A Feasibility Study of a Novel Work-focused Relational Group CBT Treatment Programme for Moderate to Severe Recurrent Depression.

Nicola Walker, Michael Townend, Madeleine Vernon-Smith

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Abstract

No current psychotherapeutic intervention is designed to enhance job retention in employees with moderate-severe recurrent depression. The aim of this study was to test the feasibility of a new, interdisciplinary Work-focused Relational Group CBT Treatment Programme for moderate-severe depression.
The programme was based on a theoretical integration of occupational stress, psychological, social/interpersonal, and bio-medical theories. It consisted of (i) up to four 1:1 psychotherapy sessions; (ii) twelve work-focused, full-day, weekly CBT sessions facilitated by a cognitive behavioural therapist and occupational therapist; and (iii) up to four optional 1:1 sessions with an occupational therapist. Depression severity (primary outcome) and a range of secondary outcomes were assessed before (first CBT session) and after (twelfth CBT session) therapy using validated instruments.
Eight women (26-49 years) with moderate-severe depression participated. Five were on antidepressant medication. While there was no statistically significant change in HAM-D depression scores after therapy (n=5; p=0.313), BDI-II depression scores significantly decreased after therapy (n=8; -20.0 median change, p=0.016; 6/8 responses, 7/8 minimal clinically important differences, two remissions). There were significant improvements in the secondary outcomes of overall psychological distress, coping self-efficacy, HRQoL, and interpersonal difficulties after therapy. All clients in work at the start of therapy remained in work at the end of therapy. The intervention was safe and had 100% retention.
A major limitation was recruitment shortfall, resulting in a small sample of middle-aged women, which reduces representativeness and increases the possibility of methodological weaknesses in terms of the statistical analysis. A definitive trial would need much larger samples to improve statistical power and increase confidence in the findings. Another major limitation was that two of the authors were involved in delivering the intervention such that its generalisability is uncertain.
This novel programme was evaluated and implemented in the real world of clinical practice. It showed promising immediate positive outcomes in terms of depressive symptoms, interpersonal difficulties, and job retention that warrant further exploration in a longer-term definitive study.
While limited by a recruitment shortfall, missing data, and client heterogeneity, this study showed promising immediate positive outcomes for the new programme in terms of depressive symptoms, interpersonal difficulties, and job retention that warrant exploration in a definitive study.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages28
JournalMental Health Review Journal
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2021

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