Feasibility of a brief online video Psychodynamic Interpersonal Therapy (PIT) for people experiencing low mood

  • Halina Bryan

Student thesis: Doctor of Clinical Psychology


Objectives: Research demonstrates Psychodynamic Therapy is an efficacious treatment for a variety of mental health problems. However, many psychodynamic theorists propose, it is not possible to deliver dynamic therapies remotely. Modest research has been conducted examining self-help Internet Psychodynamic Therapy. However, there is a gap in the literature related to the evaluation of delivering an internet videoconferencing psychodynamic therapy, in the treatment of psychological conditions. Depression is a highly prevalent and often chronic condition, which has adverse impacts on people’s psychological and physical wellbeing, and socio-economic status. Research demonstrates that interpersonal and emotional difficulties are central factors related to the occurrence and maintenance of depressive symptoms. In the United Kingdom the current provision of therapeutic treatments for depression has organisational and clinical limitations. Due to the limits of service provision, organisational costs and challenges in service-user accessibility, there is a growing demand to deliver remote psychological therapies for depression. The aim of this study is to collect preliminary evidence and examine if it is feasible and safe to deliver a brief online video conferencing Psychodynamic Interpersonal Therapy (PIT) to people experiencing depression. Method: A case series design was used to evaluate brief (four session) PIT delivered via video-conferencing in seven participants with symptoms of depression, from a university student and staff population. An A – B (no treatment baseline phase followed by treatment phase) direct replication within an across participants design was utilised. Feasibility of the treatment was assessed using measures of therapy attendance, attrition rates and questionnaires examining the occurrence and impact of technical issues on treatment sessions. Measures of participants’ psychological wellbeing were analysed via descriptive statistics, reliable change and visual inspection. Patient safety was assessed using weekly self-report measures of side-effects and adverse reactions during treatment. Results: Of the seven participants who took part in the study, six (85.71%) completed treatment. Treatment attendance was high (96.15%). No adverse reactions or unanticipated side effects were reported. The majority of participants reported the experience of technical issues during online treatment. In most cases these were relatively modest, but when a negative impact was experienced, it was disruptive to the process of therapy. Considerable reliable improvements in psychological wellbeing were recorded by more than half the participants, although smaller impacts on depressive symptoms were observed. Discussion: These preliminary findings suggest that online PIT may be a feasible and safe treatment for people experiencing depression, although if technical issues occur, they sometimes can have an adverse impact on therapy. Further evaluation with a larger sample size and a randomised design is warranted.
Date of Award1 Aug 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorRichard Brown (Supervisor) & Filippo Varese (Supervisor)

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