Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Stacey Wood

Reader 2

Theodore Bartholomew

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.


Existing research has supported the influence of patients’ expectations on symptom reduction in both antidepressant trials and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for individuals suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD). Intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy (ISTDP) is effective in treating individuals with MDD, and its structured sessions, similar to the replicable format of CBT, offer a valid psychodynamic therapy that can be compared to past CBT research. This study will attempt to examine whether patients’ expectations will affect equal or greater symptom reduction when being treated with ISTDP than if treated with CBT. It will also examine whether patients’ expectations affect the strength of the therapeutic alliance between clinician and patient, and whether therapeutic alliance acts as a moderator for the relationship between expectations and symptom reduction. Four hundred and fifty participants previously diagnosed with major depressive disorder will be assigned to an ISTDP group or CBT group. Results will indicate that participants undergoing ISTDP will experience significant symptom reduction of equal or greater value compared to participants undergoing CBT. Results will also show that the ISTDP group will experience greater long-term symptom reduction than the CBT group. Therapeutic alliance will act as a moderator, further promoting expectations’ efficacy on symptom reduction.