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Background:The Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) has revised its 2009 guidelines for the management of major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults by updating the evidence and recommendations. The target audiences for these 2016 guidelines are psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. Methods: Using the question-answer format, we conducted a systematic literature search focusing on systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Evidence was graded using CANMAT-defined criteria for level of evidence. Recommendations for lines of treatment were based on the quality of evidence and clinical expert consensus. “Psychological Treatments” is the second of six sections of the 2016 guidelines. Results: Evidence-informed responses were developed for 25 questions under 5 broad categories: 1) patient characteristics relevant to using psychological interventions; 2) therapist and health system characteristics associated with optimizing outcomes; 3) descriptions of major psychotherapies and their efficacy; 4) additional psychological interventions, such as peer interventions and computer- and technology-delivered interventions; and 5) combining and/or sequencing psychological and pharmacological interventions. Conclusions: First-line psychological treatment recommendations for acute MDD include cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), and behavioural activation (BA). Second-line recommendations include computer-based and telephone-delivered psychotherapy. Where feasible, combining psychological treatment (CBT or IPT) with antidepressant treatment is recommended because combined treatment is superior to either treatment alone. First-line psychological treatments for maintenance include CBT and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). Patient preference, in combination with evidence-based treatments and clinician/system capacity, will yield the optimal treatment strategies for improving individual outcomes in MDD.

Objective: To examine whether metacognitive psychological skills, acquired in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), are also present in patients receiving medication treatments for prevention of depressive relapse and whether these skills mediate MBCT's effectiveness. Method: This study, embedded within a randomized efficacy trial of MBCT, was the first to examine changes in mindfulness and decentering during 6–8 months of antidepressant treatment and then during an 18-month maintenance phase in which patients discontinued medication and received MBCT, continued on antidepressants, or were switched to a placebo. In total, 84 patients (mean age = 44 years, 58% female) were randomized to 1 of these 3 prevention conditions. In addition to symptom variables, changes in mindfulness, rumination, and decentering were assessed during the phases of the study. Results: Pharmacological treatment of acute depression was associated with reductions in scores for rumination and increased wider experiences. During the maintenance phase, only patients receiving MBCT showed significant increases in the ability to monitor and observe thoughts and feelings as measured by the Wider Experiences (p < .01) and Decentering (p < .01) subscales of the Experiences Questionnaire and by the Toronto Mindfulness Scale. In addition, changes in Wider Experiences (p < .05) and Curiosity (p < .01) predicted lower Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression scores at 6-month follow-up. Conclusions: An increased capacity for decentering and curiosity may be fostered during MBCT and may underlie its effectiveness. With practice, patients can learn to counter habitual avoidance tendencies and to regulate dysphoric affect in ways that support recovery.