Group psychotherapy and people with dementia.

Aging & mental health

PubMedID: 14578007

Cheston R, Jones K, Gilliard J. Group psychotherapy and people with dementia. Aging Ment Health. 2003;7(6):452-61.
Psychotherapy and counselling approaches are being used increasingly with people with dementia, but there has been little structured research into the effectiveness of such work. This research reports findings from the evaluation of six, ten-week long psychotherapy groups for people with dementia in the south of England. Measures of depression and anxiety were taken independently of the clinical work at four time points: six weeks before the group began, at the start of the group, at the end of the group and at follow-up after a gap of ten-weeks. Forty-two participants entered the project at different points, of whom 19 completed the baseline, intervention and follow-up phases of the project. Analysis of the data for depression and anxiety levels using a repeated measures ANOVA showed a statistically significant treatment effect for Cornell depression scores which was maintained at follow-up and a similar reduction in anxiety as measured by the rating for anxiety in dementia (RAID) which was borderline for significance. Although not all people with dementia would be suitable for group psychotherapy, nevertheless this research provides some of the first clear evidence that group psychotherapy may have a role to play in reducing levels of depression and anxiety of people with mild and moderate levels of dementia.