Evidence-Based Psychotherapy for Depression

The evidence for “evidence-based therapy” may not be as solid as you’d think.

Perhaps you have a friend with depression. You ask them, “How are you feeling today?” They reply, “A little bit better.” Or, “I’m feeling even more hopeless this morning.”

Or perhaps, although unlikely, you ask them how depressed they are feeling on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is pretty positive and 5 is the pits. And, if they are feeling a little bit better, they might say 2 (because yesterday they said they were a 3); or if they are feeling even more hopeless this morning, they might well say 5.

What’s the difference between these two questions and answers? Well, the first is clearly subjective but the second – as psychotherapist Farhad Dalal observes wryly, in his book, CBT – the Cognitive Behavioural Tsunami ¹, ‘If you ask, “How depressed are you on a scale of 1 to 5?”, then that is scientific, because the answer is a number’.

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