CBT for unipolar depression has been studied in over 75 clinical trials since 1977 and is the most widely studied form of psychotherapy for depression. 16 Meta-analytic reviews suggest that CBT is a highly effective treatment for depression found that both individual and group CBT were effective for depression, even in the presence of high levels of comorbidity.
There is mounting evidence that CBT has a relapse prevention effect not found in other psychotherapies or pharmacotherapy. For example, Hollon et al. compared patients who received CBT and were discontinued to patients who were discontinued from Paroxetine. Relapse rates were 30.8% vs. 76.2%, respectively. They also found that prior CBT during the acute phase of MDD was just as good as continuation medication for relapse prevention. Bockting et al. found that augmenting pharmacotherapy with group CBT resulted in a significant protective effect, which intensified with the number of previous depressive episodes experienced. For patients with 5 or more previous episodes in their sample, CBT reduced relapse/recurrence from 72% to 46%.
Behavioral Activation (BA), a component of the Coping With Depression Group, involves helping patients to identity behaviors that reinforce depression, such as avoidance or withdrawal. There is strong evidence that BA is particularly effective for severe depression. In a recent study Dimidjian et al. found that among more severely depressed patients, BA was comparable to antidepressant medication.