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Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy

  1. James P. McCullough Jr.

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0192

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

McCullough, J. P. 2010. Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Virginia Commonwealth University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


The Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy (CBASP; Keller, McCullough, Klein, Arnow, Dunner, Gelenberg et al., 2000; McCullough, 1984, 2000, 2006) is a psychological treatment program developed specifically for chronically depressed patients (Klein, in press; McCullough, Klein, Borian, Howland, Riso, Keller, et al., 2003). In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR; American Psychiatric Association, 2000), chronic depression is a unipolar affective disorder lasting a minimum of two years; without adequate treatment, and the patient more often than not faces a lifetime of psychosocial disability. Early (prior to age 21) and late-onset are the diagnostic descriptors indicating when the disorder began. The clinical course among chronically depressed patients includes several types of profiles. Two of the more common ones are (1) an early-onset of dysthymia beginning at 12–13 years of age followed by a continuing course that includes one or more episodes of major depression—a clinical profile labeled “double depression”; and (2) a late-onset course exacerbated at age 25–26 with a major depressive episode that almost never fully remits. Approximately 23% of late-onset adults who have their first episode do not recover, and the course becomes chronic. Without adequate regimes of medication and psychotherapy, prognosis for recovery for both types is poor, and even with treatment, the ever-present danger of relapse and recurrence remains a serious threat throughout the lifespan.


  • chronic depression;
  • psychotherapy;
  • CBASP;
  • psychopathology;
  • disciplined personal involvement