Cognitive Behavioural Group Therapy for Treatment of Depressive Symptoms: Developing a Program and its Effectiveness

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Başaran S. K., Göcek-Yorulmaz E., Sapmaz Yurtsever S., Olgun Kaval N., Gökdağ C., Yıldırım Z. E., ...More

the 46th European Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies Congress, Stockholm, Sweden, 31 August - 03 September 2016, pp.703

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Stockholm
  • Country: Sweden
  • Page Numbers: pp.703
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: No


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is widely used treatment for depression. Most research has demonstrated the effectiveness of CBT for depression (Cuijpers et all. 2014). CBT can be also implemented in group format. Cognitive Behavioural Group Therapy (CBGT) has some advantages such as efficiency, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness (NICE, 2009). Moreover, working with a structured therapy program has a lot of benefits (Dobson & Shaw, 1988). Studies have shown that manualized therapies are frequently used and effective in the treatment of depression (Gökdağ & Sütcü, 2016). However, there is no structured treatment program in this respect in Turkey. Consequently, the aim of this study is to prepare a manualized CBGT intervention program for depression and evaluate the effectiveness of the program. Participants have recruited from Ege University Student Psychological Counseling Services. They were assessed by clinical psychologists to evaluate the depressive symptoms. The inclusion criteria of the research were presence of depressive symptoms and willingness to participate group format cognitive behavioral therapy. After the evaluation, 25 undergraduate students (14 female) had met the inclusion criteria and were assigned one of the five groups considering their time schedule. However 19 participants completed the therapy program and pre and post-test evaluations. In this study, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS) were used to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment program. In order to reduce depressive symptoms, an 11-session CBGT program has been developed by researchers. This program comprises 11 group sessions, each of which approximately 2 hour duration with components of the sessions based on the CBT techniques and homework. There are 4 to 6 participants per group, led by two therapists. In the first session, therapists first aim to introduce CBT and its approach for depressive symptoms. Sessions 2-3 mainly covers behavioral components of CBT, including activity scheduling and relaxation. Sessions 4-8 focuses on cognitive techniques, namely explanations about nature of automatic thoughts, exercises on notifications of cognitive distortions and finally cognitive restructuring. Sessions 9-10 are about problem solving techniques. The final session is on review of whole therapy sessions and giving personal and program based feedbacks to participants about relapse prevention, given by therapist as well as group members. Paired Samples t test results showed that significant improvement was observed on all measures. BDI pre-treatment (M = 23.05, SD = 6.6) was significantly more than post-treatment (M = 9.47, SD = 6.9), t (18) = 7.37 p < .001, d = 1.69. BAI pre-treatment (M = 20.65, SD = 10.9) was significantly more than post-treatment (M = 12.88, SD = 9.3), t (16) = 3.05 p < .01, d = .74. Finally, BHS pre-treatment (M = 11.35, SD = 2.9) was significantly more than post-treatment (M = 6.12, SD = 4.5), t (16) = 4.62 p < .001, d = 1.12. Our results suggest that CBGT of 11 weekly sessions reduces depressive symptoms which are consistent with literature findings. Although this study has some significant outcomes, there are some limitations such as absence of compare groups and small sample size. In conclusion, our findings support that CBGT is effective for reducing depressive symptoms.