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Determining the Effectiveness of Psychotherapy in Depression


Psychotherapy is a mode of treatment used by people with mental health and emotional challenges. Depression is a mental health disorder that affects an individual’s well-being., productivity, and how they relate to others (Torres, 2020). It affects how one thinks, acts, and feels. When someone is depressed, they lose interest in things they love and experience sadness more often. Various symptoms of depression are fatigue, sadness, suicidal thoughts, weight gain or weight loss, and loss of appetite. Multiple studies have proved that depression can be treated through psychotherapy. Psychotherapy improves the productivity and well-being of people with depression. Understanding the effectiveness of psychotherapy in treating depression is important in researching mental health and appropriate treatment options. Learning the effectiveness of psychotherapy is also important because it helps determine which type of psychotherapy should be used for different mental health issues (APA, 2019). Research on the effectiveness of psychotherapy helps health practitioners make informed decisions on the best treatment options for their patients. Determining the effectiveness of psychotherapy helps in identifying what results to the most positive results, which can be utilized in counseling psychology. The research topic is important because it provides information on caring for patients with mental health issues. Additionally, Torres (2020) claims that 6 percent of adults are diagnosed with depression yearly. Determining the effectiveness of psychotherapy in depression is therefore important in coming up with the best treatment for depression.

Literature review

In a lifetime, one in every people is estimated to experience depression in their life. Women tend to experience depressive episodes more than men. Depression can affect anyone, hence the need to establish effective treatment measures. Depression prevails globally by 4.4 percent, and it is one of many diseases that cause health loss in a non-fatal manner (Eielsen et al., 2022). There are higher chances of relapse after the first depression episode. The persistence of depression is also seen in the persistence of depression symptoms. Depression is common among youth and is documented as the fourth cause of suicide. Many people do not receive treatment for depression due to stigma, lack of appropriate facilities, and lack of funds for healthcare (Firth-Cozens, 2023). Risk factors for depression are drug and substance use, genetics, cancer, respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular diseases. Psychological treatments like psychotherapy are the first interventions for depression. They can be used solely, or they can be combined with antidepressants when the disease is severe.

Psychotherapy for treating mental health issues was discovered in the 20th century. Various studies have shown that psychotherapy can be used to treat depression. Depending on how severe depression is, Psychotherapy treatment can be used for a few weeks or longer. Wampold (2019) had clinical trials to test for psychotherapy’s effectiveness, and patients receiving therapy were more advantageous than those receiving none. Einstein et al. 2022 carried out a study to determine the effectiveness of psychotherapy in chronic depression. Certain studies reveal that psychotherapy is effective for treating depression, but combining psychotherapy with medicine would be more effective. Randomized Control Trials have been an effective method for testing the effectiveness of psychotherapy. However, the effectiveness of therapy can be affected by non-therapy factors, imperfect measurements, and treatment effects (Saxe, 2018). When participants are accorded treatment, and others receive no treatment, it is assumed that observed effects are due to psychotherapy treatment. RCTs were subjected to determine the effectiveness of psychotherapy, and the methods have proven to be effective. A study by Wampold (2019) claims that they found no correlation between psychotherapy and recovery, as increased psychotherapy slowed the recovery process. However, similar studies found opposite results that proved psychotherapy was indeed effective.



The most applicable method for this research question is randomized control trials. This method has been used in clinical trials testing the effectiveness of psychotherapy since the 20th century. RCTs are considered the most appropriate research method for testing the effectiveness of treatments. Randomized control trials entail using a control group that enables a comparison of effects between participants who received treatment and those who did not. RCTs involve selecting participants randomly, giving them equal opportunities, and reducing selection bias. The various treatments for the study will be different types of psychotherapy (Cognitive behavior therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and interpersonal therapy. One group of participants will receive treatment, while the rest will not. The control group will be used to compare the effects of psychotherapy on depression. Most similar studies use randomized control trials for research.


Willing participants will be selected from a mental health facility. As the method’s name suggests, selection will be conducted randomly to reduce bias. Participants will receive treatment assigned randomly, while the control group will not. The required participants will be of 1ighteen to seventy years old. Determination of the type of treatment to assign participants will also be conducted randomly. Participants will then be recruited and explained what the research entails and that they could leave it at their own will without any consequences. The severity of depression in patients will be measured using the Beck Depression Inventory. Forty participants will be selected for the study.


The selected participants will receive different types of psychotherapy, while the control group will receive no therapy. The types of psychotherapy used in this research are psychodynamic therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and interpersonal therapy). Experienced psychotherapists will conduct psychotherapy for three months will hourly sessions per day. The number of sessions will, however, be adjusted if need be. The control group may receive support rather than psychotherapy, like listening to or talking to them. Participants will have a follow-up to ensure everything is going smoothly. Data will be collected from the psychotherapists on their observations on the effectiveness of psychotherapy, like looking for reduced symptoms and productivity of participants throughout the therapy sessions. Participants will also fill out questionnaires to help researchers understand their state of depression before and after therapy. Data validity will be ensured by ensuring participants follow the therapy sessions accordingly. Data will also be obtained through interviews with selected participants to comprehend their depression history, symptoms, and journey through the mental health issue.

Data analysis

The collected data will be analyzed statistically using ANOVA to determine the effectiveness of psychotherapy in depression. The effectiveness of psychotherapy will be measured through the improved symptoms, improved functioning, and other necessary data collected. The significance of the data will then be determined using an F-test.

Ethical issues

Ethical concerns should be implemented in every research study. In this research, ethical considerations include confidentiality, consent, and safety of participants. Participants will be informed what the research entails, the benefits and repercussions, and they can withdraw anytime. Data obtained from the participants should be published anonymously without exposing the personal details of participants (APA, 2017). The research participants will be people with mental health issues, and thus, the research will avoid anything disturbing the participants’ mental health. Participants will be accorded any necessary support needed during the study. No research is permanent; withholding treatment for the control group might be considered an ethical concern. The research will therefore consider using participants who refuse treatment for the control group. Another option for this ethical dilemma will be providing psychotherapy treatments for these participants after the study.


Psychotherapy is a mode of treatment used by people with mental health and emotional challenges. Determining an effective treatment for depression is important because one in six people experience depression. Women are also likely to be more depressed than men. Determining the effectiveness of psychotherapy is essential as it unveils the benefits of psychotherapy as a treatment for depression. The results of psychotherapy are long-term and can last for a year or so. Understanding the effectiveness of psychotherapy helps clinicians make informed decisions between different modes of treatment for depression. Randomized Control Trials are an appropriate method for testing the effectiveness of psychotherapy because it is the best method for testing the effectiveness of treatment.

Additionally, similar studies have confirmed that it is the best method for testing the effectiveness of therapy. Participants should be selected and accorded treatment randomly in this method. Trained psychotherapists should administer psychotherapy and ethical concerns should be addressed during the research. Crucial ethical concerns in this research are confidentiality, the safety of participants, and consent.


American Psychiatric Association. (2019). What is Psychotherapy?; American Psychiatric Association.

American Psychological Association. (2017). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct.(2002, amended effective June 1, 2010, and January 1, 2017). to an external site.Links to an external site.

Eielsen, M., Ulvenes, P. G., Røssberg, J. I., Høstmælingen, A., Soma, C. S., & Wampold, B. E. (2022). The Effectiveness of an Intensive Inpatient Psychotherapy Program for Chronic Depression: A naturalistic comparison with a wait list. BMC psychiatry22(1), 745.

Firth-Cozens, J. (2023). A perspective on stress and depression. In Understanding doctors’ performance (pp. 22–37). CRC Press.

Saxe, L. (2018). The efficacy and cost-effectiveness of psychotherapy: Methods for Assessing the Effectiveness of Psychotherapy.

Torres, F. (2020). What is depression? American Psychiatric Association; American Psychiatric Association.

Wampold, B. E. (2019). Research on the effectiveness of psychotherapy.


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