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What is the best treatment for depression?

Following on from the description of what depression is (read this here) and how it develops (here), on this page I describe the best psychological treatments for depression . 

"I'm depressed, what psychological treatment

has the best evidence of working?"


There is a high volume of quality scientific research into the effectiveness of psychological interventions for depression (and other common psychological problems). This mass of research is analysed as a whole by national bodies such as NICE (the National Institute of Clinical Health Excellence) in the UK, which looks at the effectiveness of various treatments and recommends what should be offered to whom within the NHS. (Here is a link to the NICE Clinical Guideline for the treatment of depression CG90 within the NHS, if you would like to look at the guideline in more detail.)

For depression, the psychological therapy treatment of choice is

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

The guideline describes how depending on the severity of depression, the intensity of CBT intervention to be delivered should vary. So, less severe depression, will likely benefit from a lower intensity intervention, which can be delivered by therapists with less training. Those who do not respond to this, which in reality will end-up being quite a few people, will then be ‘stepped-up’ to the next level of intervention. These people who didn’t respond enough to the initial intervention, will then join those assessed to have a more severe or entrenched depression, who should see therapists who have had more substantial CBT training.


For those who do not respond to CBT, other treatment approaches can be considered later, by therapists trained in other treatment approaches. Medication, such as anti-depressant SSRIs can be useful to supplement or complement psychological treatments.


I am a fully trained Clinical Psychologist (being trained in CBT and other psychological therapies), with Postgraduate qualifications in CBT, and 20 years of experience in the NHS, working with depression each week. To find out how I can help in London (the City, East Dulwich, or by phone or Skype), then get in touch.


Or, if you haven’t read the other two sections below, click to read more on:

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