The Potential Role of Learning Capacity in Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Depression: A Systematic Review of the Evidence and Future Directions for Improving Therapeutic Learning
Bruijniks, Sanne J. E.
DeRubeis, Robert J.
Hollon, Steven D.
Huibers, Marcus J. H.
Insight into how cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) works is urgently needed to improve depressive outcome. First, we discuss the role of learning in CBT for depression by reviewing evidence for learning processes involved in the development and maintenance of depression. Second, we investigate the role of learning capacity as a moderator by reviewing empirical evidence for the relation between (a) CBT procedures and learning processes, (b) learning processes and CBT treatment processes, and (c) learning processes and CBT outcome. We propose that learning capacity moderates the relation between CBT procedures and change in CBT treatment processes and explains why therapeutic procedures lead to process change and long-term success in some but not all patients. Third, we identify procedures that lead to successful therapeutic learning and describe how experimental studies help to better explain causal mechanisms of change and the role of learning capacity in CBT for depression.