British researchers from the University of York in Road, Durham, UK, performed a meta-analysis of studies testing the efficacy of various behavioral therapies for depression. [Ed. Note: Generally speaking, behavioral therapies use changes in reactivity and behavior as opposed to changes in insight, thoughts and feelings to catalyze improvements.]

The study identified randomized trials of behavioral treatments for depression and compared them to controls or other psychotherapies.  Seventeen randomized controlled trials, encompassing a total of 1109 subjects, were included in this meta-analysis.

A random-effects meta-analysis of symptom-levels, post-treatment, showed that behavioral therapies were superior to controls*, brief psychotherapy, supportive therapy and equal to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

The results in this study indicate behavioral therapy is an effective treatment for depression, with outcomes equal to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the current recommended psychological intervention and preferable to brief psychotherapy and supportive therapy.  Future research is needed to clarify and better sort out these findings.
Citation:  Ekers D, Richards D, Gilbody S. A meta-analysis of randomized trials of behavioural treatment of depression. Psychological Medicine. 2008 May;38 (5): pages 611-23. Epub 2007 Oct 1, [email protected]