Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy

Project „A2BipoLife“ - Tübingen

Adjuvant Psychotherapy for preventing relapse in Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorders are serious illnesses with a chronic course and a high rate of relapse. Compared to (unipolar) major depression, patients suffering from bipolar disorder have more than twice as many new episodes (relapses) despite mood stabilizing medication. In particular young age groups (< 30 yrs.) during the early course of illness experience the highest personal cost (social, professional, personal), suffer the most, and show highest suicide rates.

Because of recurrent relapses despite of a long-term mood stabilizing medication, today we know, that psychopharmacotherapy in the treatment of bipolar disorder is not enough. An adjuvant psychotherapy is rated as successful in adequately treating bipolar disorders. Patients shall learn how to actively prevent new episodes. It is assumed that with the help of psychotherapy patients with bipolar disorders are enabled to influence occurrence, duration and intensity of manic and depressive episodes.

Despite of some evidence showing that psychotherapy in the treatment of bipolar disorders is effective, empirical findings are still insufficient. Especially, it is still unclear, if the application of a specific kind of psychotherapy is particularly effective in preventing or reducing new episodes.

Who are we looking for?

Course of the study

If you get in contact with us, we will first check if you are principally suitable as a subject for this study. If that is the case, we will invite you to an extensive diagnostic interview in order to prove your inclusion in the study. In this case, you will be randomly assigned to one of two therapy conditions. If you are not yet in psychiatric care, we will ensure this within the scope of this study.

Group therapy comprises in each condition 4 dates (about 8 hours incl. breaks) over 4-5 months. After completing the group therapy sessions, about 6 month after the first diagnostic interview, we will conduct a further diagnostic investigation with you. After 6 and 12 months more after completing therapy, we will invite you to two further diagnostic interviews in order to see how your mood developed in the meantime.

Your participation in this study is voluntary. It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part in this study. If you decide to participate, you are still free to withdraw at any time and without giving a reason.

Goals of the study

The aim of this randomized controlled trial is to evaluate the efficacy of a specific kind of psychotherapy for preventing relapse in patients (18-55 yrs.) with bipolar disorders compared to a contact-based, emotion-focused, psychoeducational support group. Included patients should be in remission, get a long-term mood stabilizing medication and they should be in psychiatric treatment.

The findings of this study shall help to improve clinical care of patients with bipolar disorders by publishing those in appropriate psychotherapeutic treatment manuals. Furthermore short and long-term implications of this adjuvant psychotherapeutic treatment should be investigated, e.g. health costs.

Additional investigations

There are additional investigations of the network “BipoLife“ for patients with bipolar disorders. We’re pleased about your interest in the following investigations:

Participation in these additional investigations is voluntary and independent of participating in „A2Bipolife“.