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Vol 23, No 1, Article 3, PDF

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This qualitative study explored service-users views of factors facilitating recovery in two group therapy programs for depression: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (g-CBT, n = 9) and Information and Support (g-IS, n = 7). The study was nested within a controlled trial conducted in a secondary care, public mental health service. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants. A thematic content analysis of interview transcripts using both ‘etic’ and ‘emic’ codes (1) showed that for participants who had engaged in g-CBT, treatment factors viewed as promoting recovery were those central to the CBT theoretical model. Cognitive restructuring, behavioural activation, relapse prevention, and to a lesser extent, socialization into the CBT model, were seen as important for recovery. Information and group support were seen as important for recovery in g-IS. Surprisingly, they were not viewed as important as cognitive restructuring and behaviour activation and change that g-IS participants spontaneously engaged in, despite not receiving skills training in these areas. The therapeutic alliance and emotional and practical group support were identified as recovery-promoting factors common to both therapeutic approaches. Factors outside therapy that were viewed as affecting recovery included internal and external risk and protective factors, as well as alternative therapies. Recovery was viewed as involving improvements in emotion regulation, lifestyle, and physical symptoms. Participants also gave constructive suggestions for improving g-CBT and g-IS.
Keywords: Depression; group cognitive behaviour therapy; information and support-group therapy; change interview; qualitative research

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