Pluralistic therapy for depression: acceptability, outcomes and helpful aspects in a multi-site study

Mick Cooper, Ciara Wild, Biljana van Rijn, Tony Ward, John McLeod, Simon Cassar, Pavlina Antoniou, Christina Michael, Maria Michalitsi, Shilpa Sreenath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the outcomes, acceptability and helpful aspects of a pluralistic therapeutic intervention for depression.

Design: The study adopted a multisite, non-randomised, pre-/post-intervention design.

Methods: Participants experiencing moderate or more severe levels of depression (as assessed by a score of 10 or greater on the Patient Health Questionnaire depression scale, PHQ-9) were offered up to 24 weeks of pluralistic therapy for depression. This is a collaborative integrative practice oriented around shared decision making on the goals and methods of therapy. Of the 42 participants assessed, 39 (92.9 per cent) completed two or more sessions. Participants were predominantly female (N = 28, 71.8 per cent) and white (N = 30, 76.9 per cent), with a mean age of 30.9. The principal outcome indicator was improvement and recovery on the PHQ9 and Generalised Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7) scale.

Results: Of the completer sample, 71.8 per cent of clients (N = 28) showed reliable improvement and 43.6 per cent (N = 17) showed reliable recovery. Effect sizes (Cohen's d) from baseline to endpoint were 1.83 for the PHQ9 and 1.16 for the GAD-7. On average, the clients found the PJD sessions helpful and valued the flexibility and collaborative approach of their therapists. Clients felt that change had been brought about by their own active engagement in therapy and through the therapists relational qualities, as well as their use of techniques.

Conclusions: Initial indications suggest that pluralistic therapy for depression has acceptable outcomes, retention rates, and user satisfaction. Refinement and further testing of the approach is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-20
Number of pages15
JournalCounselling Psychology Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


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