Neural Correlates of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy for Depression

The purpose of this study is to see if psychodynamic psychotherapy for depression affects how the brain works. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a type of treatment that may be as helpful as medications in treating depression. It focuses on thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and explores better ways of coping with feelings, expressing needs, and interacting with others.

This study involves 16 weekly, 45-minute, individual sessions of psychodynamic psychotherapy at Massachusetts General Hospital. You will meet with the same psychotherapist for these sessions. These sessions will be videotaped. We will bill the cost of the psychotherapy treatment and your routine medical care to you or to your health insurance company in the usual way. If your insurance company charges you a deductible or co-payment for psychotherapy sessions, you will be responsible for paying these charges.

This study is for people who are already taking an antidepressant medication. All participants will continue to take their regular antidepressant medication throughout the course of the study.

Additionally, at five times throughout the study, you will come to the Depression Clinical and Research Program to do a series of tasks. You may come to these visits immediately after your psychotherapy sessions if it is convenient for you. We will also ask you to come in for a follow-up visit 3 months after the end of your psychotherapy sessions. Each of these visits will last about 1.5 hours. The total amount you will receive for completing these visits is $155.

Finally, this study includes a PET portion. PET (Positron Emission Tomography) uses a radioactive material, called a tracer, to make pictures of your brain. If you choose to participate, we would plan to do 2 PET scans, 1 before and 1 after the 16-weeks of psychotherapy. Participants will receive $150 per scan.

If you have to drive to come to MGH, we can provide you with parking vouchers for the Parkman or Fruit Street garage for both the Screening Visit and on the day of your Follow-Up visit.

If interested or want more information, please contact Kate at 617-643-7690.

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