Approaches for Treating Depression

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and one of the most effective approaches for treating depression. However, there are other types of therapies that use similar techniques to achieve results. It should be noted that, more often than not, similar therapies have a more limited theoretical and empirical basis in comparison with DBT (Bai et al., 2020; Seiffge-Krenke, 2020). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) “encourages participants to change their relationships with their thoughts and physical sensations through mechanisms of acceptance, mindfulness, and value-based action” (Bai et al., 2020, p. 729). Although the two therapies are based on different theories, they share a set of similar practices. The main similarity between DBT and ACT lies in the application of mindfulness practices, which are aimed at understanding emotional distress and mastering coping skills with them. At the same time, the two therapies differ in focus, as DBT is more about developing skills and techniques, while the ACT is more about behavioral analysis.

There are other therapies that rely on the adoption and development of coping techniques and skills. Psychodynamic Therapy (PDT) “works with insight into conflicts and focuses on problems and stress in close relationships” (Seiffge-Krenke, 2020, p. 567). As with DBT, the main goal of this therapy is to achieve the patient’s awareness of emotional distress, as well as to develop the ability to effectively perceive negative feelings. The main difference between this therapy and DBT is that PDT most often focuses on the memories of their childhood or the patient’s past rather than reflecting on everyday events.

Thus, acceptance of negative emotions and the development of coping skills, which are also emphasized in other therapies, are most important for the effectiveness of DBT in dealing with depression. These aspects are key as they allow the patient to identify and understand the problem in the first place. Additionally, during therapy, the patient learns to identify and confront patterns of behavior associated with negative emotions.


Bai, Z., Luo, S., Zhang, L., Wu, S., & Chi, I. (2020). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to reduce depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 260, 728-737. Web.

Seiffge-Krenke, I. (2020). Depressive and anxious adolescents: Do they profit from Psychodynamic therapy? Psychology, 11(4), 563-571. Web.

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