Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand and in 2006 comprised approximately 15% of the country’s population. Epidemiological data suggests Māori experience rates of depression that are higher than the general population and are less likely to engage in treatment for mental health issues. The main aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an adapted approach to psychotherapy with Māori. The broad goals of which were to provide empirically grounded guidance for therapists aspiring to provide best practice to their Māori clients. This paper documents the evaluation of a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) treatment protocol specifically designed and adapted for delivery to adult Māori clients with a diagnosis of depression. The treatment protocol was administered to 16 Māori clients with a primary diagnosis of depression. The adapted treatment incorporated Māori processes for engagement, spirituality, family involvement and metaphor. The intervention exhibited considerable promise with large significant reductions in depressive symptomatology in the participant group. Furthermore, significant reductions in negative cognition were observed. This is the first piece of applied clinical research that has examined the effectiveness of an individual psychological therapy exclusively with Māori and the first to examine individual psychotherapy outcomes with an indigenous population using an effectiveness study. The findings have a number of implications for the treatment of Māori clients with depression. This study provides useful guidelines for clinicians providing psychological treatment to Māori and provides strong support for the cultural adaptation of psychological treatment with ethnic minority groups.
The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist (2014), 2015, 7 (e20), pp. 1 - 16 (16)