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Can J Psychiatry. 2001 Jun;46 Suppl 1:29S-37S.

Clinical guidelines for the treatment of depressive disorders. III. Psychotherapy.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario.



The Canadian Psychiatric Association and the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments partnered to produce clinical guidelines for psychiatrists for the treatment of depressive disorders.


A standard guidelines development process was followed. Relevant literature was identified using a computerized Medline search supplemented by review of bibliographies. Operational criteria were used to rate the quality of scientific evidence, and the line of treatment recommendations included consensus clinical opinion. This section on "Psychotherapy" is 1 of 7 articles drafted and reviewed by clinicians. Revised drafts underwent national and international expert peer review.


Recommendations are given for the use of psychotherapy in the treatment of depressive disorders. Considerable evidence shows that specific, short-term psychotherapies including cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT) are effective acute-phase treatments. There is also evidence that group and marital/couples formats of psychotherapy are effective. There is only limited evidence that psychotherapy is effective for maintenance treatment of depressive disorders.


Psychotherapy is effective in the treatment of depressive disorders. Despite the evidence for effectiveness of specific psychotherapies, there is still limited access to these treatments in the community.

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