Future-Directed Therapy a New Option to Treat Depression

Future-oriented group therapy reduces depression, anxiety and improves quality of life

TUESDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- Future-directed therapy (FDT), a novel form of therapy for major depressive disorder (MDD) that teaches skills to help individuals focus on a more positive future, may be an effective treatment option for patients with depression, according to a study published online March 16 in CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics.

Jennice S. Vilhauer, Ph.D., of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues investigated the impact of FDT on 16 patients with depression, compared with 17 patients who underwent traditional, cognitive-based group psychotherapy. The FDT group met for 90-minute sessions, twice a week for 10 weeks. The study team measured the severity of depression and anxiety symptoms, and quality of life before and after treatment, using the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptoms, the Beck Anxiety Inventory, and the Quality-of-Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire short form.

The researchers found that the patients who participated in the FDT experienced significant improvements in their depression, anxiety, and quality of life. They were also highly satisfied with the therapy. The FDT patients exhibited greater improvements in depressive symptoms compared to the cognitive-based therapy group (P = 0.049).

"This is the first study that demonstrates that an intervention intended to increase positive expectations about the future can reduce symptoms of MDD in a clinical population without disputing negative thought process," the authors write. "One of the distinctive findings of this study is the significant improvement of quality of life before and after treatment in the FDT condition."

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