New Study Reveals CBASP as Promising Treatment for Chronic Depression

A group of German researchers recently conducted a study to determine the effectiveness of an inpatient cognitive behavioral analysis system of psychotherapy (CBASP) for the treatment of chronic depression in people with comorbidity. They aimed to see if CBASP would be a viable option and produce both short term and long term results. CBASP was originally created for the treatment of depression on an outpatient basis. It combines several different types of therapy, including behavioral, psychodynamic theories, and cognitive-emotional, to combat the symptoms of depression. Because many people who suffer from depression also experience suicidal ideation and have a history of being resistant to other therapies, many must receive their care on an inpatient basis.

The researchers took the CBASP and molded it to conform to the inpatient setting required by the clients and monitored the treatment closely to gauge the short and long-term outcomes. This adapted CBASP integrated role playing and situation analysis, and the clinicians received intensive training through weekly workshops. Music therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy were also included in the CBASP, as well as pharmacotherapy according to the standard guidelines for the treatment of depression. The researchers developed a support group to help the clients continue their recovery and to prevent relapse after they completed their inpatient treatment.

The study involved ten clients who had been diagnosed with chronic depression. Each was evaluated six months after treatment. The CBASP was delivered easily and caused no disruption to the daily routine of the clinical setting at the time. The initial findings of this pilot study showed that four of the ten clients went into remission after receiving the CBASP. The six who did not respond were also diagnosed with personality disorders. Although these results are limited, the researchers are optimistic that even though these participants had chronic depression, six remained in remission six months after receiving the treatment and only one patient relapsed.

© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • margie


    July 13th, 2011 at 4:27 AM

    So hopeful. Things like this that could actually help do not come along for many of us but once in a lifetime. I have suffered from depression off and on for many years and have quite literally tried everything to keep from relapsing time and again. Nothing has ever permanently done the trick.

  • maria


    July 13th, 2011 at 6:06 AM

    as much as I like the fact that therapy is taking precedence and more and more people are looking at therapy as a treatment option now,I’m a little confused when they ‘combine’ different therapy techniques to treat patients.I mean there could be complications or maybe a conflict between two different techniques,right?I don’t know but would like it if an expert addresses my confusion.

  • Alexander Flynn

    Alexander Flynn

    July 13th, 2011 at 11:59 PM

    Whatever happened to fighting your inner demons to cure depression? Did the powers-that-be suddenly decide we can’t do that and/or it actually doesn’t work? If they did it’s throwing out everything I’ve known about treating my depression. I think they come up with new methods just to mess with our heads.

  • K.L. Hoffman

    K.L. Hoffman

    July 14th, 2011 at 1:41 AM

    @Alexander Flynn: That’s not it at all. What it is is we simply cannot all be cured of depression in a singular way. Chronic depression is different in that aspect: there’s no cookie cutter solution.

    You have to remember mental disorders can affect each person differently and because of that we each need to try different treatment methods until we find one that’s effective.

    New ideas for treating depression are a good thing!

  • TIM


    July 14th, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    If they were already offering this treatment method to outpatients then why didnt they implement the same for inpatients up until now?!If a technique is working well,which I’m sure it was,then expanding it to more people is a no-brainer…!

  • Stewart Olsen

    Stewart Olsen

    July 14th, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    @maria-I’m sure the therapists treating them know more about mental health and the risks, if any, of combining treatments than you or I ever will. Nonetheless that doesn’t stop me from applying common sense here.

    You honestly think they wouldn’t take any potential risk factors into consideration before introducing such a treatment as an option to their patients? Please. It’s their job to know and assess that.

  • RD


    July 15th, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    Cases of depression with an inpatient?Sounds like an at-risk person.It’s good to see they have devised techniques for the same.It always makes me happy to see when there’s some new treatment to stop people from their suffering.

  • keisha hood

    keisha hood

    July 15th, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    @margie: When you think you’ve tried everything and nothing works, there’s always something you’ve left out of the equation imho. It can be buried so deep that you don’t even see it as being problematic. Denial is very powerful. You may just not have found the right therapist for you yet. Keep trying and good luck.

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