Depression Inside Out: psychoanalytic therapies as mental health provisions for development


March 9, 2018 @ 2:00 pm – March 10, 2018 @ 4:00 pm

A joint Tavistock Clinic and UCL Psychoanalysis Unit Conference


Recent UK RCT research programmes offer good quality RCT evidence for the positive effect of psychoanalytic therapies provided at various points in the life-cycle to NHS patients suffering from depression.

They include the Tavistock Adult Depression Study’s [i] evaluation of 60 session therapies for adults with chronic treatment-resistant depressions and the Impact Study’s [ii] comparative evaluation of 28 session psychoanalytic therapies for adolescents with major depressive disorder. And in the EU, the German multi-centre LAC Study[iii] has investigated the benefit of 80 sessions of psychoanalytic therapy with chronically depressed adults. Much has been learned in addition by these Studies’ use of qualitative research and by their clinicians’ use of the psychoanalytic research method.

[i] Fonagy & Rost et al (2015) Pragmatic randomized controlled trial of long-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy for treatment-resistant depression: the Tavistock Adult Depression Study (TADS) World Psychiatry 2015; 14:312–321

[ii] Goodyer & Reynolds et al (2017) Cognitive behavioural therapy and short-term psychoanalytical psychotherapy versus a brief psychosocial intervention in adolescents with unipolar major depressive disorder (IMPACT): a multicentre, pragmatic, observer-blind, randomised controlled superiority trial: Lancet Psychiatry; 4: 109–19

[iii] Beutel, M.E., Leuzinger-Bohleber, M., Rüger, B., Bahrke, U. Negele, A., Haselbacher, A., Fiedler, G., Keller, W., Hautzinger, M. (2012): Psychoanalytic and cognitive-behavior therapy of chronic depression: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials 2012, 13:117: PROTOCOL Open

This joint Tavistock/UCL Psychoanalysis Unit Conference will offer a unique combination of in-depth clinical and research presentations by some of the workers principally involved in these studies, plus consideration of the role of briefer psychodynamic approaches, reviews of other key depression research, and discussions of topics such as suicide.


The morning session of this conference will consist of keynote presentations by principal researchers providing expert overviews of the research findings now available and clinicians describing what the psychoanalytic treatments of depression involved.

The programme in the afternoon will have two sessions, each of four parallel papers, given by the Studies’ researchers and psychoanalytic clinicians as well as other key colleagues. Their topics will be:

  • Continuities and discontinuities operating in depression across the life-cycle
  • The Varieties of Depression and what underpins them
  • Factors that determine treatment responsiveness or treatment resistance, and the stability of response.
  • Is a distinctive type of change associated with psychoanalytic treatments?
  • The psychoanalytic therapies – including clinical management issues such as suicide risk
  • The potential of psychoanalytic understanding and therapies for In-Patient psychiatric settings
  • Applying the psychoanalytic understanding of realism, mortality and loss across the life-cycle: the case of Hospice work
  • Depression in Primary Care

This conference aims to be a working event and there will be time for those attending to contribute. The closing plenary panel will formulate a view of the potential of psychoanalytic therapies to add to what is currently on offer for the treatment of depressive and allied disorders and to have a wider positive role in the mental health services of the future.

On the Friday before the Conference day itself, clinical workshops & research masterclasses will be available.  Details will be posted here in due course.

Speakers will include: 

Peter Fonagy

Caroline Garland

Francesca Hume

Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber

Felicitas Rost

Margaret Rustin

Kate Stratton

Mary Target

David Taylor

with others to be confirmed

The conference will run on Saturday 10 March 2018, with clinical and research workshops being held on the afternoon of Friday 9 March 2018.

A full programme, further information and fees will be published here in due course. Please contact  if you have any queries