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Depression and mentalizing: a psychodynamic therapy process study

Halstensen, K; Gjestad, R; Luyten, P; Wampold, B; Granqvist, P; Stålsett, G; Johnson, SU; (2021) Depression and mentalizing: a psychodynamic therapy process study. Journal of Counseling Psychology (In press).

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Abstract

The present study aimed to explore the relationship between changes in depressive symptoms and the capacity to mentalize over the course of a 3-month inpatient psychodynamic therapy in a sample of 56 patients with depression. Depressive symptoms and mentalizing were assessed weekly during treatment and at 1-year follow-up with the Beck Depression Inventory and the Reflective Functioning Questionnaire. Data were analyzed using latent growth curve modeling with structured residuals. In the total sample, depressive symptoms improved on average from baseline to the end of treatment, while mentalizing skills did not. However, individual variations were observed in mentalizing skills, with some patients improving while others did not. Within-patient residual changes in mentalizing skills did not predict residual changes in depressive symptoms. Accordingly, the results did not support mentalizing as a mechanism of change at this level. Nonetheless, between-patient effects were found, showing that patients with higher levels of mentalizing at baseline and patients whose mentalizing skills improved over the course of therapy also had greater reductions in depressive symptoms. We suggest that the presence of relatively higher mentalizing skills might be a factor contributing to moderately depressed individuals’ ability to benefit from treatment, while relatively poor or absent mentalizing capacity might be part of the dynamics underlying treatment resistance in individuals with severe depression.

Type: Article
Title: Depression and mentalizing: a psychodynamic therapy process study
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Depression, psychodynamic therapy, mentalizing, reflective functioning, process-outcome
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10114831
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