A More Cost-Effective Tx for Depression?

We here at Sound are big fans of accessibility. One of the many things that attracted us to Salvador Minuchin’s work was his emphasis on community-based access to care. As director of the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic in the 60s and 70, Minuchin spearheaded “lay therapists,” community members with no formal degree who were trained to do family therapy. In addition to the benefits families received from working with persons who were from their same socio-cultural context, the treatment was more affordable and accessible for both the families and the clinic.

So our interest was piqued when we came across this Lancet article publishing the findings comparing behavioral activation treatment and cognitive behavioral treatment for depression for adults. Sure, it is interesting that behavioral activation, a treatment that focuses on helping people with depression to change the way they act (rather than change the way they think), did just as well regarding effectiveness than CBT. What’s really interesting is that the behavioral activation treatment cost twenty percent less.


Why, you may ask? Well, like the “lay therapists” at Minuchin’s PCGC, the behavioral activation treatment was provided by lay professionals. The CBT, on the other hand, was provided by licensed professionals.

The authors of the study, including David Richards of the University of Exeter in England, contend that these findings show that behavioral activation could increase the availability of effective therapy, as well as reduce the need for costly professional training.

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