Beneficial effects of training in self-distancing and perspective broadening for people with a history of recurrent depression.

10 Apr 2018

Cognitive training designed to recalibrate maladaptive aspects of cognitive-affective processing associated with the presence of emotional disorder can deliver clinical benefits. This study examined the ability of an integrated training in self-distancing and perspective broadening (SD-PB) with respect to distressing experiences to deliver such benefits in individuals with a history of recurrent depression (≥3 prior episodes), currently in remission. Relative to an overcoming avoidance (OA) control condition, SD-PB: a) reduced distress to upsetting memories and to newly encountered events, both during training when explicitly instructed to apply SD-PB techniques, and after-training in the absence of explicit instructions; b) enhanced capacity to self-distance from and broaden perspectives on participants' experiences; c) reduced residual symptoms of depression. These data provide initial support for SD-PB as a low-intensity cognitive training providing a spectrum of cognitive and affective benefits for those with recurrent depression who are at elevated risk of future episodes.