Mending a broken heart: A single case study on cognitive behavioural therapy for depression after romantic relationship break-up

Muthmainah Mufidah Gozan, Adhityawarman Menaldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Having and building a romantic relationship is an important aspect of development in young adulthood. However, there are some challenges in relationships, including basic principle differences such as faith and culture that lead to fights and break-ups. Going through a break-up is not easy for some people and is considered to be one of the stress sources in people's lives that often links to depression symptoms. It is crucial to focus on intervention aiming at the cognitive aspects, including negative thoughts and bias when dealing with depression, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). However, CBT in the Indonesian context, especially with religious and ethnic problems in a romantic relationship before marriage, is limited. This study aims to explore this by presenting the case of a 26-year-old Indonesian male with depressive episodes after a painful break-up due to religious and cultural differences. The previous history of childhood abuse and problems in social adjustment and communication had also worsened his conditions. CBT was used for treatment as he developed many negative thoughts about himself and had maladaptive beliefs about his conditions and his future. This case study report shows the effectiveness of CBT intervention in decreasing depression symptoms, such as sadness and the thought of being unworthy, as well as increasing self-confidence in facing difficulties. Key learning aims (1) To understand delivering CBT in a single case with mild depression triggered by relationship break-up. (2) To understand the applicability of CBT in the Indonesian context with a cultural and religious background. (3) To reflect on the challenges faced and treatment strategies in implementing an adapted CBT technique.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere55
JournalCognitive Behaviour Therapist
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • break-up
  • cognitive behavioural therapy
  • depression
  • Keywords:
  • romantic relationship
  • young adults


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