"The stories we live by": Effects of guided self-help intervention

The most important risk factor in the development of a depressive disorder is the presence of mild to moderate psychiatric symptoms. By means of prevention an important contribution can be made to reducing the number of new cases. The University of Twente has developed the "The stories we live by" preventive self-help course oriented specifically toward integrative reminiscence. Integrative reminiscence is a low-threshold methodology specifically developed for adults in the second half of life (40+), in which participants recall memories and evaluate their lives. Alternatives to the life stories underlying the depression are actively sought.

The "The stories we live by" self-help course comprises a manual which participants work through independently, albeit under e-mail guidance from a counsellor. In a randomized controlled trial the effects of the course on depression, psychiatric symptoms and well-being are investigated, in comparison with a control group on a waiting list and a control group following an expressive writing intervention. This study included 174 participants.