Does an Integrative Neuro-psychotherapy Program Foster the Adjustment in Depressed Stroke Patients? A Randomized Controlled Study.

2014-08-27 03:17:00 | BioPortfolio


This is an intervention study with stroke patients who suffer from depression. It will determine whether an integration of neuropsychological and psychotherapeutic techniques and an additional caregivers support program offers benefits to those in the process of coping with the effects of a stroke. We expect the integrative neuro-psychotherapy to be more effective in the treatment of emotional distress reactions following a stroke than the standard neuropsychological treatment.



A stroke is one of the most common causes of disability acquired in adulthood. The full extent of the impairment usually only becomes clear during the course of rehabilitation. Apart from the emotional effects of dealing with the impairment, it is also invariably a matter of adjusting to life with a disability. In this phase of realization and coming to terms with their condition, many brain-injured people develop a mental disorder (mainly adjustment disorders with depressive and/or anxiety symptoms). Mental disorders related to adjustment are a significant and often limiting factor in patient rehabilitation. While there is a very extensive body of literature on the diagnosis and treatment of cognitive disorders following a stroke, research on the diagnosis and treatment of clinical disorders following a stroke is scarce. There are many theoretical observations in the available literature about ways of dealing with adjustment disorders following a brain injury in order to maximize a patient's rehabilitation outcome. Yet current research, based with randomized studies, is still in its infancy. The main aim of the current project is to close this scientific gap. A key objective of the proposed study is to investigate whether an integration of neuropsychological and psychotherapeutic techniques and an additional caregivers support program offers benefits to those in the process of coping with the effects of a stroke.

It is expected that the integrative neuro-psychotherapy is more effective in the treatment of emotional distress reactions than the standard neuropsychological therapy. Moreover, a stronger improvement in acceptance, awareness, quality of life and goal attainment is anticipated in patients who receive the integrative neuro-psychotherapy treatment. A correlation is expected of the extent of improvement and neuropsychological functional level in memory and executive functioning. In addition, the extent of improvement might depend on personality changes due to the stroke or on the location and volume of the lesion.

Several measures will be used for patient assessment. Demographic data will be collected, MR or CT images will be made, the National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS), the Barthel Index and the Nottingham Extended ADL Scale will be applied. A comprehensive neuropsychological examination (memory, attention, executive functioning and visual functioning) will be performed with each patient before the beginning of the treatment. Several questionnaires measuring depressive symptoms, quality of life, coping strategies, awareness, personality changes, relationship and goals will be applied by patients, caregivers and therapists depending on the questionnaire.


A key objective of the proposed study is to investigate whether an integration of neuropsychological and psychotherapeutic techniques and an additional caregivers support program offers benefits to those in the process of coping with the effects of a stroke.


This is a randomized controlled intervention study with two treatment arms, the standard neuropsychological therapy and the integrative neuro-psychotherapy. 20 face to face sessions will be held for each patient. Primary caregivers will be supported by an online coaching tool in the integrative neuro-psychotherapy arm. Assessments will be made at baseline, after 10 sessions (progress), after 20 sessions (termination) and at 6 months post treatment (follow-up). The hypothesis of statistically significant differences in the two groups will be tested by independent t-tests. Moreover, correlation tests will be applied to test post-hoc whether the extent of improvement measured by the BDI-II depends on the neuropsychological functional level in the cognitive area memory and executive functioning. A lesion analysis and estimation of the lesion volume will be carried out post-hoc in order to test whether these factors do predict the effectiveness of the integrative neuro-psychotherapy.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment


Adjustment Disorders


Standard Neuropsychological Therapy, Integrative Neuro-Psychotherapy


Bern University Hospital Dep. for Cognitivei and Restorative Neurology




University of Bern

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:17:00-0400

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