Using implementation intentions to prevent relapse after remission from psychological treatment for depression: The SMArT intervention

Mike Lucock, Rachel Borthwick, Jade Cupac, Ruth Elliott, Rebecca Howell, Sarah Kendal, Wajid Khan, David Sandford, Bethany Tolley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To provide evidence of the effectiveness of a brief relapse prevention intervention using implementation intentions (Self-Management after Therapy, SMArT), following remission from depression and to identify effective relapse prevention strategies. Method: The SMArT intervention was provided to 107 patients who were recovered after psychological therapy for depression. Relapse events were calculated as reliable and clinically significant increases in PHQ-scores. Sixteen patients receiving the intervention and eight practitioners providing it were interviewed. Framework Analysis identified seven themes which highlighted effective relapse prevention strategies and effective implementation of the SMArT intervention. Results: Relapse rates at the final SMArT session (four months after the end of acute stage therapy) were 11%. Seven themes were identified that supported effective self-management: (1) Relationship with the practitioner—feeling supported; (2) Support networks; (3) Setting goals, implementing plans and routine; (4) Changing views of recovery; (5) The SMArT sessions—mode, content, timing, duration; (6) Suitability for the person; and (7) Suitability for the service. Conclusion: The study provides some support for the effectiveness of the SMArT intervention, although a randomized controlled trial is required; and identifies important relapse prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalPsychotherapy Research
Early online date2 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Aug 2021

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