Psychological Therapists’ perceptions of adolescent depression and its treatment: a mixed methods online survey

Bethany Cliffe, Amelia Peck, Jawairya Shafique, Emily Hards, Maria Loades

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Challenges to implementating interventions for adolescent depression exist. Exploring the perceptions of key stakeholders in the treatment of adolescent depression is essential for improving implementation . This study aimed to explore psychological therapists' perceptions of, and experiences treating, adolescent depression to identify future avenues for exploration.

Method: Data were collected opportunistically via a survey integrated within an e-learning package about adolescent depression.

Results: Participants believed that adolescent depression was characterised by adolescents' lack of understanding, isolation, and a lack of hope and knowledge. Participants overcame engagement barriers by building trust. Following the e-learning, participants expressed increased understanding of the risk factors associated with adolescent depression and of assessment using different measures. Several key areas for future research to explore were identified and discussed, including (1) whether clinicians of different modalities or at different career stages have difference perceptions, (2) how to meaningfully engage adolescents in treatment and (3) how to train clinicians on different modalities so patients have a choice over their treatment.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates the value of knowledge gained from understanding psychological therapists' perceptions and illustrates how this can contribute to the improved treatment of adolescent depression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)580-594
JournalClinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Issue number2
Early online date29 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr Maria Loades (Development and Skills Enhancement Award, 302367) is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) for this research project. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR, NHS or the UK Department of Health and Social Care. We also wish to thank Dr Sam Waldron and Georgia Herring who provided input into designing the e-learning materials.


  • Depression
  • adolescent
  • cognitive behavioural therapy
  • evidence-based therapy
  • therapist perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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