Concrete thinking can combat depression

Concreteness training (CNT) targets unhelpful abstract and over-generalised negative thinking. A goal of the training is to teach people how to be more specific when reflecting on problems. 

The study included 121 patients who had been recruited from general practice and were currently experiencing an episode of depression. Participants were randomly allocated to receive either treatment as usual, CNT along with usual treatment, or relaxation therapy along with usual treatment.

Results showed that both concreteness training and relaxation training significantly reduced depression and anxiety, but only concreteness training reduced negative thinking patterns. Among those participants who practised regularly, CNT reduced symptoms of depression more than relaxation training, the authors say. Improvements occurred by two months, and were maintained at six months.

Psychol Med; online 16 Nov