Family therapy and chronic depression



Individuals with chronic depression report significant problems in multiple areas of their family functioning, suggesting the importance of combining family therapy with psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy in the treatment of their depression. We describe a model of family functioning (the McMaster model) and therapy (the Problem-Centered Systems Therapy of the Family) and its application in the treatment of a young woman with chronic depression. The key elements of the family treatment are a comprehensive assessment of the family, a systematic progression through defined treatment stages, an open, collaborative stance with the family, and a focus on the family's responsibility for change. Family therapy can aid the amelioration of depressive symptoms and improve the ability of family members to deal more effectively with the depression as well as a wider range of problems. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol/In Session.