Depressive Disorder and the Cognitive Approach




Major Depressive Disorder and the Cognitive Approach

Major depressive disorder is a widespread mental complication in the modern world. It may sometimes lead to disability. There are empirically supported treatments (EST) of major depressive disorder. The effectiveness of ESTs in the treatment of major depressive disorders has however been put to question. There are three EST procedures used in the treatment of serious Depressive disorder. The first procedure is the behavior therapy, then the cognitive or cognitive-behavioral therapy and the third is the interpersonal therapy. The empirical method used to validate the efficiency of treatment has however been under heavy criticism in recent periods. This is because the Random Clinical Tria1s (RCTs) in which these empirical methods are based are difficult to simplify. Three methods have been put forward to determine the effectiveness of ESTs. The first is to study how representative the clinical trials are. The second one involves a direct comparison of RCTs in their natural locations and the third is a comparative study that is based upon certain benchmarks. This study will therefore compare the efficiency of assistential treatments with those of the ESTs using the benchmarking strategy and at the same time make corrections on the shortfalls of previous studies.

This study involved the use of a Quasi-experimental, potential study. It involved one group that was subjected to repeat evaluations after treatment. The results were then compared with RCTs, which represented ESTs. It involved a sample of 69 patients who went for treatment between 1999 and 2010 and who were found to be suffering from Major Depressionary Disorder. Their details were obtained from the University Psychology Unit of the UCM. The diagnosis was done after the patients were assessed using various techniques such as interviews, questionnaires and the Beck anxiety inventory among others. This sample was evaluated by 29 psychotherapists from the UCM center who had advanced qualifications in clinical and health psychology. These therapists subjected the patients to special and elaborate treatment focusing on the treatment requirements of ESTs for Major Depressionary Disorders. These treatments were 1-hour sessions on a weekly basis until they were discharged. Some information was also obtained from the patients’ clinical records. Patient characteristics, therapy characteristics and the treatment results were gathered.

The results were characterized as either discharge or dropout. Dropout indicated as a failure of therapy. The study of behavioral activation of Jacobson et al, the cognitive clinical therapy, and the interpersonal therapy of Elkin et al were adopted as benchmarks to be used in comparison. The data was analyzed using an SPSS 15.0 program. The rate of treatment success was computed based on the proportion of patients who completed therapy and those who dropped out. The outcomes of treatment were compared using t-tests or Kolmogorov-Smirnov, Chi-square Fisher‘s test. 63.8% of all patients completed treatment and were discharged while 36.2% dropped out. A comparison of the two categories shows that 55.1% registered some improvement in their medical condition. A comparison of the four treatment techniques using the set benchmark shows that the group from the University Psychology Unit registered a high rate of improvement.

The study, carried out on patients suffering from mental illness revealed a lot of disparity in the results observed from different forms of treatment. Psycho-education was applied in all treatments used in the study. The study showed that interpersonal therapy was the only technique that was significantly different from the rest. The treatment that was used in the university Psychology Unit contained the most elements of behavioral activation as well as cognitive therapy. According to the study, behavioral activation registered the lowest number of dropouts. The University Psychological unit therefore posted significant improvement results compared to the other groups considering it also had few sessions. The university psychological unit, which represents the EST mode of treatment, was the most successful of the techniques used since its procedures were adapted to the specific attributes of the patient. These results therefore favor the case for the use of ESTs in the treatment of crucial depressionary disorder.

This study focuses on the cognitive approach in the treatment of major depressionary disorder. This study focuses on a cognitive approach to the treatment methods. It aims at ascertaining the effectiveness of using the cognitive approach in treatment. This study is consistent with the application of the cognitive approach in treatment of major depressionary disorders. It borders upon validating the incorporation of behavioral and cognitive approaches in treatment of mental disorders especially the major depressionary disorders. It aims at ascertains the superiority of the cognitive approach as compared to other treatment techniques. This study also acknowledges the integral function played by cognitive techniques when used with other forms of treatment.

In conclusion, the cognitive approach is the best approach that can be used in the treatment of major depressionary disorders. From the study, we can identify several factors that make the cognitive approach an outstanding procedure. Its success rate is extremely high compared to those of other techniques. The technique is most comfortable with patients considering its low dropout rate. Cognitive treatment is easy to administer and provides therapists with a simple and effective method of treatment. The study was carried out by relatively young and inexperienced therapists but who registered improvements in the patients they treated. The cognitive approach is an effective technique in the treatment of major depressionary disorders. It should be frequently incorporated in treatment by therapists.


Puig, F. J. E., & Encinas, F. J. L. (2012). Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Major Depressive Disorder in a University Psychology Clinic. The Spanish Journal of  Psychology, 15.( 3). 1388-1399. doi:

Sudak, D. M. (2011). Combining CBT and medication: An evidence-based approach. Hoboken: Wiley.


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