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Psychodynamic Therapy for Depression Essay

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Updated: Jun 22nd, 2021

The journal article under consideration presents the procedure and findings of the study investigating significant change events in psychodynamic psychotherapy, which attempts to discover the importance of cognition and emotion in this process (McCarthy, Caputi, & Grenyer, 2017). Significant change events are useful for the process of psychotherapy session and have an impact on the therapy outcome. The study is concentrated on both clinical and linguistic features of diverse helpful moments discovered through the use of human ratings and computerized text analysis strategies.

The issue in the focus of the study is psychodynamic therapy, which is one of the forms of talk therapy. It is frequently used for patients with depression to relieve them from emotional or mental stress (Holland, 2016). On the whole, psychodynamic therapy is applied to such conditions as anxiety, diverse disorders (panic or post-traumatic), stress-related physical ailments, etc. Attention to these conditions is of particular importance because anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental problems in the United States with about 40 million people aged 18 and older affected annually, which makes 18.1% of the whole population (Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 2018). Considering the fact that only 36.9% of patients with anxiety disorders receive professional treatment, it is evident that these conditions have a negative impact on the life of people themselves and the individuals surrounding them. Consequently, the issue of psychodynamic therapy, which has a potential to reduce negative effects of anxiety and depression, is important in both individual and social contexts.

Research under consideration investigates clinical and linguistic features of psychodynamic therapy helpful moments. The research questions and hypothesis are clear and relevant. Thus, the study discovers the cognitive and emotional peculiarities of significant events, the characteristics of emotions and cognitions revealed in these events, and attempts to find the manifestations of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors typical of significant change events. The sample for this study includes 20 participants with diagnoses relevant to DSM-IV characteristics of major depressive disorder and a personality disorder (McCarthy et al., 2017). Sample was selected through independent assessment in the process of a clinical interview, which is a reliable method. Significant events for further analysis were identified manually by independent raters.

The Helpful Aspects of Therapy (HAT) form linked to the Helpful Aspects of Experiential Therapy Content Analysis System (HAETCAS) was applied (McCarthy et al., 2017). HAT is aimed at identification of helpful and non-helpful events while HAETCAS is used to code the events revealed by HAT. Linguistic markers for significant events were revealed through Mergenthaler’s Therapeutic Cycles Model (TCM) computerized text analysis. TCM is software for interpretation of the linguistic properties of psychotherapy sessions. Finally, the methods of Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) were applied to distinguish between emotional and cognitive components. LIWC allows comparing transcripts to the existing dictionary and calculating the word count. The selected methods are the strength of the study because they allow identifying data for statistical analysis. One of the possible weaknesses is the small sample involved in research.

The researchers conclude that significant moments of psychotherapeutic movement proved to have a positive impact on patient outcomes. Moreover, both emotional and cognitive aspects proved to be meaningful. Also, the authors focus on practical application of the research findings because they reveal high levels of emotional and cognitive language, as well as alliance strengthening. Linguistic analysis used in the study allowed obtaining important data on psychotherapeutic processes. These data can be helpful for clinicians and improvement of treatment outcomes. The null hypothesis was not identified for this study. Thus, there is no information about its rejection.


Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (2018). Web.

Holland, K. (2016). Web.

McCarthy, K. L., Caputi, P., & Grenyer, B. F. (2017). Significant change events in psychodynamic psychotherapy: Is cognition or emotion more important?. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 90(3), 377-388. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Psychodynamic Therapy for Depression'. 22 June.

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