Randomized controlled trial of emotionally focused couple therapy compared to treatment as usual for depression
Outcomes and mechanisms of change
Wittenborn, A. K., Liu, T., Ridenour, T. A., Lachmar, E. M., Mitchell, E. A., & Seedall, R. B. (2019). Randomized controlled trial of emotionally focused couple therapy compared to treatment as usual for depression: Outcomes and mechanisms of change. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 45(3), 395-409. https://doi.org/10.1111/jmft.12350
This randomized controlled trial examined the effectiveness of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for depression and relationship satisfaction versus usual care (i.e., couple therapy other than EFT), and explored mechanisms of change. Mixed model trajectory analyses of 16 couples indicated EFT was associated with greater improvement in relationship satisfaction among men and women. Men receiving EFT reported greater improvements in depressive symptoms compared to usual care. Unified structural equation modeling revealed changes in relationship satisfaction preceded changes in depressive symptoms in one cluster of partners, while changes in depression preceded changes in relationship satisfaction in a second cluster. Two other clusters reported simultaneous changes in satisfaction and depression. This study provides encouraging results on the effectiveness of EFT for depression, and insight into mechanisms of change.