06 November 2018
In recent years, researchers have sought to look under the hood to understand the neural correlates of the changes brought about by psychotherapy.
Not only can such understanding help us hone in on the precise processes that are being acted upon in therapy, thus helping us focus on these gains, they could also show where pharmacological interventions might be complementary, and where they could directly obstruct the therapeutic work.
Now a systematic review and meta-analysis in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging has outlined all we know so far about how therapy changes the depressed brain, and it suggests key changes occur in emotional processing areas.
An international team, led by Anjali Sankar at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience in London, conducted a search of the brain imaging literature, looking specifically for studies that uncovered the brain changes associated with recovery from depression following various forms of psychotherapy, including CBT and psychodynamic psychotherapy.