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Behavioural activation (BA) is an evidence-based treatment for depression that has been primarily delivered in individual out-patient treatment. Prior research supports a positive participant experience in individual therapy; however, less is known about the patient experience in group therapy, which is common in acute psychiatric settings.
The present study examined the patient experience of Brief Behavioral Activation Treatment for Depression (BATD) delivered in group acute psychiatric treatment.
We used thematic analysis to extract themes from feedback surveys administered as part of quality improvement practice at a partial hospital program. Survey questions explored what patients learned, liked, disliked and thought could be improved in the BATD groups. Three individuals independently coded survey responses and collaboratively developed categories and themes.
Themes included several helpful content areas (e.g. value-driven activities, increasing motivation, goal setting, activity scheduling, cognitive behavioural model, self-monitoring) and learning methods (e.g. group format, experiential exercises, worksheets). Patients also identified unhelpful content (e.g. specific focus on depression and listing activities by mood). There was mixed feedback regarding the repetition of material and balance of lecture versus group participation.
Overall, these findings suggest a mostly positive patient experience of group-delivered BATD and support the acceptability of group-delivered BATD as a component of short-term intensive treatment.
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