The following masters thesis focuses on the subject of effectiveness of psychotherapy
in the treatment of depressive disorders. Opinions on effectiveness of psychotherapy are, despite the significant amount of research on the topic, divided. Accordingly, the primary aim of this thesis is to provide an overview and comparison of existing meta-analyses and research in search of a clearer consensus on the effectiveness of psychotherapy in the treatment of depressive disorders. This thesis provides a description of depressive disorders, including their characteristics and clinical presentation. Psychotherapeutic approaches are introduced, with a focus on the most commonly used psychotherapeutic treatments: cognitive-behavioural, interpersonal, and psychodynamic psychotherapy.
The effectiveness of psychotherapy is thoroughly discussed from the perspective of relevant factors and variables such as age, form, severity, recurrence of the depression, suicidality, different psychotherapeutic paradigms, therapeutic relationship and other aspects of psychotherapy process and shared factors of psychotherapy.
The most relevant finding after overview and analysis of existing research and meta-analyses is the notion that psychotherapy is an effective method of treating depressive disorders. Though viewed as effective as an independent form of treatment, most researches highlight that it is most effective when combined with pharmaceutical interventions. The effectiveness of different psychotherapeutic paradigms, when compared to each other is similar, with no significant differences arising.
The most important element to the effectiveness of psychotherapy is the therapeutic relationship between therapist and client; patient involvement in the process is also of great importance. Positive and effective therapeutic relationship is necessary, but alone not a sufficient requirement for any form of psychotherapy.