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The process and outcome of Transactional Analysis psychotherapy for the treatment of depression : an adjudicated case series

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posted on 11.11.2013, 11:00 by Mark Widdowson
Depression is a common mental health disorder which affects around one in ten people. A range of psychotherapies have demonstrated efficacy for treating depression. Transactional Analysis (TA) is a relatively under-researched therapeutic approach which had hitherto not been tested for effectiveness for depression. This study used systematic case study research which incorporated both quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate the process and outcome of TA psychotherapy for depression. A naturalistic design was used and five cases were examined to explore the application of up to sixteen sessions of TA therapy in community-based routine practice. Four of the cases were analysed using Elliott’s (2001, 2002) Hermeneutic Single-Case Efficacy Design. This involved the recruitment of a number of independent psychotherapy researchers who adjudicated the cases and provided a verdict on the outcome of these cases. Case study method and cross-case analysis techniques were also developed during this investigation. The findings show that TA therapy can be effective for the treatment of depression. A benchmarking strategy suggests that TA is likely to have comparable effectiveness to other therapies. It is proposed that therapy is more effective when the type of therapy and therapist style is matched to client preferences and that pre-therapy preparation/ role induction is beneficial to overall outcome. TA appears to be a coherent and integrative approach to psychotherapy, which can be used flexibly according to client need and preferences. The clients in this series all reported finding the use of TA theory to understand their own process and take charge of their own change process to be helpful. The use of TA concepts and language provides the therapist and client with a framework for a collaborative approach to therapy. The integrative nature of TA and the use of shared language are two distinctive features of the approach that make a useful contribution to the wider psychotherapy literature. Further research is warranted to confirm and develop these findings.



Wheeler, Susan; McLeod, John

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University of Leicester

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