The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and published the result of a randomized controlled trial in the October edition of World Psychiatry which evidenced the efficacy of long term psychoanalytic psychotherapy (LTPP) for NHS patients suffering from chronic depression.

Importantly it was a longitudinal study which started over 10 years ago, and followed participants for two-years post-intervention to look at long-term therapeutic effects. It found nearly half of patients still saw major improvements two years after therapy had ended.

The Tavistock Adult Depression Study found that:

  • 44% of the patients who were given 18 months of weekly psychoanalytic psychotherapy no longer have major depressive disorder when followed up two years after therapy had ended; for those receiving the NHS treatments currently provided the figure was only 10%.
  • Whilst just 14% of those receiving the psychoanalytic psychotherapy had recovered completely, full recovery occurred in only 4% of those receiving the treatments currently employed.
  • In every 6-months period of the trial’s exceptional 3 ½ years of observation of participants, the chances of going into partial remission for those receiving psychoanalytic psychotherapy were 40% higher than for those who were receiving the usual treatments.
  • After two years of follow-up, depressive symptoms had partially remitted in 30% of those receiving the psychoanalytic therapy; in the control condition this figure was again only 4%.
  • Those receiving the psychoanalytic psychotherapy also saw significantly more benefits to their quality of life, general wellbeing and social and personal functioning.
  • Some patients did not benefit. Research is ongoing to identify the reasons underlying the differences in responsiveness.

source: Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust