The Application of Cognitive Therapy to Postpartum Depression

  • Mark Olioff
Part of the Applied Clinical Psychology book series (NSSB)


The identification of factors which contribute to postpartum depression has been the focus of a growing research literature (e. g., Cutrona & Troutman, 1986; O’ Hara, 1986). In contrast, relatively little attention has been paid to issues involved in psychotherapy for postpartum depression. In the present chapter, a cognitive psychotherapy approach to working with postpartum depressed mothers is outlined. Recent innovations in the theory and practice of cognitive therapy (e. g., Guidano & Liotti, 1983, 1988; Safran, Vallis, Segal, & Shaw, 1986) allow for the development of a preliminary treatment model for postpartum depression. This model does not ignore the complexity of the phenomenon, allows for flexibility in intervention, and avoids the confusion which may arise from nontheoretically based eclecticism. In addition, the model proposed in this chapter can be adapted to prepartum interventions aimed at preventing the onset of postpartum depression. The present chapter begins with a discussion of the nature of postpartum depression and its clinical significance. This is followed by an explication of cognitive strategies for assessing risk, and for treatment/prevention of this important problem.


Cognitive Content Life Event Stressor Cognitive Therapy Cognitive Schema Postpartum Depression 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Olioff
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe Mississauga HospitalMississaugaCanada

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