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Cultural adaptations of psychological treatments for depression are mostly based on implementation rather than content
  1. Neil Krishan Aggarwal
  1. Columbia University Medical Center, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York, USA; aggarwa@nyspi.columbia.edu

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What is already known this topic?

The WHO considers psychological interventions to be first-line treatments for mild depression and effective in combination with antidepressants for moderate and severe depression.1 However, interventions are often developed in populations from Europe and the USA. Little is known about how such treatments are adapted for minority populations in Western societies or for populations elsewhere.

What does this paper add?

  • Cultural adaptations of psychological treatments follow the Medical Research Council methodology to develop complex interventions,2 when described.

  • Most adaptations involve replacing technical terms with local expressions, adding culturally acceptable treatment practices, involving family members, understanding patient illness models and simplifying treatments such as homework.

  • Adaptations usually improve implementation rather than revising core theoretical principles. For example, phases and techniques of psychological treatments were not adapted, but technical terms for illness or exercises were replaced with local idioms.

Limitations

  • The authors do not define culture …

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