Conceptualizing Depression in Psychotherapy

Tracy D. Eells, Ph.D. – Principal Investigator

This project examines the role and influence of case formulation in psychotherapeutic treatment of those with depression and other mood and personality conditions. Studies include a comparison of theoretical orientation (cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic) and level of expertise (novice, experienced, expert) on the quality of case formulations and treatment planning. Others examine the process of formulation as it unfolds in the therapist’s mind. We have also examined the influence of therapy orientation and level of expertise on problem identification in depressed patients and on therapists’ predictions about treatment length, problem etiology, and patients’ ability to change. Future work will compare formulation-based treatment of depression with protocol-based treatment. This work has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health.