Psychoanalysis Unit


Improving Mood with Psychoanalytic and Cognitive Therapies - My Experience (IMPACT-ME)

PI's: Dr Nick Midgley, Professor Mary Target, Sally Parkinson*, Joshua Holmes, Emily Stapley

Contact: sally.parkinson@annafreud.org

The IMPACT study is a large clinical trial of psychological treatment for adolescent depression. IMPACT-My Experience (IMPACT-ME) is drawing on this unique opportunity to explore the experience of young people and families taking part in the trial.IMPACT-ME is a qualitative, longitudinal study following up a sub-sample of families involved in IMPACT. IMPACT-ME involves qualitative interviews with young people and parents at three time points: before treatment begins, at the end of treatment and at one-year follow-up. At the end of therapy, the therapists are also interviewed.

IMPACT-ME aims to explore the process of overcoming severe depression as experienced by adolescents and their families receiving psychological therapies. We are including the perspectives of adolescents, families and therapists in order to gain a better understanding of the process of overcoming depression and what factors help or hinder recovery.



A total of 138 families across North London, the North West and East Anglia have participated in IMPACT-ME at the pre-treatment phase. The families in North London will also take part in the follow-up interviews, which we are currently conducting. The data will be analysed using Framework Analysis, which is a methodical and rigorous approach to qualitative analysis.

By developing a model for understanding the young person's journey out of depression and the role of the family and mental health services, we can understand how best to support the needs of young people. Including the perspectives of young people, families and therapists will help us to understand treatments needed for different people, and to modify treatment according to the needs of the client. We can also gain an insight into the experience of clients who are dissatisfied with therapy, have dropped out or have not achieved a good outcome.


Carlberg, G., Thoren, A., Billstrom, S., & Odhammer, F. (2009). Children's expectations and experiences of psychodynamic child psychotherapy. Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 35(2), 175-93.

McCann, T.V., Lubman, D.I, & Clark, E. (2012). The experience of young people with depression: a qualitative study. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 19, 334-340.

Von Below, C., Werbart, A., & Rehnberg, S. (2009). Experiences of overcoming depression in young adults in psychoanalytic psychotherapy.  European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling, 12(2), 129-147.