Anti-depressants and the therapeutic relationship: a psychotherapeutic exploration

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Currie, Louise
Issue Date
BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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In recent times much media attention has been given to the rising rates of depression and the subsequent increase of anti-depressant medications. Given the current statistics, clients presenting for therapy are often taking prescribed medication for depression. This study seeks to explore the attitudes and opinions of the psychotherapist in Ireland when working with clients who are taking antidepressants. A qualitative design was adopted to research this topic. The sample of participants was selected from the Irish Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (IACP) website. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with three female and three male psychotherapists. They were all accredited and had experience of working with clients who are taking prescribed anti-depressant medication. Results from the transcripts were analysed using qualitative thematic analysis. Three main themes emerged from this analysis: 1) Conflicted therapists 2) Therapist’s knowledge of anti-depressant medication and 3) Collaboration with the medical model. This study recommends further research in the areas of education and communication with the medical model. A further topic for exploration would be for large scale, quantitative research to be carried out in to the many factors which are at play when psychotherapy and psychotropic medications are combined through the course of treatment.