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Psychiatry. 1994 May;57(2):115-32.

Short-term psychotherapy of depressive disorders: current status and future directions.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.


Depressive disorders can affect all aspects of a person's functioning and are often associated with significant psychosocial impairment. Such psychosocial problems promote studies of the efficacy of short-term psychotherapy for depressive disorders. This report summarizes the literature on acute-phase, short-term psychotherapy for adult outpatients with major depressive disorder and is an updated component of a larger review commissioned by the United States Public Health Services Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR review on "Short-term Psychotherapy for Depression," Jarrett and Maguire [1991]; Jarrett and Down [in press] during the preparation of the Clinical Practice Guidelines in primary care (Depression Guideline Panel 1993). The short-term psychotherapies reviewed here and studied most often include behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and brief dynamic psychotherapy, which all aim to reduce depressive symptoms. We comment on the state of the literature and raise some of the questions which await data.

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